Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feasts, wine (or beer), and monks

Beatus festum, fratres!
Ecce quam bonum et quam iucúndum habitáre fratres in unum

"The memory of a saint is like music at a feast with wine, or beer if you prefer.”  That's the loose translation of Sirach 49:2 which Father Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B used to begin a homily for the feast of St. Benedict at the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norsia last week.   I added the "or beer if you prefer" part.  It happens that the Benedictine monks of Norsia brew beer, and I'll bet it's very good.

 On the subject of feasts,  Fr. Nivakoff notes;

[T]he idea to have a feast day belongs to a deep level of Catholicism.  It means to put aside the rhythms of daily life to celebrate, without any sense of necessity or usefulness. But it is the very fact that a feast is not necessary or indispensable or useful from the vantage point of productivity that gives it its character of joy and makes it a true feast.

.... All oriented to God!  The life of the monk is like a life of a continuous festival, because while he eats, while he sleeps, while he works in the fields, while he makes beer, or while he is doing whatever else he does, he is working for a purpose, an end, that is not immediate and evident, but to honor and adore a God who seems to be always hidden!

A life of continuous festival sounds pretty good.  That may be one reason the monks need so much beer.

Fr. Nivakoff's full homily here.

h/t Rorate Caeli

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