Holy Week with St. Benedict
by Fr. Benedict Solomon, O.Praem.
St. Benedict was born around 480, and was the son of a noble. He moved to Rome to continue his studies. After a period of time, he became disillusioned by the worldly lifestyle in Rome. He fled and eventually lived a life of penance in a cave as a hermit. On one occasion, St. Benedict was tempted by impure thoughts. So he took off his clothes and rolled around in a thorn bush. He also performed many miracles and drove out evil spirits and temptations by simply making the sign of the cross. St. Benedict said, “The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. Since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. This we can do in a fitting manner by refusing to indulge evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart, and to self-denial.”
In other words, let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing. Christ was taken to the cross in silence, like a lamb to the slaughter. So we should approach Holy Week with a focus on silence. Silence from music, from our busy thoughts, from anything that isn’t necessary and isn’t of God. St. Benedict says that monks should only speak when necessary. Even if we are speaking about edifying and holy matters, we should still be careful, because as the book of Proverbs says, “In much speaking, thou shalt not escape sin.” And then he goes on to condemn in the monastery course speech, idle words, and speech which leads to laughter.
So as we enter Holy Week, let us imitate this monastic ideal as much as possible, by setting this week aside to prepare our hearts for the Sacred Triduum and Easter.
Queen Esther was a uniquely pleasing person to behold. We hear this repeatedly throughout her story and, ultimately, are told that she “found grace and favor in the eyes of all who saw her.”
The first Sunday of Lent offers one of the shortest texts for a Gospel in the whole liturgical year. It is only sixty-four words. St. Mark’s account of the Temptation in the Desert takes just two verses and is about as succinct as one can be. Now, I am not the evangelist Mark. So don’t expect a short sermon. Settle in. And listen in.
Check back frequently for new writings, videos, and audio.
Enjoy critically acclaimed documentary series, video lectures, and more from the Norbertine Fathers, on-demand in the Abbot’s Circle video library.
Immerse yourself in a collection of chants, reflections, audio lectures, and more from the Norbertine Fathers, on-demand in the Abbot’s Circle audio library.
Enjoy a vast collection of thought-provoking written reflections from the Norbertine Fathers in the Abbot's Circle written library.
"A priest is not a priest for himself. He is a priest for you."
– St. John Vianney
Learn more about the impact of what you are making possible when you support the Norbertines of St. Michael's Abbey.