The Feast of St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron, OCSO
In the responsorial psalm 34 we heard:
“ When the poor cried out, the Lord heard and from all his distress He saved him.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the Lord is.
Blessed the man who takes refuge in Him, “
“Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him”…today in our Order we celebrate just such a man – St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron. He died in 1938 at the age of 27 at the Abbey of San Isidro in Spain. Physically unable to make solemn profession of vows, the monastery allowed him to become an Oblate. His severe case of diabetes was his cross; his illness was radical and severely debilitating.
But his cloistered life in the Abbey’s infirmary became much more radical and extremely life-giving. Surely, in his sickness he cried out to the Lord because of his inability to live his Trappist life to the full and the Lord heard him.
Rafael was not delivered from his illness rather, the Lord brought him into the Light, the Truth so that he could say with the strongest heartfelt conviction:
“There is nothing except God who fills everything, who floods everything.
God is my only addiction.
First God, always God and only God.
God inundates me.
I belong to God, God is my goal and the only one to fill me completely.
All else I have no need of, it is completely unnecessary to me.”
Rafael tasted and saw “how good the Lord is” and in that he sets an example for us – to desire that same blessed taste and so to know God’s infinite goodness intimately, personally, radically now and always.