I want to say that I am sorry for the late posting today; things were a bit hectic this morning.
Yesterday, we finished dealing with excommunication, which we saw was not an ultimate punishment but is a tool to help bring about repentance. Today we will read about readmitting monks who have left the monastery.
- If a brother, following his own evil ways, leaves the monastery but then wishes to return, he must first promise to make full amends for leaving.
- Let him be received back, but as a test of his humility he should be given the last place.
- If he leaves again, or even a third time, he should be readmitted under the same conditions. After this, however, he must understand that he will be denied all prospect of return.
There may be a number of reasons as to why a monk may leave a monastery which is one reason why monks go through a period of being a novice, but even after that he may find that he is not cut out to be a monk. Some leave due to pride; they don't want to be under the authority of the abbot, they don't want to submit.
We read that even if a monk leaves due to "his own evil ways," that he is to be readmitted - given the last place - up to three times. If he leaves again after three times then he is not to be readmitted. This shows that in all things we should practice mercy and grace, but not to allow such to be used as a stepping stone to allow others to walk all over us.