I am very happy to post a link to this blog entry by Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, the Prior of the Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa, OK. As a member of an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, this connection between Saints Benedict and Francis de Sales (which is made explicit in the Institute’s choice of them, along with St. Thomas Aquinas, as its co-patrons) was one of the hallmarks of their spirituality that drew me to the Institute.
Dom Mark, who lately has worked with Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God in the establishment of that association in Tulsa, has seen the connection in a new light, as the rule of St. Benedict is adopted for this order whose patron is St. Francis de Sales.
All proceeds from the love of God, in which love we can have confidence:
Saint Francis de Sales & the Rule of Saint Benedict
Holiness Is Symphonic
The symphonic quality of holiness is a glorious thing orchestrated in Christ, by the Holy Ghost, to the praise of the Father. The teaching of certain saints wonderfully complement and elucidate the teachings of others. In this way, from one saint to the next, the ascetical and mystical theology of the Church develops organically through the ages.
I have never been comfortable with narrow and confining attachments to particular schools or spiritualities. Benedictines are catholic: open to all that is true and good and beautiful in the Church of Christ. Benedictines in every age have known how to appropriate and integrate into life according to the Holy Rule, a diversity of spiritual sensibilities and attractions. Dom Jean Baptiste Muard, O.S.B. (1809-1854), the founder of the Abbey of La-Pierre-Qui-Vire, placed his monastery under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque!
Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Benedict
My work, of late, with Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God and the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, has afforded me an opportunity to consider the very “Benedictine” qualities of Saint Francis de Sales. There is a striking correspondence between the Patriarch of Monastic Life in the West and the Doctor of Divine Love.
Quite unexpectedly — and providentially — I came across a text written by a Benedictine abbot of the last century. Dom Romain Banquet (1840-1929), the saintly founder of the Abbey of En-Calcat, maintains that Benedictines are bound to love Saint Francis de Sales! Why? Because the spirit Saint Francis de Sales gave to the Order of the Visitation is, in essence, that of the Rule of Saint Benedict: gentleness and moderation; a gracious accommodation to weakness; meekness and humility and, above all, charity. Dom Romain Banquet wrote:
At the present time, it is necessary, I think, to resign oneself to establish [monastic] observances with regard to the weakness of temperaments and, by way of compensation, to do what the Beloved asks with such lively insistence: to turn souls entirely to the interior life, to union with Jesus, and to the little virtues of daily life.
We must love Saint Francis de Sales, because the spirit that animated him and that he gave so well to the Visitation is precisely the spirit of our Order [of Saint Benedict]. It would be easy to prove this by the study of the Rule and by the history of our first saints. One pays too much attention to their austerities, necessary in their time in order to master the bodies that nature had given them, exuberant with vigour. One does not pay enough attention to the spirit of interiority and of prayer with which they were filled.