Lent Madness: Benedict vs. Matthias

Last match-up of Round One! Benedict vs. Matthias. The Father of Monasticism vs. the Father of Gambling? Well, not exactly but have at it!

Here’s the updated tournament bracket: Lent Madness 2010

Benedict of Nursia (480-547) is known as the Father of Monasticism. He founded twelve monastic communities at Subiaco (40 miles East of Rome) before settling in Monte Cassino in the mountains of Southern Italy. His “Rule” set forth for his monks continues to be an inspiration to monastics, clergy, and lay people. Most of what we know of Benedict’s life comes from the writing of Pope Gregory I.

Benedict was born to a noble family in Nursia. He left his studies and his family as a young man and in his travels met a monk named Romanus of Subiaco. At his urging, Benedict lived as a hermit for three years having little contact with the outside world outside of occasional conversations with Romanus. As the three years were concluding, a group of monks from a nearby abbey came to Benedict and asked him to be their abbot, as their own had just died. This was evidently a disaster because the monks later tried to poison him — first with a wine (the chalice exploded after Benedict blessed it) then with bread (a raven snatched it away). These and other miraculous events led more and more monks to seek his counsel and he had twelve monasteries built in the twelve valleys of Subacio. Benedict served as the head abbot of these communities.

Benedict spent the rest of his life writing his “Rule”  before his death at Monte Cassino. The Rule is comprised of 73 short chapters; about half is devoted to the spiritual life and half to the administration of monastic communities. Obedience and humility are major themes.

A Collect for Benedict:  Almighty and everlasting God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of your servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let your ears be open to our prayers; and prosper with your blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Matthias was the Apostle chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Two men, leading disciples of Jesus, were proposed — Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They gathered disciples (about 120) prayed and then cast lots. By this means Matthias was chosen to replace the disgraced Judas. This is all we know about the life of Matthias.

A Collect for Matthias:  Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


One Comment on “Lent Madness: Benedict vs. Matthias”

  1. Scott Gunn says:

    Seriously, who is going to vote for Matthias — except maybe for state lotto officials. He’s a guy who is known for being lucky. Benedict actually did stuff. This is a slam dunk.

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