This article by Fr. Z, caught my attention. I just recently shaved my beard when we moved to a new residence up north. I did leave my mustache though, which is totally gray!
I had my beard for a few years and had decided I would not shave in imitation of some Saints I am devoted too, especially St. Pio. But things and thought change, so for now I will just keep the mustache. This article made me think about it all so here it is:
Over at The Art of Manliness http://artofmanliness.com/2012/06/07/shaving-rituals/ there is an interesting entry about shaving. Under that entry we find this about beards, shaving, and the Early Church [with my corrections to the Latin]:
While the ancient Jews and Muslims were commanded not to shave off their beards, the acceptability of beards among the early Christians waxed and waned.
Sometimes beards were seen as symbols of piety — other times as diabolic. In the faith’s early days, the beard took on the former meaning. A man who decided to devote himself to a monastic life would often undergo an initiatory first shave (in addition to the tonsure — the cutting of the hair on the crown of the head) that was observed by the other monks in the monastery. Before the shave, a prayer called the benedictio ad barbam, or “blessing of the beard” would be said. One version used in the Abbey of Bec in France went like this:
Oremus, Dilectissimi, Deum Patrem omnipotentem, ut huic Famulo suo N., quem ad iuvenitem perducere est aetatem, benedictionis suae dona concedate; ut, sicut exemplo Beati Petri, Principis Apostolorum, ei exteriora, pro Christi amore, sunt attondenda iuventutis auspicia, ita praecordiorum divellantur interiorum superflua, ac felicitatis aetermae percipiat incrementa. Per eum qui unus in Trinitate perfecta vivit et gloriatur Deus per immortalia saecula saeculorum. Amen
After their initial shave, monks were put on a strict shaving schedule. In a convocation held in 817 AD, French monks decided that they should shave once a fortnight, but would take part in an occasional razor and shaving fast during certain times of the year.
Does anyone want to take a crack at a perfect and smooth English version?
Here's the Google translation of this prayer:
The Lord be with you.
Let us pray, Beloved, God the Father Almighty, so that this to His servant N., whom JUVENILITY to lead is to the age, of the blessing of the gifts of His grant, that as the example of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, to him, things that are without, for the love of Christ, the auspices of the young men are shaved, so diverge over the heart of the interior too, and happiness to continue to receive increments. By him who lives and one in three perfect immortal glory, God, world without end.