Three Miracles of Saint Benedict

One of the most thrilling lives of the saints ever written is The Life of Saint Benedict by St. Pope Gregory the Great. The following excerpt describes three miracles performed by Benedict. 

How He Raised A Child From The Dead

As he was laboring in the field one day with his brethren, a certain peasant came to the monastery carrying in his arms the dead body of his son and, pitifully lamenting his loss, asked for the holy Father Benedict. When they said that he was in the field, he presently laid down the dead body of his son at the monastery gate and, as one distracted with grief, began running to find the venerable Father. At the same time the man of God was coming home with his brethren from the field, whom, when the distressed man espied, he began to cry out, “Restore me my son, restore me my son!” “What! Have I taken your son from you?” To whom the man replied, “He is dead, come and raise him.” When the servant of God heard this, he was much grieved and said, “Go, brethren, go! This is not a work for us, but for such as were the holy Apostles. Why will you impose burdens upon us which we cannot bear?”

Notwithstanding, the man, enforced by excessive grief, persisted in his petition, swearing that he would not depart unless he raised his son to life. Then the servant of God inquired, saying, “Where is he?” He answered, “Lo, his body lieth at the monastery gate!” Whither, when the man of God with his brethren had come, he knelt down and laid himself on the body of the child; then, raising himself and with his hands lifted up towards Heaven, he prayed, “O Lord, regard not my sins but the faith of this man who craveth to have his son restored to life, and restore again to this body the soul which Thou hast taken from it.” Scarcely had he finished these words when the body of the boy began to tremble at the re-entry of the soul, so that in the sight of all who were present he was seen with wonderful quaking to pant and breathe. Whom he presently took by the hand and delivered alive and sound to his father.

How He Commanded His Monk To Walk On Water

One day as venerable Benedict was in his cell, the aforesaid young Placidus, a monk of the holy man, went out to the lake to get water and, letting down the bucket to take up water, by chance fell in himself after it and was presently carried away by the stream. 

This accident was at the same time revealed to Benedict in his cell, who quickly called Maurus, saying, “Run, Brother Maurus, for the child who went to get water has fallen into the lake, and the stream hath carried him a great way.” 

A wonderful thing and not heard of since the time of Peter the Apostle! Maurus, having asked and received Benedict’s benediction, upon the command of his superior, went forth in haste, and being come to the place to which the child was driven by the stream, thinking he still went on dry land, he ran upon the water, took him by the hair of the head and returned speedily back. 

No sooner had he set foot upon firm ground when he came to himself and, perceiving that he had gone upon the water, was much astonished and wondered how he had done that. 

So, returning to his superior, he related what had happened, which the venerable man Benedict ascribed to Maurus’ prompt obedience, and not to his own merits; but contrariwise, Maurus attributed it wholly to his command, not imputing any virtue to himself in that which he had done unwittingly. 

This humble and charitable contention the child Placidus, who was saved, was to decide, for he said, “When I was drawn out of the water, I saw my abbot’s garments over my head and imagined that he had drawn me out.”

How He Broke A Glass With The Sign Of The Cross

Not far off was a monastery, whose abbot being dead, the whole convent repaired to the venerable man Benedict and, with earnest persuasions requested him to be their abbot, which he refused for a long time, forewarning them that his manner of life and theirs would not agree; yet at length, overcome with importunity, he gave his consent. 

But when in the same monastery he began to observe regular discipline, the monks fell into a great rage and began therefore to plot his death, and after consultation, they poisoned his wine. 

So when the glass which contained the poisoned drink was, according to the custom of the monastery, presented at table to be blessed by the abbot, Benedict putting forth his hand and making the Sign of the Cross, the glass, which was held far off, broke in pieces as if he had thrown a stone against it. 

By this the man of God perceived that the glass had in it the drink of death which could not endure the sign of life. So presently rising up, with a mild countenance and tranquil mind, having called the brethren together, he thus spake unto them: 

“Almighty God in His mercy forgive you brethren; why have you dealt thus with me? Did I not foretell you that my manner of life and yours would not agree? Go and seek a superior to your liking, for you can have me no longer with you.” 

This said, he forthwith returned to the solitude he loved so well and lived there by himself in the sight of Him who seeth all things.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Life of Saint Benedict by St. Gregory the Great which is available from TAN Books

The Life Of Saint Benedict



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