Saint Scholastica, Virging: Missa “Dilexisti”
St. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict, the Patriarch of Western monasticism. She was born in Umbria, Italy, about 480. Under Benedict’s direction, Scholastica founded a community of nuns near the great Benedictine monastery Monte Cassino. Inspired by Benedict’s teaching, his sister devoted her whole life to seeking and serving God. She died in 547 and tradition holds that at her death her soul ascended to heaven in the form of a dove. In his Second Book of Dialogues (Ch. 33 and 34) Pope St. Gregory has described for us the last meeting between brother and sister:
“His sister Scholastica, who had been consecrated to God in early childhood, used to visit with him once a year. On these occasions he would go to meet her in a house belonging to the monastery a short distance from the entrance. For this particular visit he joined her there with a few of his disciples and they spent the whole day singing God’s praises and conversing about the spiritual life.
“When darkness was setting in they took their meal together and continued their conversation at table until it was quite late. Then the holy nun said to him, ‘Please do not leave me tonight, brother. Let us keep on talking about the joys of heaven till morning.’ ‘What are you saying, sister?’ he replied. ‘You know that I cannot stay away from the monastery.’ The sky was so clear at the time, there was not a cloud in sight.
“At her brother’s refusal Scholastica folded her hands on the table and rested her head upon them in earnest prayer. When she looked up again, there was a sudden burst of lightning and thunder accompanied by such a downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to set foot outside the door. By shedding a flood of tears while she prayed, this holy nun had darkened the cloudless sky with a heavy rain. The storm began as soon as her prayer was over. In fact, the two coincided so closely that the thunder was already resounding as she raised her head from the table. The very instant she ended her prayer the rain poured down.
“Realizing that he could not return to the abbey in this terrible storm, Benedict complained bitterly. ‘God forgive you, sister!’ he said. ‘What have you done?’ Scholastica simply answered, ‘When I appealed to you, you would not listen to me. So I turned to my God and He heard my prayer. Leave now if you can. Leave me here and go back to your monastery.’
“This, of course, he could not do. He had no choice now but to stay, in spite of his unwillingness. They spent the entire night together and both of them derived great profit from the holy thoughts they exchanged about the interior life. The next morning Scholastica returned to her convent and Benedict to his monastery.
“Three days later as he stood in his room looking up toward the sky, he beheld his sister’s soul leaving her body and entering the heavenly court in the form of a dove. Overjoyed at her eternal glory, he gave thanks to God in hymns of praise. Then, after informing his brethren of her death, he sent some of them to bring her body to the abbey and bury it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. The bodies of these two were now to share a common resting place, just as in life their souls had always been one in God.”
INTROIT Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father.
O God, you brought the soul of the blessed virgin Scholastica to heaven in the form of a dove in order to bring to our notice her life of innocence. Through the prayers and merits of Your saint may we live such a life that we too may attain everlasting happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE II Corinthians 10: 17-18
Brethren, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commandeth himself is approved: but he whom God commandeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me: for I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 5,15,16
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully. Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise: but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 10
The daughters of kings are in thine honour, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.
May this sacrifice of Thy dedicated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy Saints: to whose merits we attribute the help afforded us in tribulation. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, 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, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 25: 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the Bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord. .
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with holy gifts: do Thou cherish us always, through the intercession of her whose festival we are keeping. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. R. Amen.