Monday, October 5, 2009

Trappist Monk Maria Rafael Arnaiz Baron to be Canonized

Blessed Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Spanish oblate friar of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappist. On October 11th in St. Peter's Square, Blessed Rafael Arnaiz Baron will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Trappists hold a special place in my heart.The following article out of "Agenzia Fides" caught my eye - as I will be on retreat next week at a Cistercian Monastery.

EUROPE/SPAIN - “Seek the Face of God”: Pastoral Letter to the Youth on the occasion of the canonization of Trappist monk Maria Rafael Arnaiz Baron

Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - “Seek the Face of God” is the title of the Pastoral Letter that seven Spanish Bishops have written to the youth “in age and in spirit,” in light of the canonization of Trappist monk Maria Rafael Arnaiz Baron, which will take place on October 11 in Saint Peter's Square in Rome. The letter was signed by: Archbishop Francisco Hellín of Burgos, Bishop José Ignacio Munilla of Palencia, Bishop Ricardo Blázquez of Bilbao, Bishop Rafael Palmero of Orihuela-Alicante, Bishop Francisco Cerro of Cória-Cáceres, Bishop Manuel Sánchez of Mondoñedo-Ferrol, and Bishop Gerardo Melgar of Osma-Soria, all of whom are from places in someway linked to the saint's origins. Their hope is that the example of this religious brother can “illumine and strengthen the spirituality of Christians” in the youth, so that they may become, like the Blessed, “testimonies of Christ in today's world.”

The testimony of the young Trappist monk, the Bishops write, “leads us to strive for holiness in our particular vocation.” In fact, “the Church presents Brother Rafael as a model to be imitated, not to slavishly copy every aspect of his life, but to enlighten us in discerning the paths that God has marked out for us,” they added. If we more or less follow models, they can “be of little relevance or they can elevate us and urge us on. An ideal of little relevance produces a life of little relevance and and a holy ideal produces holy men and women. Rafael's model was none other than Jesus Christ,” the signers of the Letter said. It was for Him that the Blessed “renounced everything, his refined tastes, his affections, his vanity, his plans,” and became capable of “confronting difficult farewells in order to follow his vocation, embrace the impossible dream of becoming a monk, accepting an illness without a cure.”

This total adherence to Christ that Blessed Rafael undertook “is not an aspect of an entire life, but its essence, it was his life.” In fact, the Eucharist was for him “the center of irresistible attraction,” along with “the mother of Jesus, Mary.”

Read more of the article HERE

1 comment:

Gabriella said...

May blessed Rafael intercede for all the youth in Spain.

Thanks for the info, Brian, I had never heard of this monk before - the Trappists also hold a special place in my heart (especially Thomas Merton who said: “The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.”) ;)

I'll pray for you and your retreat.