Friday, 15 January 2016

The Conferences of St John Cassian

In Chapter 42 of the Holy Rule, it is recommended that between Vespers and Compline there should be some reading in common from "the Conferences [of Cassian], or the lives of the Fathers, or some thing else which may edify the hearers."

The following is taken from the back cover of a recent translation of the Conferences, published by Gracewing, and available from Amazon:

"The Twenty-Four Conferences or Collations of St John Cassian, written in the early fifth century, were to have a tremendous impact in the West on the spirituality of monastics and other Religious. A classic of spirituality, they were compulsory reading for St Benedict's monks, the favourite spiritual reading of St Dominic in the late twelfth century and were treasured by St Philip Neri in the sixteenth. The Collations were likened by St John Cassian himself to the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse, who lay their crowns before the Lamb. Whatever glory they have, they attribute it all to the Word of God made flesh, who speaks through them, as He speaks through Cassian their editor, and indeed, if God wills, through their translator Cassian and his companion Germanus interview a number senior monks and hermits, asking them about difficulties in prayer and in living the Christian life, and are given answers that display a surprising degree of psychological insight into human nature. Although these interviews were first written down for monks, there is much in them that can be applied to the spiritual life of all Christians. This new translation, by a Father of the Oxford Oratory, brings Cassian to life for the twenty-first century."

At the monthly meetings in Oxford of The Sodality of SS Benedict and Scholastica, we are following the recommendation of St Benedict. As part of our programme, we hear five minutes of reading from the Conferences of St John Cassian, and then later five minutes of commentary from one of the Fathers or Doctors of the church, on the Gospel of the day or of the previous Sunday.

Meetings of the Sodality take place usually on the first Wednesday of the month, from 7pm to 8pm, at the Church of St Gregory and St Augustine in North Oxford.

15th January, St Maurus, Abbot

St Maurus, Abbot

Haying been committed in his earliest childhood by the Senator Eutychius, his father, to the care of St. Benedict, the great Patriarch of the monks of the West, St. Maurus faithfully reproduced all the virtues of his Master. The latter having commanded him to save young Placid who was drowning, he walked with simple confidence on the waters of a torrent and brought him back safe and sound. Haying been sent to Gaul according to a tradition, he promulgated "the Holy Rule of St. Benedict", founded the monastry at Glanfeuil and wrought many miracles.

By his doctrine, permeated by evangelical perfection, and by his works, that is to say by thousands of abbeys which during twelve centuries covered France, and which all sprang from the one he had founded, he bore striking testimony to the divinity of Jesus. He died in 584.
Intercéssio nos, quaesumus, Dómine, beáti Mauri Abbátís comméndet: ut, quod nostris méritis non valémus, ejus patrocínio assequámur.
May the intercession of the blessed Abbot Maurus, we beseech Thee, O Lord, commend us unto Thee, that what we cannot have through our own merits, we may obtain through his patronage.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday, 1 January 2016

Benedictine Calendar for January

1 St Odilo, Abb of Cluny (+ 1049)
   St William, Abb at Dijon (+ 1031)
2 St Adelard, Abb at Corbie (+ 827)
3 St Blitmund, Abb at St Valery (+ 650)
4 St Rigobert, Abp of Rheims (+ab 733)
   Bl Roger, Mk at Elan (+ 1175)
5 Bl Gaudentius, Bp of Gnesen (+ 1006)
6 St Peter, Abb of Canterbury (+ 606)
   Bl Frederic, Mk at St Vannes (+ 1022)
7 Bl Tillo, Abb at Solignac (+ 700)
   Ven Louis de Blois (Blosius), Abb of Liessies (+ 1556)
8 St Erhard, Bp of Regensburg (+ 8th Cent)
9 St Adrian, Abb at Canterbury (+ 710)
10 St William, Abp of Bourges (+ 1109)
11 St Taso, Abb at Volturno (+ 729)
12 St Benedict Biscop, Abb at Wearmouth (+ 690)
     St Aelred, Abb at Rievaulx (+ 1166)
13 Bl Berno, Abb of Cluny (+ 927) .
14 St Peter Urseolus, Doge of Venice (+ 987)
     St Warin, Bp of Sitten (+ 1140)
15 St Maurus, Abb, disciple of St. Benedict (+ 583)
     St Ceolwulf, K, Mk at Lindisfarne (+ 760)
16 St Fursey, Abb at Lagny (+ 650)
     Ven Joanna, Sr at Bagno (+ 1105)
17 Sts Anthony, Merulus, John, Mks at Rome (+ 6th Cent)
18 Bl Beatrice of Este, Nn at Ferrara (+ 1262)
19 St Wulstan, Bp of Worcester (+ 1095)
20 St Maurus, Bp of Cesena (+ 946)
21 St Meinrad, Mk at Einsiedeln (+ ab 863)
     Bl Alban Roe, M (+ 1641)
22 St Dominic, Abb at Sora (+ 1031)
     Bl Walter, Br (+ 1222)
23 St Ildephonse, Abp of Toledo (+ 667)
24 St Bertram, Abb of St Quentin (+ 680)
     Bl Macarius, Abb at Wuerzburg (+ 1153)
25 St Poppo, Abb of Stablo (+ 1048)
26 St Alberic, Abb of Citeaux (+ 1107)
27 St Theodoric, Bp of Orleans (+ 1022)
28 St Amadeus, Bp of Lausanne (+ 1159)
29 St Gelasius II, P (+ 1119)
30 St Adelhelm, Abb at Burgos (+ 1097)
     St Bathildis, Qu (+ 680)
31 Bl Eusebius, Mk at St Gall's (+ 884)

Ant. The souls of the Saints, who have followed in the footsteps of Christ, rejoice in heaven; and, because they have despised the world for love of him, therefore do they exult with Christ forever.

V. But the just shall live for evermore.
R. And their reward is with the Lord.

Let us pray
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the example of the holy Monks may stir us to a better life: so that we may imitate the actions of those whose memory we celebrate. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.