St. Benedict, founder of Western Monasticism, writer of the Rule, and, really, savior of Western Europe. At a time when Europe was in shambles, he stepped away from the chaos and shambles as the western empire crumbled and focused on prayer, learning and work; calling Europe to embrace her spiritual heart and soul.
For those who have eyes to see, one can see some very strong parallels between St. Benedict's day and age and the day of Pope Benedict. Europe (and America to an extent) has lost her spiritual center, and the Holy Father, in his first three encyclicals, in his homilies and audiences, is calling her to reground in Christ.
"I resolved to preach nothing but Christ, and Him Crucified!"
Now, I sit down to begin my journey through this third encyclical, while watching bikers slog their way through the Pyrenees.