S. Romuald, Abbot: Missa “Os iusti”
St. Romuald was born in Ravenna of a noble family. Founder of the Camaldolese monks — one of the Italian branches of the Benedictines — in which the eremitical life is combined with life in community. He died in 1027, after a life of prayer and rigorous penance.
St. Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese Order, could not decide for a considerable time whether to serve God in a religious life or to remain in the world. After his father killed a relative in a duel at which Romuald was forced to be present, he went to the monastery of St. Apollinaris, near Ravenna, and did penance for forty days. Later, he entered this same monastery as a monk. Then he became a follower of the hermit Marinus in Venice. In the course of time he founded an order of hermits which received its name after the most famous of his foundations, Camalduli in Tuscany.
Romuald’s was one of the strictest orders for men in the West (a branch of the Benedictine Order). Members live isolated in small huts, observing strict silence and perpetual fasting, constantly praying or engaged in manual labor. Our saint enjoyed the grace of bringing sinners, particularly those of rank and power, back to God. When he died, he was a little over seventy years; he had never used a bed, had always sought out ways of practicing severe penances. 15 years later his pupil, the holy doctor of the Church, St. Peter Damian, wrote his biography.
“His greatness lies in the rigorous and austere character of his interpretation of monastic life-an approach that was quite singular and unique. In the deepest recesses of his being, Romuald was an ascetic, a monk; not perhaps, a monk of that serene peace and self-possession exemplified by St. Benedict in his life and described by him in his Rule. Nor was Romuald an organizer who through prudent legislation enabled his spirit to flourish and affect great numbers. He reminds us of the stolid figures inhabiting the Eastern deserts, men who by most rigorous mortification and severest self-inflicted penances gave a wanton world a living example of recollection and contemplation. Their very lives constituted the most powerful sermon. It is in company with men like these that St. Romuald continues to live.”
Romuald was not at all a fluent reader. Whenever he made another of his many mistakes, Marinus, his teacher, beat him on his left cheek. Finally it became too much for Romuald. “But, dear master,” he said modestly, “hit me on the right cheek in the future. My left ear is almost deaf.” The master was surprised at such patience and thereafter acted more considerately.
The saint loved to say, “Better to pray one psalm with devotion and compunction than a hundred with distraction.”
When the holy man felt his end was near, he retired to the monastery at Val di Castro. After so many journeys he was eager to begin his final pilgrimage to an eternal resting place. Before the reform of the Calendar in 1969 his feast was celebrated on February 7, the anniversary of the translation of his relics in 1481. His feast is now June 19, the day he died in 1027. In the Calendar reform the Church has tried to move the feasts of the saints to their “birthday” — referring to the day on which the saint died and celebrated his/her birth into heaven.
Excerpted from “The Church’s Year of Grace”, Pius Parsch
INTROIT Psalm 36. 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. (Ps. 36. 1). Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. V.: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart.
May the intercession of the blessed Abbot Romuald, commend us to You, O Lord, so that through his merits we may obtain that which we cannot accomplish by our own. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Ecclus. 45. 1-6
Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus. Beloved of God, and men: whose memory is in benediction. He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and shewed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith, and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For he heard Him, and His voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandments before His face, and a law of life and instruction.
GRADUAL Ps. 20:4,5
Lord, Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. V. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
Tract (Post Gesima): Ps 111:1-3. Happy the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. V. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed. V. Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 91. 13). The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 19. 27-29
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. At that time, Peter said to Jesus: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 20: 3, 4
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
We beseech You, O Lord, may the holy Abbot Romuald, prevail by his prayers, so that the offerings placed upon Your sacred altar may be beneficial for our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12: 42
A faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord set over His family; to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
May the pleading of the blessed Abbot Romuald. for us, together with the partaking of Your sacrament, protect us, O Lord, so that we, mindful of his way of life, may obtain the help of his intercession. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.