Ultima in Mortis Hora

I guess one must accept the constant confusion around sleep when one travels internationally. Today, instead of waking up super early, I woke up late. I thought I had my alarm set for 6am, but instead, I woke at 7am… Needless to say, I was rather rushed this morning.

Today we travelled south to Monte Cassino, the resting location of Saint Benedict. This was an important trip for our group as we are from a Benedictine Seminary. Half of our group is Benedictine Monastics, and it was very special for them to be in the location of their founder.

We were given an in-depth tour of Monte Cassino, able to see the chapel that Benedict would have celebrated mass in, as well as other locations in the monastery.

Our morning at Monte Cassino culminated in mass in the chapel between the main altar and the crypt altar. This very tiny place is a rather cramped location, but a very intimate and important experience. It is the closest that one can get to the remains of both Saint Benedict as well as Saint Scholastica. Our mass ended with the seminarians singing the Ultima in the chapel. The Ultima is a song that the monks of Saint Vincent sing at important feast days as well as at the funeral of their brethren. We in the seminary learn this song as we sing it with them at all of our major functions. Below is a copy of the song:

Ultima in mortis hora,
Filium pro nobis ora.
Bonam mortem impetra,
Virgo, Mater, Domina.
Bonam mortem impetra,
Virgo, Mater, Domina.

Wenn wir mit dem Tode ringen,
Wollst, Maria, uns beispringen,
Dass wir selig scheiden hin,
Jungfrau, Mutter, Königin.
Dass wir selig scheiden hin,
Jungfrau, Mutter, Königin.

When the last dread hour is o’er us,
Pray thy Son may fashion for us
Death anointed and serene,
Virgin Mary, Mother, Queen.
Death anointed and serene,
Virgin Mary, Mother, Queen.

This song is rather appropriate to sing at the tomb of these two very important saints. One of the tenants that Saint Benedict insisted upon was to keep death always before oneself. This may seem rather macabre, but it is an important and very Christian reminder. We must remember that this place is not the end of our journey with Christ. Our end goal is to be heaven, and we are to keep this fact in mind. We are to imitate Christ in our every-day life, and as we do not know when our last moment will be, we are always to follow the golden rule and return insult with love.

Our day at Monte Cassino ended with a lunch in the town of Cassino. Once again, I could write just a blog about the food we are eating here, but once again, I do not want to tempt anyone into something they may regret!

Upon returning to Rome, we headed over to the Lateran Basilica. This Basilica is the home of the Diocese of Rome. This is where the cathedra of the diocese sits, and therefore is the church of the diocese. (Like usual, I am writing this at the end of a very long day, and I most likely didn’t answer any questions on why this church is important, so please, just ask questions below in the comments!)

We ended our day with dinner at another local restaurant, enjoying good food, good wine, and good company.

Thanks for continuing along this journey with us! Tomorrow we have the opportunity to celebrate mass in one of Saint Peter Basilica’s crypt chapels. Afterwards we will head over to the Vatican museum.

Keep praying for me as I continue to lift you up in my prayers from these very holy sites!

Comment

  • Another wonderful day spent in Italia!! The richness which surrounds you is over-whelming, is it not?? You can barely drink it all in!! But I know you will appreciate every “bite” you are given. Hugs & Blessings as you continue your journey!!!

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