Following the earthquake that destroyed the ancient Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, I heard someone’s comment that it’s a sign from heaven. Saint Benedict was born in Norcia, Italy around the year 480. He was the son of a Roman nobility of Norcia. Benedict was the twin of a sister, St. Scholastica. He studied in Rome and was upset with the promiscuous lives of his classmates, he fled to a cave, where he lived for three years. Soon, a group of men came to him, asking that he lead them in the monastic life. Hence, Benedict is known as the Father of Western Monasticism. He founded a monastery at Monte Cassino, It is there that he wrote his way of life. In his Papal Audience of 9 April 2008, Pope Benedict XIV stated: “St Benedict of Norcia, with his life and his work, had a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture.”
Benedict is credited with founding 12 monasteries in the art of Subiaco. The locals streamed to the monasteries for prayer, guidance and inspiration. They became centers for solid Catholic Liturgy that made the common man a monk in the world. St. Benedict, and the influence of his monasteries gave Europe the foundation of a solid Catholic culture.
Through the years, Europe has strayed from her Catholic culture, replacing it with a secular humanist culture. Today, Europe lives as if God does not exist. Churches are empty, the culture of death is alive and well, alternatives lifestyles are accepted as normal and the Church is attacked as a relic of antiquity.
Back to Italy’s biggest earthquake since 1980. It was centered on the little village that gave birth to St. Benedict. Along with the quake, the new foundation of Benedictines of Norcia was hit hard. Thank God the monks are all safe, but their church, the Basilica of St. Benedict was destroyed, save the facade.
Is this a sign for out times? Has the Lord Himself given us a clear sign of the destruction of European and Western culture? And, is this a sign that God has left us to our own designs? We have abandoned God, and we have also left His protective care.
Now is the time for Europe and all of the Western world to turn back to her roots before it is too late. “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14) There is another sign, there is still hope, the facade is still standing. So, the facade of faith is still standing for us to embrace once again and once agin make it part of our lives. Let us now return to the Lord and rebuild our culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.