LSB3 – Who Broke The Bell? – The Life of St. Benedict – The Holy Rule of St. Benedict w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B. – Discerning Heart Podcast

The Life of St. Benedict pt 3 – Who Broke The Bell?

In this episode of “The Holy Rule of St. Benedict: A Spiritual Path for Today’s World,” hosted by Kris McGregor and featuring Father Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., listeners are invited to explore the life and spiritual journey of St. Benedict.

The podcast highlights a pivotal moment in St. Benedict’s life when disgusted by his surroundings in Rome, he chooses to follow God’s call over his father’s wishes. This journey leads him to live in a cave for three years, where he is sustained by the monk Romanus, who discreetly delivers food to him. The narrative takes an intriguing turn when St. Benedict, in his quest for total solitude and detachment from worldly needs, mistakenly believes he no longer needs Romanus’s help. This leads to a deeper exploration of the themes of solitude, the dangers of spiritual extremism, and the necessity of community and moderation in spiritual life.

Father Mauritius skillfully connects St. Benedict’s experiences to broader spiritual lessons, emphasizing the importance of humility, community, and the balance between spiritual devotion and practical needs. The episode concludes with a reflection on St. Benedict’s realization that he had gone too far in his detachment, leading to an understanding of the need for balance between solitude and community.

Listeners are encouraged to learn from St. Benedict’s journey, understanding that while solitude and detachment are valuable, they must be balanced with community and humility. The podcast serves as a reminder that in the spiritual journey, extremism can be as dangerous as apathy, and that true holiness lies in recognizing our human limits and the grace of God in all aspects of life.

Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts:

  1. Balancing Solitude and Relationships: Reflect on your ability to balance the call to solitude and contemplation with the responsibilities and relationships in your daily life, and consider how you can create a harmonious balance between these aspects.
  2. Guarding Against Spiritual Extremism: In light of St. Benedict’s story, which highlights the dangers of spiritual extremism, think about ways you can guard against going to extremes in your own spiritual practices and beliefs.
  3. Practicing Detachment: The concept of detachment is a key theme in the episode. Contemplate how you understand and practice detachment in your own life and how this brings you closer to God.
  4. The Role of Community: Consider the role of community in your spiritual life. Reflect on how your faith community supports your spiritual growth and how you contribute to the spiritual well-being of others in your community.
  5. Cultivating Spiritual Humility: Think about the idea of spiritual humility as discussed in the podcast. Explore ways in which you can cultivate a more humble approach to your spiritual life and your relationship with God.
  6. Embracing Moderation: Given St. Benedict’s realization of the importance of moderation in his spiritual journey, identify how you can apply the principle of moderation to your own practices of prayer, fasting, work, and leisure.
  7. Supporting and Being Supported: The story of St. Benedict and Romanus underscores the importance of mutual support in our spiritual journeys. Reflect on how you experience this mutual support in your life and how you can be more open to both giving and receiving spiritual support.
  8. Responding to Disruption: Recall the moment when the bell, signaling Romanus’s delivery of food to St. Benedict, was broken. Think about moments in your spiritual journey where your ‘bell’ – a symbol of guidance or support – was broken, how you responded to this disruption, and what it taught you about reliance on God and others in your faith journey.
  9. Integrating Lessons into Daily Life: Lastly, ponder how you can integrate the lessons from St. Benedict’s life into your daily actions, decisions, and relationships, keeping in mind the central message of finding balance between solitude, community, and service in your walk with God.

From the Life of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict by St. Gregory the Great:


As he was travelling to this place, a certain monk called Romanus met him and asked whither he was going. Having understood his intention, he both kept it secret and afforded him help, moreover he gave him a religious habit and assisted him in all things. The man of God being come to this place lived for the space of three years in an obscure cave, unknown to any man except Romanus the Monk, who lived not far off in a Monastery governed by Father Deodatus. But he would piously steal forth, and on certain days bring to Benedict a loaf of bread which he had spared from his own allowance. But there being no way to the cave from Romanus his cell by reason of a steep and high rock which hung over it, Romanus used to let down the loaf by a long cord to which also he fastened a little bell, that by the sound of it, the man of God might know when Romanus brought him the bread, and going out may receive it. But the old enemy, envying the charity of the one and the refection of the other, when on a certain day he beheld the bread let down in this manner, threw a stone and brake the bell. Notwithstanding, Romanus afterwards failed not to assist him in the best manner he was able.

Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome. For more information about the ministry of the the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, Nebraska 

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