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IN 1132 Robert was a monk at Whitby, England, when news arrived that thirteen religious had been violently expelled from the Abbey of St. Mary, in York, for having proposed to restore the strict Benedictine rule. He at once set out to join them, and found them on the banks of the Skeld, near Ripon, living in the midst of winter in a hut made of hurdles and roofed with turf. In the spring they affiliated themselves to St. Bernard's reform at Clairvaux, and for two years struggled on in extreme poverty. At length the fame of their sanctity brought another novice, Hugh, Dean of York, who endowed the community with all his wealth, and thus laid the foundation of Fountains Abbey. In 1137 Raynulph, Baron of Morpeth, was so edified by the example of the monks at Fountains that he built them a monastery in Northumberland, called Newminster, of which St. Robert became abbot. The holiness of his life, even more than his words, guided his brethren to perfection, and within the next ten years three new communities went forth from this one house to become centres of holiness in other parts. The abstinence of St. Robert in refectory alone sufficed to maintain the mortified spirit of the community. One Easter Day, his stomach, weakened by the fast of Lent, could take no food, and he at last consented to try to eat some bread sweetened with honey. Before it was brought, he felt this relaxation would be a dangerous example for his subjects, and sent the food untouched to the poor at the gate. The plate was received by a young man of shining countenance, who straightway disappeared. At the next meal the plate descended empty, and by itself, to the abbot's place in the refectory, proving that what the Saint sacrificed for his brethren had been accepted by Christ. At the moment of Robert's death, in 1159, St. Godric, the hermit of Finchale, saw his soul, like a globe of fire, borne up by the angels in a pathway of light; and as the gates of heaven opened before them, a voice repeated twice, "Enter now, my friends."
Reflection. —Reason and authority prove that virtue aught to be practised. But facts alone prove that it is practised; and this is why examples have more power to move our souls, and why our individual actions are of such fearful importance for ethers as well as for ourselves.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
O God, when Thou didst go forth in the sight of Thy people, making a passage for them, dwelling in the midst of them, alleluia; the earth was moved, the heavens dropped, alleluia, allelauia. Ps. 67, 2. Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face. Glory be …
May the Paraclete Who proceedeth from Thee enlighten our minds, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and leas us into all truth, as Thy Son hath promised. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirits.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
[The disciples receive the Holy Ghost. Peter's sermon to the people. The piety of the first converts.]
In those days, Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day:
But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.
Alleluia. Ps. 32, 6. By the word of the Lord the heavens were established: and all the power of them by the spirit of His mouth.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty and most merciful God, that the Holy Spirit, coming to us, may perfect us as a temple worthy the indwelling of His glory. Through… in the unity of the same.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
[The judgment of God upon Ananias and Saphira. The apostles are cast into prison.]
In those days, by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. But of the rest no man durst join himself unto them; but the people magnified them. And the multitude of men and women who believed in the Lord, was more increased: Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least, might overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities. And there came also together to Jerusalem a multitude out of the neighbouring cities, bringing sick persons, and such as were troubled with unclean spirits; who were all healed.
Alleluia, alleluia. (Here all kneel). Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful; and kindle in them in fire of Thy love.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John.
[Christ feeds five thousand with five loaves. He walks upon the sea and discourses of the bread of life.]
At that time, Jesus said to the Jews, No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.
Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.
I will meditate on thy commandments, which I have loved exceedingly: and I will left up my hands to Thy commandments, which I have loved, alleluia.
Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts we offer: and graciously bring about that, what we here do in these mysteries, we may hereafter by their holy consequences hold in honor. Through our Lord.
My peace I leave you, alleluia: My peace I give you, alleluia, Alleluia.
Receiving Thy heavenly sacraments, we beg Thy clemency, O Lord, that what we do in this life we may follow in the joys of eternity. Through our Lord.