Skip to comments.DEDICATION of the BASILICAS of Saint Peter and Saint Paul/SAINT ODON or EUDES of CLUNY Abbot (†942)
Posted on 11/17/2009 9:20:27 PM PST by GonzoII
Spiritual Bouquet: All who want to live piously in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. II Tim. 3:12
DEDICATION of the BASILICAS
of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
The ancient basilica of Saint Peter stood, like the present one, on the hill of Rome called in Latin Mons Vaticanus, at the northwestern extremity of the city, on the right bank of the Tiber. What we call the Vatican is a Roman palace, the ordinary dwelling of the Pope. Near the Lateran palace where the early Popes dwelt, which was itself built by Constantine the Great or Saint Liberius, Constantine built on the same hill, over the tomb of Saint Peter called the Confession, the Church of the first Vicar of Christ, where once a Roman circus had stood. This first Christian emperor placed there a plaque to honor Saint Peter, on which he had inscribed:
Because the world under your guidance has risen triumphant to the very heavens, Constantine, victorious, has built this temple to your glory.
The Divine Office for this day narrates its origins as follows:
“The Emperor Constantine the Great, on the eighth day after his baptism, after deposing the diadem and prostrating himself, shed a great many tears; then taking up a pick and a shovel, he dug into the soil and drew out twelve loads of earth in honor of the twelve Apostles, thereby designating the site of the basilica he desired to build to honor their Prince. This basilica was dedicated by Pope Saint Sylvester on the fourteenth day of the calendes of December, just as on the fifth of the ides of November he had consecrated the Church of the Lateran, but here he did so by raising a stone altar which he anointed with sacred chrism... When the old Vatican basilica became decrepit, it was rebuilt, through the piety of several Pontiffs, on the same foundations but larger and more magnificent. And in the year 1626, on this same day, Urban VII solemnly consecrated it.”
As during the earliest centuries, still today from all corners of the world Christians go to venerate the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles.
The tomb of Saint Paul is on the Ostian Way, at the southern extremity of the city. The characters indicating the Apostle buried there, which clearly date from the epoch of Constantine, are engraved in the marble which closes the sarcophagus: PAULO APOSTOLO ET MARTYRI.
“On the same day, Saint Sylvester dedicated the Basilica of Saint Paul the Apostle which the emperor Constantine had also built with magnificence on the Ostian Way, enriching this one, too, with revenues, ornaments and valuable gifts. In the year 1823, a violent fire totally consumed this Basilica, but it was raised again, more beautiful than before, by the persevering zeal of four Pontiffs, who recovered it from its ruins. Pius IX chose for the time of its consecration the blessed occasion of the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he had just proclaimed, and which had drawn to Rome from the farthest places of the Catholic world, a number of Bishops and Cardinals. It was on the 10th day of December in 1854, that amid this beautiful crown of prelates and princes of the Church, he carried out the solemn dedication, and fixed its annual commemoration for the present day.” (November 18)
Thus the city is laid out between the two pillars of the Church, the two Apostles who from Rome made the Word of God resound throughout the entire world.
Source: L’Année liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger (Mame et Fils: Tours: 1919), “The Time after Pentecost, VI,” Vol. 15. Translation O.D.M.
SAINT ODON or EUDES of CLUNY
Benedictine, abbot of Cluny
On Christmas Eve of the year 877, a pious but childless Christian nobleman of Aquitaine implored Our Lord, by the fecundity of His Holy Mother and His Incarnation, to grant him a son. His prayer was heard; Odon was born, and his grateful father, in a prayer offered him — still an infant in his arms — to Saint Martin of Tours (†400) to be his spiritual son. Odon was later taught by a wise priest, then was placed in the court of the Count of Anjou and that of the Duke of Aquitaine. There he was influenced by the passions which reign in courts, and neglected his prayers to think only of games, hunting, and military pursuits. But God did not abandon him, and he was haunted in his dreams by the dangers of a disordered life. He prayed to the Blessed Virgin and begged Her one Christmas Eve to lead him on the narrow path of sanctity.
He was then sixteen years old, and the next day he fell ill with a sickness which increased and for three years kept him on the verge of death. When his father told him he had consecrated him to Saint Martin, Odon renewed this consecration and promised to enter into his service; suddenly then his headaches left him and he recovered from his illness.
He went to Tours to serve in the church of Saint Martin for a time. But when a hermitage was built nearby he retired there to devote himself to prayer and study, while continuing to visit the tomb of Saint Martin every night. He began to study the Scriptures and abandoned all pagan readings. Later he was inspired to enter the monastery of Baume in the diocese of Besançon, and there he received the habit from Saint Bernon, the abbot, in the year 909. He was charged with the instruction of novices and boarding students. When later he returned home on a visit to his parents, they were so touched by his words that despite their age they renounced the world and entered a monastery. When Odon returned to Baume he was ordained a priest.
When Saint Bernon, who had governed six monasteries, died, three of those were entrusted to Saint Odon; these were Cluny, newly founded in 910, Massay, and Deols. He resided in Cluny, of which he is often titled the Founder, because he organized and enlarged this new house. His reputation attracted a large number of vocations. His special care was for children; at that period the schools had taken refuge in the cathedrals and monasteries. He watched with gentleness over the habits, studies, and repose of these dear children. He personally taught them as well as the monks. The Rule of Saint Benedict, providing for the education of children as well as the formation of monks, was followed zealously. Many alms were given to the poor, without concern for the morrow. The charity of Cluny was so abundant that in one year food was distributed to more than seven thousand indigent persons.
Saint Odon visited Rome three times; there he reformed a monastery, and later in France he submitted several abbeys to the discipline of Cluny. These were organized into a federation under the sole abbot of Cluny, with great unity of statutes and regime. It was said that “from Benevent to the Atlantic Ocean, the most important monasteries of Italy and Gaul rejoiced in being under his commandment.” After celebrating the feast of Saint Martin at Tours in 942, Saint Odon fell ill; and having exhorted all the religious who had come there to see him and learn how to be regular in their observance, he blessed them and gave up his soul to God. He was buried at Tours in the church of Saint Julian.
Reflection: “It needs only for a Catholic to show devotion to any Saint,” says Father Newman, “in order to receive special benefits from his intercession.”
Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13.
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