Dom Paul Delatte on the Order of St Benedict

Dom Delatte, Third Abbot of Solesmes
“We will survive as long as God is first in our lives: we shall abdicate any right to exist if we ever shelter ourselves behind any human pursuit whatever — honor, reptation or learning — in order to refuse God first place and encroach on the time consecrated to God’s serice and honor.” 1914

“The conventual life proper to the Order of St. Benedict can be summed up in one word: family life, a community life grouped around the fatherly authority of the abbot, the common life shared by the brethren.

All natural and supernatural things are carried out on the level of family, the domestic family, the family formed by the parish or the diocese, that immense family that is the Church in time and eternity. It is the most natural form of life, the most supernatural, the healthiest, the sweetest, the most continuous too, since it is the form of life in society in both time and eternity.” Dom Paul Delatte, 1899

“Through the family passes the primary current of the civilization of love, which finds therein its social foundations.” — John Paul II Year of the Family, Letter to Families

“An excellent sign of a vocation to the contemplative life is described in the passage of Ecclesiasticus: Pulchritudinis studium habentes, pacificantes in domibus suis: The just men of old studied beauty, they caused peace and order in their houses. Study of beauty does not necessarily mean artistic taste or artistic talent; but it implies the habit of doing nothing by halves, of realizing perfect purity, and a delicacy of disposition that does not suffer the petty passions of the world we have renounced to enter our souls again under any disguise. Courtesy and refinement also, in our relations with God as with our brethren, flow from this love of beauty; as do likewise an intelligent love of the Divine Office, of its rites and of its chants.” —   The Rule of St. Benedict: a Commentary by Right Rev. Dom Paul Delatte, OSB, third Abbot of Solesmes. Translated by Dom Justin McCann, OSB

A note: Jacques Maritain wrote, “After the greatest of our benefactors, he who engendered us to faith, our godfather Léon Bloy, we have a great debt of gratitude to many envoys of God who aided and counseled us spiritually, like Dom Delatte, Abbé of Solesmes.”.

1 Comment
  1. What a great amount to contemplate here. There are so many threads that run through all these posts, and this one contains one of them: beauty is to be found and appreciated and profited from in all manner of places, not just great Cathedrals or symphonies, but in the family, in one humble deed done purely for love of God and one of His children. To use Maritain's great phrase, we are all called to be and capable of being "envoys of God.' And we can be so every day in the family God has given us, natural or supernatural, our own family of God's envoys. Thank you for keeping this thought in front of us- and for teaching me about the Benedictines!

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