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BENEDICT


472


BENEDICT


Btill in this mortal life, to see God Himself and in God all that is below Him". If he did not see the Creator, he saw that light which is in the Creator, and in that light, as St. Gregory says, "saw the whole world gathered together as it were under one beam of the sun. At the same time he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, in a fiery globe carried up by angels to heaven" (ibid., xxxv). Once more the hidden things of God were shown to him, and he warned his brethren, both "those that lived daily with him and those that dwelt far off " of his approach- ing death. "Six days before he left this world he gave orders to have his sepulchre opened, and forth- with falling into an ague, he began with burning heat to wax faint; and when as the sickness daily increased, upon the sixth day he commanded his monks to carry him into the oratory, where he did arm himself receiving the Body and Blood of Our Saviour Christ; and having his weak body holden up betwixt the hands of his disciples, he stood with his own hands lifted up to heaven; and as he was in that manner praying, he gave up the ghost" (ibid., xxxvii). He was buried in the same grave with his sister "in the oratory of St. John the Baptist, which [he] himself had built when he overthrew the altar of Apollo" (ibid.). There is some doubt whether the relics of the saint are still at Monte Cassino. or whether they were moved in the seventh century to Fleury. Abbot Tosti, in his life of St. Benedict, discusses the question at length (chap, xi) and decides the controversy in favour of Monte Cassino.

Perhaps the most striking characteristics in St. Benedict are his deep and wide human feeling and his moderation. The former reveals itself in the many anecdotes recorded by St. Gregory. We see it in his sjTnpathy and care for the simplest of his monks ; his hastening to the help of the poor Goth who had lost his bill-hook; spending the hours of the night in prayer on the mountain to save his monks the labour of carrying water, and to remove from their lives a "just cause of grumbling"; staying three days in a monastery to help to induce one of the monks to "remain quietly at his prayers as the other monks did", instead of going forth from the chapel and wandering about "busying himself with some earthly and transitory things". He lets the crow from the neighbouring woods come daily when all are at dinner to be fed by himself. His mind is always with those who are absent; sitting in his cell he knows that Placid has fallen into the lake; he foresees the accident to the builders and sends a warning to them; in spirit and some kind of real presence he is with the monks "eating and refresh- ing themselves" on their journey, with his friend Valentinian on his way to the monasterj', with the monk taking a present from the nims, with the new community at Terracina. Throughout St. Gregory's narrative he is always the same quiet, gentle, digni- fied, strong, peace-loving man who by the subtle power of sympathy becomes the centre of the lives and interests of all about him. We see him with his monks in the church, at their reading, some- times in the fields, but more commonly in his cell, where frequent messengers find him " weeping silently in his prayers", and in the night hours standing at "the window of his cell in the tower, offering up his prayers to God"; and often, as Totila found liim. sitting outside the door of his cell, or "before the gate of the monastery reading upon a book". He has given his own portrait in his ideal picture of an abbot (Rule, Ixiv): —

"It beseemeth the abbot to be ever doing some good for his brethren rather than to be presiding over them. He must, therefore, be learned in the law of God, that he may know whence to bring forth things new and old; he must be chaste, sober, and merciful, ever preferring mercy to justice, that he


himself may obtain mercy. Let him hate sin and love the brethren. And even in his corrections, let him act with prudence, and not go too far, lest while he seeketh too eagerly to scrape off the rust, the vessel be broken. Let him keep his own frailty ever before his eyes, and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken. And by this we do not mean that he should suffer vices to grow up; but that prudently and with charity he should cut them ofl, in the way he shall see best for each, as we have already said; and let him study rather to be loved than feared. Let him not be violent nor over anxious, not exacting nor obstinate, not jealous nor prone to suspicion, or else he will never be at rest. In all his commands, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be prudent and considerate. In the works which he imposeth, let him be discreet and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, when he said: 'If I cause my flocks to be overdriven, they will all perish in one day'. Taking, then, .such testimonies as are borne by these and the like words to discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper all things, that the strong may have something to stri\e after, and the weak nothing at which to take alarm. "

Biogr.vpht:— Si. Gregory's Dialogues. II. in P.L., LXVI. tr. ed. Coleridge (London. 1874); Tosti, Delia vita di San Btnc- detto (Monte Cassino, 1892), tr. Woods (London, 1896). His- tory OF THE Period: — Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders (Ox- ford, 1892-99); DuDDEN. Gregory the Great (London, 1905); Gregorovius, History of Oie City of Rome, tr. Hamilton (Lon- don, 1900-02). Rule OF Saint Benedict:— iJuie, tr.HvNTEH- Blair (London. 1906); Schmidt, £rfi(io minor (Rat isbon, 1891 ); Warnefrid, Commentary in P. L., LXVI). new ed. (Monte Cassino, 1880); Calmet. Commmtary (Paris, 1734); Martene. Commentary (Paris, 1690); Zockler, Askese ujid Monchlum (1897); Butler in Downside Review (Dec, 1899); Idem, in Journal of Theol. Studies (Apr.. 1902): Montalembert, Monks of the West (tr., London. 18961 IV; Tosti. Saint Bene- dict, tr. Woods (London, 1896).

Hugh Edmund Ford.

Benedict of Peterborough, abbot and writer, place and date of birth unknown; d. 1193. He was educated at Oxford, and was appointed in 1174 chancellor to Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1175 became Prior of Christ Church, Canter- bury. As Abbot of Peterborough from 1177 to his death in 1193, he was a learned and able executive. He restored the abbey finances to a sound basis, and was active till his death in completing and beau- tifying the buildings. Through his personal favour with Richard I lie secured for his abbey various rights and privileges. He has been sometimes con- fused with Benedict of Sansetun, later Bishop of Rochester, \'ioe-chancellor during the absence of King Richard. He had the librarj' enriched by transcriptions of standard works in theologj', exe- gesis, law, science, and poetry. He wrote a history of Becket's "Passion", preserved in part in the work on Becket known as "Quadrilogus", and also, a first-hand account of Becket's "Sliracles" (Robert- son, "Materials for the History of Thomas Becket", Rolls Series, 1S76). He w-as formerly regarded as the author of "Gesta Henrici II", which Stubbs would identify with the lost " Tricoluninis " of Richard Fitz-Neal, author of the "Dialogus do Scaccario ".

Gardiner and Mullinger, Introduetion to the Study of Eng. Hist. (London, 1894); C.ile.<, Life and Miracles of St. Thomas of Canterbury, by Benedict, etc. (Caxton Societ.v, 1850).

J. V. Crowne.

Benedict of San Philadelphio (or Benedict

THE Moon), S.\INT, b. at San Philadelphio or San Fradello, a village of tlie Dioce.se of Me.ssina in Sicily, in 1526; d. 4 April, 1589. The parents of St. Bene- dict were slaves from Ethiopia who were, neverthe- less, pious Christians. On account of their faithful- ness their master freed Benedict, the first-born child. From his earliest years Benedict was very religious and while still very young he joined a newly formed