Saint Romuald (951-1027), abbot and founder of the austere Order of Camaldoli in Tuscany. The life of Saint Romuald was one of quiet contemplation, hermitude, instruction, and foundation of his Christian brothers. Due to his patient leadership, modeling of Christian virtue, and continuous prayer for the reparation of the sins of mankind, Saint Romuald inspired the foundation and rapid growth of religious communities. In art, he is often pictured as holding a ladder, on which monks are climbing to Heaven, bolstered by his faith and love of the Lord.
“How happy were the ancient hermits, who had such habitations! With what tranquility could they serve God, free from the tumult of the world!" While Romuald desired the holy life, he was tormented by the Devil, and frequently succumbed.
“Be seated within your cell as though in paradise; cast to the rear of your memory everything distracting, becoming alert and focused on your thoughts as a good fisherman is on the fish. One pathway to this state is through reciting the Psalms; do not neglect this. If you cannot manage to get through them all at one sitting as you used to do with the fervor of a novice, take pains to chant the psalms in your spirit, now starting from this place, now from that, and to interpret them in your mind, and when you begin to wander in your reading, don’t stop what you are doing, but make haste to correct by interpreting; place yourself above all in the presence of God with fear and trembling, like one who stands in the gaze of the emperor; pull yourself completely and crouch down like a baby chick, content with God’s gift, for, unless its mother provides, it neither knows nor gets what she should eat.”
“Sweetest Jesus, dearest Jesus, why hast thou forsaken me? Hast thou entirely delivered me over to my enemies?" At the utterance of the name of Jesus, the Devil departed, and Saint Romuald was comforted, the “excess of divine sweetness and compunction filled the breast of Romuald, that he melted into tears, and his heart seemed quite dissolved.”
“St. Romuald built many other monasteries, and continued three years at one he founded near Parenzo, one year in the community to settle it, and two in a neighboring cell. Here he labored some time under a spiritual dryness, not being able to shed one tear; but he ceased not to continue his devotions with greater fervor. At last being in his cell, at those words of the psalmist, "I will give thee understanding, and will instruct thee," he was suddenly visited by God with an extraordinary light and spirit of compunction, which from that time never left him. By a supernatural light, the fruit of prayer, he understood the holy scriptures, and wrote an exposition of the psalms full of admirable unction. He often foretold things to come, and gave directions full of heavenly wisdom to all who came to consult him, especially to his religious who frequently came to ask his advice how to advance in virtue, and how to resist temptations he always sent them back to their cells full of an extraordinary cheerfulness. Through his continual weeping he thought others had a like gift, and often said to his monks, "Do not weep too much; for it prejudices the sight and the head."
“Oh, gluttony, gluttony, thou shalt never taste this : perpetual war is declared against thee." The monks of his order were also remarkable for their austere lives, always going barefoot, and continually fasting by his model, limiting themselves to gruel and water. Through his holiness, many cures of the sick were offered, with the ill making pilgrimage to touch the door of his cell.
“Frequently he was seized by so great a contemplation of divinity that he would be reduced to tears with the boiling, indescribable heat of divine love. In this condition he would cry out: Beloved Jesus, beloved, sweet honey, indescribable longing, delight of the saints, sweetness of angels, and other things of this kind. We are unable to express the ecstasy of these utterances, dictated by the Holy Spirit.”
“Romuald lived in the vicinity of the city of Paranzo for three years. In the first year he built a monastery and appointed an abbot with monks. For the next two years he remained there in seclusion. Wherever the holy man might arrange to live, he would follow the same pattern. First he would build an oratory with an altar in a cell; then he would shut himself in and forbid access. Finally, after he had lived in many places, perceiving that his end was near, he returned to the monastery he had built in the valley of Castro. While he awaited with certainty his approaching death, he ordered a cell to be constructed there with an oratory in which he might isolate himself and preserve silence until death. Accordingly, the hermitage was built, since he had made up his mind that he would die there. His body began to grow more and more oppressed by afflictions and was already failing. One day he began to feel the loss of his physical strength under all the harassment of increasingly violent afflictions. As the sun was beginning to set, he instructed two monks who were standing by to go out and close the door of the cell behind them; they were to come back to him at daybreak to celebrate matins. They were so concerned about his end that they went out reluctantly and did not rest immediately. On the contrary, since they were worried that their master night die, they lay hidden near the cell and watched this precious treasure. For some time they continued to listen attentively until they heard neither movement nor sound. Rightly guessing what had happened, they pushed open the door, rushed in quickly, lit a candle and found the holy man lying on his back, his blessed soul snatched up into heaven.”
Saint Marina the Monk—that humility, meekness, and a deep desire for the Lord are the hallmarks of our faith. These simple tenets, lived as model for others, are a powerful witness to the depth of our hope and confidence in the Lord, a reminder of our obedience to Him, and a powerful call to center ourselves in Him. When we pray, as Saint Romuald said, our bodies, hearts, souls, and minds should be focused solely on God: "Better to pray one psalm with devotion and compunction than a hundred with distraction."
Father, through Saint Romuald you renewed the life of solitude and prayer in your Church. By our self-denial as we follow Christ bring us the joy of heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Year 2: Day 170 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Patience and humility; For those wrongly accused; For those who are misunderstood or judged.
Requested Intentions: For a mother’s mental health and for kindness and forgiveness, for housing problems, for dental health (T); For the soul of a departed friend (X); Restoration of health (D); Successful employment for couple (N); For employment for children (K); For health of friend, for successful relationships for children, for safe pregnancy for daughter (C); For the health of a mother (J); Virtue for daughter (V); Successful acceptance to college for nephew (M); For the health of a cousin (T); Freedom from legal difficulties for husband (S); Husband’s freedom from illness (L); Personal intentions (S); Successful passing of dental board examination (P); Blessings on a family (Z); Successful permanent employment (C); Healing of a son with autism (J)
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."