Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 34

We have seen how to choose a cellarer, how to deal out good and tools, and what to do with property ownership. These things, while seemingly menial, are done in these ways for the betterment of the community. But, what if the brothers have certain needs? How is that dealt with?


Chapter 34. DISTRIBUTION OF GOODS ACCORDING TO NEED

  1.  It is written: Distribution was made to each one as he had need (Acts 4:35). 
  2. By this we do not imply that there should be favoritism ― God forbid ― but rather consideration for weakness. 
  3. Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, 
  4. but whoever needs more should feel humble because of his weakness, not self-important because of the kindness shown him. 
  5. In this way all the members will be at peace. 
  6. First and foremost, there must be no word or sign of the evil of grumbling, no manifestation of it for any reason at all. 
  7. If, however, anyone is caught grumbling, let him undergo more severe discipline.
I have a monk friend - an online acquaintance only really - who has a cane. He is former military, so my guess is that his injury is service related. But, again, he has a cane. This cane looks similar to one that I received from the VA, so I can only guess that he perhaps got his from them as well. But, again, he has a cane. He has a need for a cane, so he gets to have a cane.

A brother who is ill, or weak, will get more food than the other brothers so that he may recover from illness quicker. 

However, the others brothers should not feel discouraged, or envious that these brothers have a need, but thank God that they don't need more than is provided for them. And in the same vein, the brother who has a need should not think himself better than others, but realize that he is being shown a kindness.

No one should grumble, or speak evil against his brothers - either the needy or those with no need - because this causes disunity and will break down the cohesiveness of the community. Instead, those who do grumble should be reprimanded.

We can not do the will of God, nor the work of God, if we allow our egos to rule our lives. We can not submit our will to God if we can not overcome our passions.
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