Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for August 16, 2009

April 16, August 16, December 16

Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice,
not only should she be denied membership in the community,
but she should even be politely requested to leave,
lest others be corrupted by her evil life.

If, however, she has not proved to be the kind
who deserves to be put out,
she should not only on her own application be received
as a member of the community,
but she should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by her example,
and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,
the same King for whom the battle is fought.

Moreover, if the Abbess perceives that she is worthy,
she may put her in a somewhat higher rank.
[And not only with regard to a nun
but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders
previously mentioned,]*
the Abbess may establish them in a higher rank
than would be theirs by date of entrance
if she perceives that their life is deserving.

Let the Abbess take care, however,
never to receive a nun from another known monastery
as a member of her community
without the consent of her Abbess or a letter of recommendation;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tob. 4:16).

*[Applicable only to women of some contemporary monastic communities in the Anglican Communion.]

Right away we notice the parenthetical remark that indicates a way in
which the RB is modified as circumstances require. I would not want
anyone to think there is a slavish adherence to the Rule. Benedict
himself in several places makes provision for the Rule to be modified
in some ways to better serve the community.

It's important that we choose our companions wisely. No less so for a
monastic community. And I sure wish Christendom had, does now and
will in the future demonstrate "because in every place it is the same
Lord who is served, the same King for whom the battle is fought."
Wouldn't that be nice? Maybe there would be less of those endless
squabbles where the same people make the same points over and over
again as if repitition or talking louder and with more and more less
temperately chosen vocabulary will force an agreement.

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  • At 5:49 AM, Blogger MikeF said…

    Wonderful! I love this and the preceding post... such a spirit of humility and openness to all the ways God might choose to work! Thank you.


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