Happy feast day to us!

What with all the distractions of unexpectedly good episcopal appointments this year in England, and the debate about Catholic, especially clerical, bloggers, and the crisis in the Ukraine, it may understandably escape the notice of most members of the Church that today Benedictines celebrate the Solemnity of the Transitus (or Passing) of St Benedict.

Below is a translation of the Latin hymn set for this feast, which you otherwise might never see.

Shout, all ye people! Let your measured praises
Ring through the churches solemnly and sweetly;
On this feast day Benedict ascended
Heaven’s high summit.

He, when his youthful joyous years were blooming,
Yet in his boyhood left his native dwelling,
Seeking concealment hid within a cavern
Lonely and silent.

There amid nettles, rigid thorns and briars
Won he the battle over youth’s enticement,
Nurse of pollution; then he wrote a Holy Rule
of blest living.

Thy brazen image, infamous Apollo,
soon hath he smitten; burnt the grove of Venus,
Then to the Baptist, on the sacred mountain,
Established a chapel.

Now doth he witness happily in heaven
Seraphim, leading thongs of shining angels,
While he refreshes faithful hearts of who hear him
With living waters.

Praise to the Father, to the Sole-begotten,
And to Thee, always with the Twain co-equal,
Fostering Spirit; One only Godhead
Through all ages.

“Measured praises” is the sure sign of a hymn that originates in the noble simplicity of the Roman rite. Moreover, the tenor of all St Benedict’s Rule is one of measured common sense. In the midst of all his moderation, St Benedict had no time for pagan idols, the shrines of which he overturned in a moment. With the Church beset by a neo-pagan secularism, she needs even more the quiet witness of faithful, godly monks and nuns.

Please remember Douai Abbey in your prayers, and all English Benedictines, and also the brethren at Silverstream Priory.

May God, who has begun a good work in you, bring it to fulfillment, through Christ our Lord.

The Passing to the next life of St Benedict
The Passing to the next life of St Benedict

10 thoughts on “Happy feast day to us!

  1. Of course, 21st March was – and in the Traditional Roman Rite still is – the feast of St Benedict. Because of Lent, as a III Class feast it is only a Commemoration (an extra Collect, Secret, Postcommunion). A great shame to treat such a great and influential a saint so perfunctorily, so the feast’s ‘translation’ to 11th July in the OF is a Good Thing imo.
    His brilliantly terse Rule is a page-turner. The chapters on the stages of ‘Humility’ alone are food for a lifetime’s thought.
    As I discovered during a monastic retreat when the refectory readings were from Gregory the Great’s Dialogues, Benedict seems to have conspicuously over-achieved his performance targets in terms of miracle-working…:-)


    1. It may be only a 3rd class in the EF, but for English Benedictines it was, and is, a solemnity with all the rights attaching, Lent notwithstanding. (We refrain, naturally, from the A-word).

      Can one ever over-achieve in miracle working?!


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad the monastery holds it as a solemn feast, Father. I should have realized a patronal Saint’s Day would trump a Lenten Feria.
        And what a stunningly powerful Hymn.


    1. Salve Ben!

      The translation is straight from the Monastic Diurnal that Farnborough re-issued a decade or so ago. Cannot help beyond that!

      As for your (fascinating) link, either it is a wonderfully early ‘roo or a badly drawn rat. The former has more romance than the latter of course.

      Pax semper!


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