Chapter 14: The Celebration of Vigils on the Anniversaries of Saints

1 On the feasts of saints, and indeed on all solemn festivals, the Sunday order of celebration is followed, 2 although the psalms, refrains and readings proper to the day itself are said. The procedure, however, remains the same as indicated above.

Commentary by Philip Lawrence, OSB, Abbot of Christ in the Desert

Here we meet devotion to the saints, which always has a part to play in the life of the monk. This little chapter refers not only to the saints but to all solemn festivals. We have to wonder how many saints were celebrated in the time of Saint Benedict. We can find in monastic history attempts to reform and reduce the number of solemn festivals, which seem always to grow in number.

For our spirituality, we need to look into our own hearts and see if we have personal devotion to the saints. The early Christians at first only venerated martyrs. Eventually that was changed to include other holy men and women who had served God in ways that were so apparent that their holiness could not be denied. Here we can think of Saint Martin of Tours. In the Dialogues of Saint Gregory, when speaking about Saint Benedict, we know that two shrines were established, one for Saint Gregory and one for Saint John the Baptist.

Praying to the saints should be part of our daily life in a monastery. Each of us should have some saints to whom he is close and to whom he turns for help in time of need. Some of us have great devotion to Saint Anthony of Padua, others to Saint Padre Pio, others to the Little Flower. Each of us should know our own patron saints and ask them for help in time of need.

The object of this chapter of the rule is simply to tell us how to celebrate the saints that we do keep as part of the Church calendar, but it implies a devotion that goes back to early Christianity. May our lives be enriched by our personal devotion to the saints.