Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Lift your hearts to Christ

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19. . . .It is essential in the Benedictine way of life that while engaged in manual or intellectual pursuits, all should strive continually to lift their hearts to Christ having that as their chief concern, and to burn with perfect love of Him. For the things of the earth or of the whole world cannot satisfy the mind of man which God created for Himself; rather their function given them by their Creator is to move and lift us by gradual steps to the possession of God. Therefore, it is most necessary "to prefer nothing to the love of Christ"; "to count nothing more dear to them than Christ"; "let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ and may He bring us to life everlasting".

20. To this most ardent love of the Divine Redeemer there should correspond love of the neighbor. We ought to cherish all as our brethren and help them in every way. Hence while people plan and foment hate and treachery against each other, while robbery, slaughter and innumerable hardships and miseries are increasing in this violent upheaval of nations and institutions, Benedict proclaims these most holy precepts to his followers: "Let special care be taken in receiving the poor and travelers, because in them Christ is more surely received". "Let all guests who come to the monastery be entertained like Christ Himself, because He will say 'I was a stranger and you took me in'." "Before all things and above all things, special care must be taken of the sick, so that they be served in very deed as Christ Himself for He saith 'I was sick and you visited Me'."  Thus animated and burning with a perfect love of God and the neighbor he fulfilled and perfected his task; and when rejoicing and full of merits he felt in advance the breath of heaven, promise of eternal bliss; and foretasted its sweetness, "six days before his death he caused his grave to be opened. Soon seized by a fever, he began to be consumed by burning fire; day by day his strength began to wax faint, and the infirmity daily increasing the sixth day, he caused his disciples to carry him into the Oratory, where he armed himself for his going forth by receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord: then supporting his weak limbs by the hands of his disciples he stood up, his hands lifted toward heaven, and with words of prayer at last breathed forth his soul."

Pope Pius XII
Fulgens Radiatur
Encyclical On St. Benedict

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