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Book Two of the Dialogues: Life of Saint Benedict


Once upon a time, as he was going to the oratory of St. John, which is at the top of the mountain, the old enemy of mankind on a mule, like a physician, met him, carrying in his hand a horn and a mortar. And when he demanded where he was going: "To your monks," said he, "to give them a drench" [i.e. a large dose of veterinary medicine].

The venerable father went forward to his prayers, and when he had done, he returned in all haste, but the wicked spirit found an old monk drawing water, into whom he entered, and immediately cast him on the ground, and grievously tormented him. The man of God coming from his prayers, and seeing him in such pitiful case gave him only a little blow with his hand, and at the same instant he cast out that cruel devil, so that he dare not any more presume to enter in.

PETER: I would gladly know, whether he obtained always by prayer, to work such notable miracles; or else sometimes did them only at his will and pleasure.

GREGORY: Such are the devout servants of God, that when necessity requires, they work miracles both manner of ways.  Sometimes they effect wonderful things by their prayers, and sometimes only by their power and authority. St. John says: "So many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God" [John 1:12].

They, then, that by power are the sons of God, what marvel is it, if by power they are able to do wonderful things? And that both ways they work miracles, we learn from St. Peter who by his prayers raised up Tabitha; and by his sharp reprehension sentenced Ananias and Sapphira to death for their lying. For we do not read that in the death of them he prayed at all, but only rebuked them for that sin which they had committed. It is therefore certain  that sometimes they do these things by power, and sometimes by prayer: for Ananias and Sapphira by a severe rebuke, St. Peter deprived of life: and by prayer restored Tabitha to life.

For proof of this, I will now tell you about two miracles that the faithful servant of God, Benedict, did, in which it shall appear most plainly that he wrought the one by that power which God gave him, and obtained the other by virtue of his prayers.


OSB Index | Gen. Information | Saint Benedict


25 July 2001
Order of Saint Benedict
Collegeville, MN 56321-2015


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