Liturgical Texts: May 2009 Archives

Saint Pachomius, Abbot

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St Bakhoumious.jpg

The antiphon Ad Benedictus this morning, with its lilting seventh mode melody, is an apt portrayal of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the life of Saint Pachomius. The text is Isaiah 35:1.

Laetabitur deserta et exsultabit solitudo et florebit sicut lilium, alleluia.

Thrills the barren desert with rejoicing, the wilderness takes heart, and blossoms, fair as the lily, alleluia.

Julian Green wrote a book entitled "Chaque homme dans sa nuit," -- Each Man in His Night; one might also speak of "each man in his desert." Irrigated by the living water of the Holy Spirit life's deserts become gardens, and joy comes to inhabit the solitudes of the heart.

The Collect is a jewel:

Deus, qui beatum Pacomium abbatem
ad doctrinae virtutumque culmina pervenire fecisti,
concede, quaesumus, ut eius exemplo,
panem Verbi tui primum quaeramus
a quo mentes lumen accipunt et corda quietem
.

O God, Who didst raise the blessed abbot Pachomius
to the heights of doctrine and of virtue,
grant that we, by following his example,
may seek before all else the bread of Thy Word:
light for our minds, and stillness for our hearts.

-- Or, one may want to render that last line, "by which our minds are illumined and our hearts quieted."

The example of the Desert Fathers, of desert-dwellers, of hermits, and of monks speaks to all of us. There is no desert that cannot be reclaimed for Christ; there is no barrenness that cannot be made fertile by the action of the Holy Spirit.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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