Friday, August 12, 2016

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 35

It is good for brethren to come together and dwell in unity. And it is good for the brethren to serve each other, so that all are made humble and equal.


  1. The brothers should serve one another. Consequently, no one will be excused from kitchen service unless he is sick or engaged in some important business of the monastery, 
  2. for such service increases reward and foster love. 
  3. Let those who are not strong have help so that they may serve without distress, 
  4. and let everyone receive help as the size of the community or local conditions warrant. 
  5. If the community is rather large, the cellarer should be excused from kitchen service, and, as we have said, those should also be excused who are engaged in important business. 
  6. Let all the rest serve one another in love.
  7. On Sunday the brother who is completing his work will do the washing. 
  8. He is to wash the towels which the brothers use to wipe their hands and feet. 
  9. Both the one who is ending his service and the one who is about to begin are to wash the feet of everyone. 
  10. The utensils required for the kitchen service are to be washed and returned intact to the cellarer, 
  11. who in turn issues them to the one beginning his week. In this way the cellarer will know what he hands out and what he receives back.
  12. An hour before mealtime, the kitchen workers of the week should each receive a drink and some bread over and above the regular portion, 
  13. so that at mealtime, they may serve their brothers without grumbling or hardship. 
  14. On solemn days, however, they should wait until after the dismissal.
  15. On Sunday immediately after Lauds, those beginning as well as those completing their week of service should make a profound bow in the oratory before all and ask for their prayers. 
  16. Let the server completing his week recite this verse: Blessed are you, Lord God, who have helped me and comforted me (Dan 3:52; Ps 85[86]:17) 
  17. After this verse has been said three times, he receives a blessing. Then the one beginning his service follows and says: God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me (Ps 69[70]:2). 
  18. And all repeat this verse three times. When he has received a blessing, he begins his service.
I remember in the National Guard at our Annual Trainings, or even at our Drill weekends, that they would select some soldiers to go work in the kitchens with the cooks. Many times it is used as a punishment, but not always. Anyway, the soldiers working in the kitchen usually get to eat first, and sometimes received a larger portion because of their hard work.

One Annual Training I ended up having KP and ended up becoming really good friends with the guy who was serving with me. We had never really spoken much before, and we didn't really like each other before. But after that one day of working together, and serving together we had somehow bonded and became great friends.

It is good to put yourself aside and focus on the needs of others, it is a great way to show love, and to build bonds that bring the community together.
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