Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers

The “Ides” and “Eyes” of March 2013

March 18, 2013

The word Ides comes from the Latin word 'Idus' and means 'half division' especially in relation to a month. It is a word that was used widely in the Roman calendar indicating the approximate day that was the middle of the month. In the months of March, May, July and October it falls on the fifteenth and it falls on the thirteenth for the rest of the months of the year

From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, 1599: 'Beware the Ides of March' is the soothsayer's message to Julius Caesar, warning of his death.

The Ides of March didn't signify anything special in itself - this was just the usual way of saying "March 15th." Each month has an Ides (usually the 15th) and this date wasn't significant in being associated with death.

Months of the Roman calendar were arranged around three named days and these were reference points from which the other (unnamed) days were calculated:

Calends (1st day of the month).
Nines (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months).
Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months).

This March of 2013 needs to be delineated not because it has some traditional dates worth mentioning but because it has now been deemed historical due to recent events.

February 28, 2013: resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

March 1, 2013:   whirlwind of speculation as to who would be the next Pontiff

March 12, 2013: Cardinals entered the Conclave to begin voting process

March 13, 2013: Habemus Papam ~ “We have a Pope!”

                           Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

March 15, 2013: “The Ides of March”

March 17, 2013: St. Patrick’s Day

March 19, 2013: Feast Day of St. Joseph

                           Installation of Pope Francis on Tuesday morning.

                          The installation usually takes place on Sunday during Mass,

                          but the Feast of St. Joseph's day is a Vatican holiday.

                          Hailing from Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio – now Pope Francis,

                          is known as a humble man.

                          During the inauguration, Francis will receive his papal regalia,

                          including a pallium, which is a wool cloak or a mantle,

                          and his "fisherman's ring."

                          A new ring is cast in gold for each pope,

                          to remind that the pontiff is a successor of Saint Peter,

                          who was a fisherman by trade.

                          The ceremony, however, is not as opulent as the papal coronation

                          Masses of  yore.

                          Pope Paul VI was the last to receive the papal tiara at his ceremony in 1963. 

                          Pope John Paul I, his successor, chose to begin his service with

                          an installation Mass instead of a coronation. Source: NBCNEWS

March 21, 2013: Feast Day of St. Benedict

March 24, 2013: Palm Sunday

March 25: 2013: HOLY WEEK BEGINS

                           Solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation

March 28, 2013: The Sacred Triduum:

                           Holy Thursday

March 29, 2013: Good Friday

March 30, 2013  Easter Vigil

March 31, 2013   Easter Sunday


Weather wise, the month of March came in like a lamb, very gentle and mild. Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania and is a very prolific spiritual writer. I am always inspired by her books for she really gives all of us provocative wisdom to ponder in any season. I have recently acquired her latest book entitled, “For Everything A Season.” In her first chapter, Seasons of Life, Sr. Joan states that “life comes out of nowhere.” I have to say that it surely does. The winds of March have given us our traditional saints that we reverence but has also given us a new Pontiff to look up to…someone who comes with the same Theologies of the Roman Catholic Church but has a more humble disposition towards life: in caring the poor, recognizing the suffering, reaching out to marginalized women…a Franciscan mentality whereby we think less of ourselves and become selfless with others. In taking the name of Francis of Assisi, it will be a daily reminder of those who will work closely with Pope Francis and those of us who will see him from afar that the new season for all of us is to live life simply following Christ’s path. In Joan’s book, the last chapter entitled, “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven,” she tells us that living life well is like paddling a rowboat in an ocean. “We can go into the water and fight each passing wave, resist each undertow, confront each swell, fight each current until we break apart, or we can give ourselves to the water to be tossed by it and swept along by it and massaged by it and pummeled by it until, exhausted, we find ourselves beached at that place we hoped to arrive. Life is a wild mesmerizing melody. To live life well, we can join the dance of life, move to its magical music, be moved by its rhythm for us, sing its plaintive songs, or we can sit sullen and watch it go by, forever a stranger to the cadence it requires of us and the multiple keys it challenges us to reach.”


We look to our cluster of saints at the Ides of March: St. Patrick, St. Joseph, and St. Benedict and learn lessons from their humility, obedience, and stability. It would be an existential experience for all of us to see with the saints’ EYES instead of our own. According to Sr. Joan, “there is one thing that we cannot do in life; we cannot ignore its lessons.”


The Ides of March came in with new winds, new eyes, new vision, and new humility. It is up to us to embrace all that we can so that we can join in the “dance of life,” keep learning, keep transforming to the ways of Jesus so that we will be able to see his face in every single person that we meet. The Earth and life is our classroom!


My Song du jour: Prayer of St. Francis


Prayer of St. Francis by Sebastian Temple

Verse 1:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.

Verse 2:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there's sadness ever joy.

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Verse 3:
Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.

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HeavenlyHarpist website

Sally Fletcher, harpist
PO Box 6776 - San Rafael, CA 94903
415 609-8034 phone

© 2009 Heavenly Music for Earthly Events

Art: taken from

“That in all things God may be glorified”


Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB

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