JUNE 7 – ST. ROBERT OF NEWMINSTER. ST. CLAUDE, ARCHBISHOP.
IN 1132, Robert was a monk at Whitby, England, when news arrived that thirteen religious had been violently expelled from the Abbey of St. Mary, in York, for having proposed to restore the strict Benedictine rule. He at once set out to join them, and found them on the banks of the Skeld, near Ripon, living in the midst of winter in a hut made of hurdles and roofed with turf. In the spring, they affiliated themselves to St. Bernard’s reform at Clairvaux, and for two years struggled on in extreme poverty. At length the fame of their sanctity brought another novice, Hugh, Dean of York, who endowed the community with all his wealth, and thus laid the foundation of Fountains Abbey. In 1137, Raynulph, Baron of Morpeth, was so edified by the example of the monks at Fountains that he built them a monastery in Northumberland, called Newminster, of which St. Robert became abbot. The holiness of his life, even more than his words, guided his brethren to perfection, and within the next ten years three new communities went forth from this one house to become centers of holiness in other parts. The abstinence of St. Robert in refectory alone sufficed to maintain the mortified spirit of the community. One Easter Day, his stomach, weakened by the fast of Lent, could take no food, and he at last consented to try to eat some bread sweetened with honey. Before it was brought, he felt this relaxation would be a dangerous example for his subjects, and sent the food untouched to the poor at the gate. The plate was received by a young man of shining countenance, who straight. way disappeared. At the next meal the plate descended empty, and by itself, to the abbot’s place in the refectory, proving that what the Saint sacrificed for his brethren had been accepted by Christ. At the moment of Robert’s death, in 1159, St. Godric, the hermit of Finchale, saw his soul, like a globe of fire, borne up by the angels in a pathway of light; and as the gates of heaven opened before them, a voice repeated twice, “Enter now, my friends.”
REFLECTION: Reason and authority prove that virtue ought to be practiced. But facts alone prove that it is practiced; and this is why examples have more power to move our souls, and why our individual actions are of such fearful importance for others as well as for ourselves.
ST. CLAUDE, ARCHBISHOP.
THE province of Eastern Burgundy received great lustre from this glorious Saint. He was born at Salins, about the year 6o3, and was both the model and the oracle of the clergy of Besançon, when, upon the death of Archbishop Gervaise, about the year 683, he was chosen to be his successor. Fearing the obligations of that charge, he fled and hid himself, but was discovered and compelled to take it upon him. During seven years, he acquitted himself of the pastoral functions with the zeal and vigilance of an apostle; but finding then an opportunity of resigning his see, which, out of humility and love of solitude, he had always sought, he retired to the great monastery of St. Oyend, and there took the monastic habit, in 6go. Violence was used to oblige him soon after to accept the abbatial dignity. Such was the sanctity of his life, and his zeal in conducting his monks in the paths of evangelical perfection, that he deserved to be compared to the Antonines and Pacomiuses, and his monastery to those of ancient Egypt. Manual labor, silence, prayer, reading of pious books, especially the Holy Bible, fasting, watching, humility, obedience, poverty, mortification, and the close union of their hearts with God, made up the whole occupation of these fervent servants of God, and were the rich patrimony which St. Claude left to his disciples. He died in 703.
WORD OF THE DAY
MODERN ARIANISM. Organized bodies or movements, since the Reformation, that professedly subscribe to the Arian denial that Christ is the natural Son of God. This modern Arianism is a logical though not always linear development from the ancient stock. Under the more familiar names of Unitarians, Anti-trinitarians and Socinians, those who profess this creed believe in the Fatherhood of God, the society of the human race, the example of Jesus as a model of ethical perfection, and salvation of humankind through an evolutionary process inherent in all things.
Also in the Arian tradition are the rationalists when they deal with the person of Christ. Their system postulates the absolute rights of natural reason as the only source of religious truth. Consequently they deny the divinity of Christ, except in Arius’ sense of “the most intimate to God,” and for the same reason as Arius (256-336), because the Trinity and Incarnation are mysteries of faith to be accepted on the authority of God.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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