Saint Benedict Disappointed with City Life, Withdrew to Live in a Grotto

Born in Norcia around 480, Benedict completed his first studies in Rome but, disappointed with city life, withdrew to Subiaco, where for about three years he lived in a grotto - the famous "Sacro Speco" - and dedicated himself entirely to God. Making use of the ruins of a cyclopean villa of the Emperor Nero at Subiaco, he built several monasteries together with his first followers. Thus, he brought into being a fraternal community founded on the primacy of love for Christ, in which prayer and work were alternated harmoniously in praise of God. 
Some years later, he perfected the form of this project at Monte Cassino and wrote it down in the "Rule", his only work that has come done to us. Seeking among the ashes of the Roman Empire first of all the Kingdom of God, Benedict perhaps unknowingly scattered the seed of a new civilization that would develop, integrating Christian values with the classical heritage on the one hand, and on the other, the Germanic and Slav cultures...
He knew, however, that when the believer enters into a profound relationship with God, he cannot be content with a mediocre life under the banner of a minimalistic ethic and a superficial religiosity. 

Pope Benedict XVI, ANGELUS, 10 July 2005

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