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St Benedict – Why him

Famously referred to as St. Benedict of Nursia, this saint came from a rather eminent kindred that lived in Rome and had everything a boy had in his time. No one could have guessed that this well off, humble and reclusive character would get drawn to the monastic life that he chose to live. He lived to be a selfless monk and preached humility, selflessness, balance and moderation. He encouraged others by setting an example and created a movement that saw him create a monastery that remains famous to date; the Monte Cassin.

St. Benedict’s influence

He chose this path at such an early age when his age mates were busy trying to get suitors to settle with, choosing the life that was illustrated ever so vividly by the gospel. Through help from a monk, Romanus of Subiaco, he was able to not only live but show how you can live a life centered on Christ or a Christocentric life as he called it. Though most of the monastery residents found his ways too strict, they could not help admire his desire and commitment to his life of sanctity. There was an attempt on his life once by the monks when they put some poison in the wine, and when he got to bless it, the cup shattered. On another occasion, they tried poisoning the bread and soon after he blessed it, a raven flew in and took it away.
He then moved away to go and expand his monastery into thirteen communities, and handpicked the heads of each, choosing to live in the thirteenth with a select few. St. Benedict’s name depicts ‘blessing’ and he is said to have been a blessing to all faithful as he led by example, overcoming all trials, afflictions and despair, and coming out victorious. He was ever full of compassion, even for his detractors, urging all to refrain from all that is selfish, indifferent and ungodly.

This could only be achieved if one chose to detach themselves from all worldly things and focus on eternal happiness; one that Christ would bless us with at the end of time. He implored his followers to pray for others as he did for them and taught and showed love, mercy and service to all. His journey towards religious perfection is what many Christians admire in him and pray for his intercession since he experienced it first hand.

Christians all over the world pray to him to seek mediation to Christ and His Mother Mary to protect them from imminent physical danger, courage to work in hostile environments and also mercy and love to the people who discriminate against them. St. Benedict is famed for establishing the rules of living in a monastery, how a Christian should imitate the life of Christ and also how to run a monastery efficiently. Perhaps his most memorable piece is the Opus Dei, which is about the work of God. His huge veneration comes from the exemplary life he lived, a life centered on Christ who will bring us all together to eternal life.  

Edward B. Colm


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