Feast: June 7
|He was a native of Yorkshire, and even in his childhood an enemy to the usual amusements of that age, loving only prayer, serious reading, and useful and pious employments. Having finished his studies, he was ordained priest, and instituted to a rectorship of a parish in the diocese of York; but after discharging that office some time with great assiduity and zeal, he resigned that living, and took the religious habit in the Benedictine monastery of our Lady in York. Richard, the prior of this house, and twelve others, desiring to serve God according to the primitive institute of the Benedictine Order, left the monastery, with leave of the abbot, and endeavoring to execute their project, struggled with incredible hardships; till Thurstan, the pious archbishop of York, gave them a desert valley, called Scheldale, with the town of Sutton, where, in the midst of winter, and in extreme poverty they founded the celebrated abbey which, from certain springs, was called Fountains, in 1132. The Cistercian Order, which had been lately introduced into England, and settled at Rievalle, was perfectly agreeable to the fervent dispositions of this holy colony; and at their request the monastery of Fountains was received into it by St. Bernard, who in his letters extols the perfection and sanctity of this new nursery of saints, which, from the beginning, was a model to the whole order for devotion, austerity in fasts, labor, by which all the monks procured their subsistence, fervor in all religious exercises, and cheerfulness in singing assiduously the divine praises. No murmur or sadness was known among them; nor any strife or contention ever heard of, unless of charity or humility: they never yielded to rest, till fatigued with labor; and always came hungry from their slender table, which was chiefly furnished with pulse and roots from their garden. St. Robert seemed so far to eclipse the rest of this holy company by the lustre of his piety, that they all had their eyes on him in their religions duties, and studied to transcribe his fervor in their actions. Ranulph of Merley, baron of Morpeth, paying a visit to the monastery of Fountains five years after its foundation, was so struck with the edifying deportment of the terrestrial angels who inhabited it, that he obtained of the abbot Richard a certain number of those monks, and built for them a monastery called Newminster, near Morpeth, in Northumberland, in 1137, of which St. Robert was appointed abbot.|
The saint in his new dignity thought it his duty not only to walk before his brethren, but to go beyond them all in every religious observance; and all his virtues seemed to receive new vigor, and a new degree of perfection in this eminent station. His affection to holy prayer is not to be expressed. He recommended to God continually those committed to his care, and with many tears poured forth his soul for them night and day. He was favored with the gift of prophecy and miracles. He founded another monastery a Pipinelle, or Rivebelle, in Northamptonshire, and lived in the strictest union of holy friendship with St. Bernard; also with St. Godric, a holy hermit in those parts, illiterate as to secular learning, but a most spiritual man. St. Robert finished his course by a happy death on the 7th of June, 1159. Miracles attested his sanctity to the world. He is named in the Roman Martyrology.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
During his homily as he celebrated Mass at Sarajevo’s “Kosevo Stadium” in the the presence of over 65,000 people, the Pope’s cry for peace echoed forcefully: “war never again!” In a city which has known the abyss of pain and suffering inflicted by war, the Pope turned his thoughts to the many armed conflicts presently affecting our world and said “they are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal, and – he said – in the context of global communications we sense an atmosphere of war”. Reflecting on the fact that “Peace is God’s dream, his plan for humanity, for history, for all creation, the Pope said there are people who wish to incite and foment this atmospherem of war deliberately: “those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms”.
But war – he said “means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed houses, streets and factories; it means, above all, countless shattered lives”. And to the people of Sarajevo he said: “You know this well, having experienced it here: how much suffering, how much destruction, how much pain!”
Appealing to all men and women of goodwill to be peacemakers and to carry forward their work “each day, step by step, without ever growing tired”, Pope Francis said that peace must be put into practice with acts of kindness, fraternity, dialogue and mercy. This must be done - he said - with compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness patience and a spirit of forgiveness. The Pope said these attitudes are necessary to become artisans of peace precisely where we live out our daily lives. But – he said – “we should not fool ourselves into thinking that this all depends on us! Peace - he said - is a gift from God” because with his Spirit he can imprint these attitudes in our hearts and in our flesh, and can make us true instruments of his peace. Pope Francis concluded asking the Lord for the grace to have a simple heart, the grace of patience, the grace to struggle and work for justice, to be merciful, to work for peace, to sow peace and not war and discord.
Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, The word peace echoes several times through the Scripture readings which we have just heard. It is a powerful, prophetic word! Peace is God’s dream, his plan for humanity, for history, for all creation. And it is a plan which always meets opposition from men and from the evil one. Even in our time, the desire for peace and the commitment to build peace collide against the reality of many armed conflicts presently affecting our world. They are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war.
Some wish to incite and foment this atmosphere deliberately, mainly those who want conflict between different cultures and societies, and those who speculate on wars for the purpose of selling arms. But war means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed houses, streets and factories; it means, above all, countless shattered lives. You know this well, having experienced it here: how much suffering, how much destruction, how much pain! Today, dear brothers and sisters, the cry of God’s people goes up once again from this city, the cry of all men and women of good will: war never again!
Within this atmosphere of war, like a ray of sunshine piercing the clouds, resound the words of Jesus in the Gospel: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt 5:9). This appeal is always applicable, in every generation. He does not say: “Blessed are the preachers of peace”, since all are capable of proclaiming peace, even in a hypocritical, or indeed duplicitous, manner. No. He says: “Blessed are the peacemakers”, that is, those who make peace. Crafting peace is a skilled work: it requires passion, patience, experience and tenacity. Blessed are those who sow peace by their daily actions, their attitudes and acts of kindness, of fraternity, of dialogue, of mercy... These, indeed, “shall be called children of God”, for God sows peace, always, everywhere; in the fullness of time, he sowed in the world his Son, that we might have peace! Peacemaking is a work to be carried forward each day, step by step, without ever growing tired.
So how does one do this, how do we build peace? The prophet Isaiah reminds us succinctly: “The effect of righteousness will be peace” (32:17). Opus justitiae pax (“the work of justice is peace”), from the Vulgate version of Scripture, has become a famous motto, even adopted prophetically by Pope Pius XII. Peace is a work of justice. Here too: not a justice proclaimed, imagined, planned... but rather a justice put into practice, lived out. The Gospel teaches us that the ultimate fulfilment of justice is love: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22:39; Rm 13:9). When, by the grace of God, we truly follow this commandment, how things change! Because we ourselves change! Those whom I looked upon as my enemy really have the same face as I do, the same heart, the same soul. We have the same Father in heaven. True justice, then, is doing to others what I would want them to do to me, to my people (cf. Mt 7:12). Saint Paul, in the second reading, shows us the attitude needed to make peace: “Put on then... compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col 3:12-13).
These are the attitudes necessary to become artisans of peace precisely where we live out our daily lives. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that this all depends on us! We would fall into an illusive moralizing. Peace is a gift from God, not in the magical sense, but because with his Spirit he can imprint these attitudes in our hearts and in our flesh, and can make us true instruments of his peace. And, going further, the Apostle says that peace is a gift of God because it is the fruit of his reconciliation with us. Only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled with God can human beings become artisans of peace.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, today we ask the Lord together, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the grace to have a simple heart, the grace of patience, the grace to struggle and work for justice, to be merciful, to work for peace, to sow peace and not war and discord. This is the way which brings happiness, which leads to blessedness.