Pope Benedict XVI said of Abbot Odo: ‘He fits into that period of mediaeval monasticism which saw the surprising success in Europe of the life and spirituality inspired by the Rule of St Benedict. In those centuries there was a wonderful increase in the number of cloisters that sprang up and branched out over the continent, spreading the Christian spirit and sensibility far and wide. St Odo takes us back in particular to Cluny, one of the most illustrious and famous monasteries in the Middle Ages that still today reveals to us, through its majestic ruins, the signs of a past rendered glorious by intense dedication to ascesis, study and, in a special way, to divine worship, endowed with decorum and beauty. … The “devotion” to the Body and Blood of Christ which Odo, in the face of a widespread neglect of them which he himself deeply deplored … deserves special mention. Odo was in fact firmly convinced of the Real Presence, under the Eucharistic species, of the Body and Blood of the Lord, by virtue of the conversion of the “substance” of the bread and the wine. He wrote: “God, Creator of all things, took the bread saying that this was his Body and that he would offer it for the world, and he distributed the wine, calling it his Blood”. … All this invites us to believe the truth of the Lord’s presence with new force and depth. The presence in our midst of the Creator, who gives himself into our hands and transforms us as he transforms the bread and the wine, thus transforms the world’.

May the Cluniac Abbots pray for us, amid all the challenges of our own time, and may God bless you this day.