How We Remember: A reflection on the “The Dying Gaul” on the Feast of St. Benedict

Saint Benedict (feast day July 11), patron saint of Western Europe, wrote his monastic Rule around 580. He grew up in a Rome still crumbling from Germanic invasions; and he wrote for a community of men who, before they became Christian monks, might have been from all sectors of society: Goths or slaves or Roman nobles.

In Chapter 22 of his Rule, “The Sleeping Arrangements of the Monks,” Benedict said the brothers should “sleep clothed, and girded with belts or cords; but they should remove their knives, lest they accidentally cut themselves in their sleep.”

When I was in the monastery, Sr. Judy used to tell us there was another reason Benedict wanted them to remove their knives. Imagine being awakened out of a sound sleep and finding yourself in the dormitory surrounded by men who, outside the walls, would be your mortal enemies. You reach for your knife before rational thought has a chance to kick in.

Rewind to the creation of “The Dying Gaul,” and you can see how long these tensions between Romans and “outliers” had been building.

Read the full article at Celebration Publications

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.