7th Wednesday of Easter Time
HOLY ABBOTS OF CLUNY
Although today we commemorate the Holy Abbots of Cluny, yet the readings we have just heard are those of the Wednesday of the seventh week of Easter. As often occurs in the Scriptures, these two passages from the New Testament prove to be most apt for commemorating these Benedictine Saints. All five of them venerated since the Middle Ages as men of outstanding holiness. They generously fulfilled the words of Saint Paul that are cited in the first reading today. There we are told that “At Miletus Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus ‘Keep watch over your selves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers in which you tend the Church of God.”
Because each of these Benedictine Abbots at Cluny we honor at this Eucharist was so faithful and devoted in carrying out these words of the apostle, they were honored as mean of God. Cluny’s history goes back to 909 and continued to grow in influence for a couple hundred years. After that time, their impact began a slow decline.
As so often happens in the course of history, as powerful their influence in their lifetime, before many centuries passed their very names, much less their successful interventions with Kings and other influential rulers were soon forgotten even by most monks. How many Benedictines, who among Cistercians today remember even their names. The one exception is Peter the Venerable whose office brought him into contact with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Even in the prayer at the mass today they are referred to , not by personal name, but simply as “the blessed abbots of Cluny.” Let us here at least mention them at this Eucharist by name on this their special Feast day: St. Odo, St. Maiolus, St. Odilo, St. Hugh, and St. Peter the Venerable. May they intercede for us as well as for our Benedictine brothers throughout the world.
In the Gospel we just heard our Lord prayed to his heavenly Father for his apostles present at his last supper. He is concerned for their future for he realizes he is about to leave them and that they will be exposed to hostile enemies after his departure. This whole chapter of the Gospel of St. John is one of the most moving , providing insights into the heart of Our Lord.. As becomes clear later on in this same chapter his concern is not limited to his small circle of close associates but extends to all of those who put their faith in him. The final words of today’s text are applicable to us as well as to those present at the Last Supper. “”I consecrate myself for them so that they may be consecrated in truth.” This Eucharist is given to us to confirm and deepen our trust that our Lord will in all truth preserve us in his grace and love until we meet him face to face along with these holy Benedictine abbots and all his saints.