It was the month of March when St. Benedict gathered his brothers together and said to them: “The pilgrimage of my years is drawing to a close, my end is approaching. Now that I’m about to depart for the heavenly homeland, I leave you as my testament the greatest treasure in the world: the peace of Christ.
Then St. Benedict, supported by two brothers, was carried to Choir for the last time, to celebrate his most solemn Profession, his greatest act of worship. For death is the most holy liturgy of adoration a monk can offer. It was Holy Thursday of the year 547. Standing before the altar he prayed like this:
This is the hour of the great meeting,
Of the truly Holy Communion,
Of Love right to the end.
Henceforth I shall be a true monk like you,
Always living to intercede for the world.
Today is the day
When you have given me your Body and your Blood.
I offer your this poor body of my flesh.
Receive it according to your promise
And I shall live.
Let me not be confounded
Since it is in you I trust.
Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
And leaving this world, the Blessed Father Benedict went to sit down at the Feast of the Great Holy Thursday in the Kingdom of God. (excerpt “Vision of Peace” from OUR FATHER BENEDICT by Sister M. Goberna, OSB)
Saint Benedict is the Patron Saint of the dying and today, March 21st is the day this is honored. Below is a well known prayer entitled: Prayer for a Happy Death, that is associated with him.
“O Holy Father Benedict, blessed by God both in grace and in name, while standing in prayer with your hands raised to heaven, you most happily yielded your angelic spirit into the hands of your Creator. You promised to defend against the snares of the enemy, in the last struggle of death, those who shall daily remind you of your glorious departure and your heavenly joys. Protect us, therefore, this day and every day by your holy blessing, that we may never be separated from our Blessed Lord Jesus and from the company of yourself and of all the blessed. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.”