Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for August 29, 2009

April 29, August 29, December 29

Chapter 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another

Not only is the boon of obedience
to be shown by all to the Abbot,
but the brethren are also to obey one another,
knowing that by this road of obedience they are going to God.
Giving priority, therefore, to the commands of the Abbot
and of the Superior appointed by him
(to which we allow no private orders to be preferred),
for the rest
let all the juniors obey their seniors
with all charity and solicitude.
But if anyone is found contentious,
let him be corrected.

And if any brother,
for however small a cause,
is corrected in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors,
or if he faintly perceives
that the mind of any Superior is angered or moved against him,
however little,
let him at once, without delay,
prostrate himself on the ground at his feet
and lie there making satisfaction
until that emotion is quieted with a blessing.
But if anyone should disdain to do this,
let him undergo corporal punishment
or, if he is stubborn, let him be expelled from the monastery.

Some thoughts

In ch 5 which dealt with obedience we saw Benedict' intent to further
spiritual growth of the individual monastic by reducing ego, in Ch 71
the emphasis seems to be the purpose of mutual obedience is to bind
the community together in Christian love. It may seem startling as the
concept of mutual obedience has not been mentioned before. OTOH,
mutuality and equality have come up before.

"Road to obedience" reminds me of what are called Two Ways documents,
which was a literary genre wll-known in the ancient world. Psalm One
is a 2 ways document. So is the Didache for those familiar with it.
Seems to me Benedict always has the Two Ways in the back of his mind.
So often he starts out with the ideal and follows it with the
consequences of choosing otherwise.

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