Beatification 3rd September 2000
Speeches / Homelies
Glenstal Abbey, Ireland - 3 October 2000 (2nd Lesson at Hatins), Blessed
Columba Marmion From an Address to Benedictine Abbots, Priors and Abbesses,
By Pope John Paul II
8 Septembre 2000 (English)
In East and West, monastic life is a patrimony of priceless value for the Church. In the Post- Synodal Exhortation Vita consecrata, I wrote "In the heart of the Church ... monasteries have been and continue to be eloquent signs of communion welcoming abodes for those seeking God and the things of the spirit, schools of faith and true places of study, dialogue and culture for the building up of the life of the Church and of the earthly city itself, in expectation of the heavenly city" (n. 6).
Western monasticism was inspired above all by St. Benedict and his Rule, which has formed generations of men and women, called to leave the world to dedicate themselves entirely to God, putting the love of Christ at the centre and above all things.
With the power of this mission, the Benedictine Order has not ceased to contribute to the Church's apostolic activity. With this same power, it works for the new evangelization. This is witnessed by those young people and adults. Christians and non-Christians, believers and non- believers, who find in you and in your monasteries reference points from which to draw the "living water" of Christ, which alone can quench people's thirst. And how can I not stress that it is characteristic of many of your houses today to be on the "frontier of Christianity" in places where the Christian religion is a minority ? Sometimes the testimony of certain members of the Benedictine Order has been crowned with martyrdom. In spite of this, you stay on in those lands, fearing neither dangers nor difficulties. In carrying out an important oecumenical activity, you offer a precious service to the Gospel : you give witness that God alone is enough.
Yes, God alone, Christ alone is "the life of the soul". These words recall the title of a well known book by your venerable confrère, Columba Marmion whom I have had the joy of adding to the list of Blessed. The life and deeds of the great Abbot of Maredsous left a deep mark on 20th-century spirituality, in perfect harmony with the path of authentic ecclesial renewal, crowned by the second Vatican Council. You have chosen to set out on this path, following the example of Blessed Columba Marmion, as well as of Blessed Dusmet of Catania and Blessed Schuster of Milan, faithful sons of St. Benedict.
As Pastor of the Church in a world in which dispersive activities are increasing and there is sometimes a risk of losing the sense of living and dying. I would like to recall the primacy of interiority. To avoid losing their way contemporary men and women need more than ever to rediscover God and to rediscover themslves in God. This is possible only when the heart listens to the Lord in silence and in prolonged contemplation, in the encounter, that is, with the "one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus the man" (I Tim. 2:5).
Dear friends, be eloquent signs of the validity of monastic life for our contemporaries. This is the first form of consecrated life that appeared in the Church, and that, down the centuries, continues to remain a gift for everyone. Tirelessly contemplate the mystery of God and offer your life "so that in all things God may be glorified".Next