This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15 -- Feast of Saints Maurus and Placid

It is amazing how a story that emphasizes monastic virtues can be twisted by a forensic or disputative mind to support something entirely opposite.  Take the example of Saint Maurus' miracle. 

Benedict & Maurus (left); Maurus & Placidus (right); God throughout
Maurus was a monk under the direction of Saint Benedict of Nursia (THE Saint Benedict).  A novice in the monastery was drowning so Benedict ordered Maurus to go save him.  Only after Maurus raced to the boy and hauled him to short did he realize that he had run across the surface of the water.  Maurus and Benedict then debated the attribution of the miracle.  God was obviously the author of the miracle, but through whom did he work it? 

Both were appropriately humble and ascribed the miracle to the other.  Benedict naturally saw Maurus as the actor or instrument, since it was his feet that were pounding across the surface without actually sinking.  Maurus countered that Benedict's order had been the trigger, empowering him to execute the miracle.  He had not even been aware that he was performing a miracle; he was just executing an order that conveyed miraculous powers. 

If I were judging the debate, I'd give Maurus some speaker points for creativity but the win goes to Benedict.  Later monks, however, bypassed the question of whose miracle it was.  Instead, they used this example to show that it is all right for a monk to argue with his abbot.  Abbots were somewhat at a loss on that, since Benedict is virtually the final word for western monasticism.  They concurred, but noted that Benedict and Maurus were outside the walls of the monastery, so the argument is limited to that. 

Perhaps you are wondering how Placid got to be a saint?  Maurus succeeded Benedict as abbot of Subiaco, but Placid accompanied Benedict to Monte Cassino (the Mother House) and continued to serve him, no doubt as the instrument of some miraculous demonstrations also. 

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