.- Speaking to nearly 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, the Holy Father reflected on his namesake, St. Benedict, a man who, he says, “laid the seed of a new civilization…amid the ashes of the Roman empire.”
On the eve of St. Benedict’s feast day, which falls today, the Pope recalled how the patron saint of Europe and founder of monastic life abandoned his life in Rome and retired to the mountains of Subiaco, where he created "a fraternal community founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, a community in which prayer and work alternated harmoniously in praise to God."
The Holy Father went on to say that the saint, who lived from 480-547, "amid the ashes of the Roman empire and seeking before all else the Kingdom of God, laid, perhaps unknowingly, the seed of a new civilization which would later develop, integrating Christian values with, on the one hand, classical heritage and, on the other, Germanic and Slav cultures."
Pope Benedict added that his namesake "did not found a monastic institution with the aim of evangelizing barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of the time did, rather he indicated to his followers that the search for God is the fundamental, indeed the only, goal of existence."
"Nevertheless,” he said, “he also knew that when believers enter into a profound relationship with God, they cannot be content with living a mediocre life marked by minimalist ethics and superficial religiosity.”
“St Benedict”, the Pope recalled, “said: 'Place nothing before the love of Christ.' This is sanctity, which is valid for all Christians and has become a true pastoral priority in our own times, when we feel such a need to anchor life and history to solid spiritual references."