St Benedict: Working for true European unity

St Benedict, whose feast day falls today, was named patron of Europe in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

He is known as the founder of western monasticism and went from student, to hermit, to founder and was given the title of Patron of Europe in recognition of what he and his followers, the Benedictines, did all across the continent.

Aside from the biographical details, beautifully explained by the Holy Father in the video posted below, a point to consider today would be the success, or otherwise, of those who have sought to unify this continent on economic and political grounds. It was said that Europe was never more closely bound together than after the introduction of the single currency in 1999, yet now, as economic problems continue to spread across the Mediterranean from Greece to Spain, and now Italy, the divisions of Europe seem increasingly noticeable.

Benedict worked towards a Europe united by the Gospel, based on obedience and humility and a Christocentric life. He reminds us to base our life and hopes of unity on Jesus. It is a lesson which seems to become more relevant by the day.

Of related interest:

Benedict XVI –This booklet penetrates popular stereotyping to reveal the truth, complexity and thought of this very modest and pious theologian. Here we discover a ‘humble and thoroughly kind man’, a leading thinker very much in touch with this modern age. Updated in 2010, the booklet evaluates the first 5 years of his papacy.
Doctors of the Church – The Doctors of the Church were saints who were devoted to the Word of God, eager to listen to the Holy Spirit, and to pass on to others what they had learned. Each memorable and influential figure is described in this intriguing booklet with a concise summary of their contribution to the Church and to the development of doctrine. Their preaching and writing continue to influence people today.
B693 Dominic – Some 800 years ago Dominic Guzman and his ‘Order of Preachers’ criss-crossed the inhospitable paths of Europe to preach the Gospel and to combat the half-truths of their day.

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