Monday, August 8, 2016

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 31

It has been a while since I've updated, I know. I have been rather busy with life, though not too busy to disregard my spiritual life, just my blog. You can read in my update from earlier today what I've been busy doing, if you so choose, or you can stay right here and continue on with our journey through the Rule of Saint Benedict.We have now gotten past the prayers, excommunication, and reprovement. Now we turn to more of the daily life, I would say, of the monastery.

Chapter 31. QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE MONASTERY CELLARER

  1. As cellarer of the monastery, there should be chosen from the community someone who is wise, mature in conduct, temperate, not an excessive eater, not proud, excitable, offensive, dilatory or wasteful, 
  2. but God-fearing, and like a father to the whole community. 
  3. He will take care of everything, 
  4. but will do nothing without an order from the abbot. 
  5. Let him keep to his orders.
  6. He should not annoy the brothers. 
  7. If any brother happens to make an unreasonable demand of him, he should not reject him with disdain and cause him distress, but reasonably and humbly deny the improper request.
  8. Let him keep watch over his own soul, ever mindful of that saying of the Apostle: He who serves well secures a good standing for himself (1 Tim 3:13). 
  9. He must show every care and concern for the sick, children, guest and the poor, knowing for certain that he will be held accountable for all of them on the day of judgment. 
  10. He will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar,
  11. aware that nothing is to be neglected. 
  12. He should not be prone to greed, nor be wasteful and extravagant with the goods of the monastery, but should do everything with moderation and according to the abbot's orders.
  13. Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, 
  14. for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17). 
  15. He should take care of all that the abbot entrusts to him, and not presume to do what the abbot has forbidden. 
  16. He will provide the brothers their allotted amount of food without any pride or delay, lest they be led astray. For he must remember what the Scripture says that person deserves who leads one of the little ones astray (Matt 18:6).
  17. If the community is rather large, he should be given helpers, that with their assistance he may calmly perform the duties of his office. 
  18. Necessary items are to be requested and given at the proper times, 
  19. so that one may be disquieted or distressed in the house of God.
For those that do not know, a cellarer is a person in the monastery who is in charge of the food and drink. It is good, then, to make sure that the person in charge of the provisions doesn't eat in excess, nor is he given to wastefulness - after all, if he can not be in charge of his own food and drink how can he be trusted with the food and drink of others?

He also is responsible to care for the sick and the guests. It is on him to make sure that these are properly fed, most especially so the sick can recover from their illness, and so the guests may recover from their travels.

And he is also to be gentle in his turning down requests of the brothers, never harsh or angry. Naturally, a harsh response can often breed ill feelings and cause a brother to feel wounded. 

Even though the cellarer is in charge of the provisions, he still must obey the order of the Abbot. In all things, the Abbot must be obeyed, for he is the head of the monastery just as Christ is the head of the Church.

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