May 16th, 1996, Serial No. 00137

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 1 - 1990s




In the Rule of the Masters chapters 92 and 93, and in the Rule of Benedict it's chapter 64. Now remember, this part of the Rule is mostly Benedict. It doesn't correspond in a numbering to the succession of the Masters chapters. A lot of the material comes from Benedict. This is what they call his second directory for the Abbot, chapter 64. In choosing an Abbot, the guiding principle should always be that the man placed in office be the one selected either by the whole community acting unanimously in the fear of God or by some part of the community, no matter how small, which possesses sounder judgment. Now, how do you work that out without a fist fight? We three possess sounder judgment, so we're going to make the decision. And then later on there's more possibility. Thank you, Hugh. Later on there's more possibility for confusion and violence. Goodness of life and wisdom of teaching are the criteria, now that comes back again and


again. May God forbid that the whole community should conspire to elect a man who goes along with its own evil ways. If it does, then the Bishop can step in, or the local Abbots, or Christians. You can see them coming at night with clubs and torches, like those Frankenstein movies, remember, when the local pop was out. So there's a lot of scope for drama here. And set a worthy steward in charge of God's house. And then after this, this is the first part, the second part is that the Abbot has to observe these things and beware of these other things. Some of the things that St. Benedict puts in show a lot of practical wisdom. Some of them seem more or less, what would you say, conventional sayings that are passed down. A lot of it comes from St. Augustine, and in here you see this tempering of justice and mercy, the quality of love, which is always coming to the surface in Augustine's writings.


Hate false but love the brothers. Use prudence and avoid extremes, otherwise by rubbing too hard to remove the rust you may break the vessel. And then there's a similar thing down below, where he should be discerning and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of Holy Jacob, who said, if I drive my fox too hard they will all die in a single day. So there's a lot of that, a lot of that sense of discretio here in a slanted sense, because it means moderation, it means not imposing too much, not asking too much. Whereas discretion, discernment, would ordinarily be on either side, neither be too harsh nor too lenient. But Benedict inclining it on the side of avoiding harshness here, on the side of, what would you say, gentleness. And then there's a lot in here about the abbot's own weakness and failings. Benedict is very preoccupied with that. And the conclusion, or near conclusion, so arrange everything that is strong, have something


to yearn for, and the weak nothing to run from. That's marvelous, it sounds very much like Benedict, although it may come, may antedate him actually, the phrase. And then the rule. The rule is to be the final criterion. Any comments or questions about that? Remember that Roman procedure was traditionally an election, then between, what was it, 485 and 530, they replaced that with the Pope appointing his own successor. But you know that the current practice right now is a little between the two, isn't it? Because the Pope appoints the cardinals and then the cardinals elect the Pope. So it's an indirect, but some of those cardinals are already, of course, residuals from before the present Pope comes in, so there's a kind of a delay factor in it. But in other words, it's almost a self-appointing office. Rather than, it's certainly not an election from the base, is it?


Because, and the cardinals are, what, 95% bishops, of course, if not 100%, and the bishops are appointed by the Holy See, so it's completely self-contained in a sense, rather than being an election, say, from the people of Rome, or from the base of the Church as a whole. The monarchical principle is very strong, therefore, both in the Roman Catholic Church and in the World St. Benedict. So it's striking to see that election by the brethren being put in here. But after all, that seems to be already in the Acts of the Apostles, doesn't it, that they did elect? How did they choose Matthias? By lots. By lots, finally, didn't they? Didn't the community appoint the two, didn't the community choose the two that they had to choose between by lots? I think they did. The only oppression was the Apostles who nominated two, and then... The Apostles nominated them, huh? And then they chose them by lot, so there wasn't really a vote, was there?


But you find that in other places, you find a choice by the community in other places, it seems to me. And sometimes I think by probably prayer, fasting, and then maybe some kind of prophetic intuition, something like that, on somebody's part, and then the community would accept it. The Pauline community seems to be more that way. The Pauline community, yeah. The Jerusalem community, I suppose, has a reputation for being monarchical. Hmm. That James is the only thing they chose. Yeah, James, yeah. James and these other pillars that they had there in Jerusalem. Okay, that's chapter 64 on the election of the Abbot, and the second directory for the Abbot. Now let's take a look at chapter 3. Summoning the Brothers for Council. It's interesting to compare what Benedict has here with the Rule of the Master. The Rule of the Master is not a separate chapter, it's part of the chapter on the Abbot.


The ending of R.M. 2. Saint Benedict makes a couple of changes. He accents the authority of the Abbot even more than the Master does. Mark, do you want to read the first long paragraph of this chapter 3? As often as anything important is to be done in the monastery, the Abbot shall call the whole community together, and himself explain what the business is, and after hearing the advice of the Brothers, let him ponder it and follow what he judges the wiser course. The reason why we have said all should be called for council is that the Lord often


reveals what is better to the younger. The Brothers, for their part, are to express their opinions with all humility, and not presume to defend their own views obstinately. The decision is rather the Abbot's to make, so that when he has determined what is more prudent, all may obey. Nevertheless, just as it is proper for disciples to obey their Master, so is it, so it is becoming for the Master on his part to settle everything with foresight and fairness. Thank you. Nivogawe points out that the center of it, of course, is defined by community, Abbot, and Rule. He lives by those things. It is in this chapter that you see the interaction among the three of those, particularly between the Abbot and the community, but then it returns to the Rule in the second half of the chapter.


It seems a little more up for grabs in the Rule of the Master as to how the decision actually is going to be made, but Benedict makes it very clear that the Abbot makes the decision. In other words, what you have is not a consultative, not a deliberative chapter, really, but a consultative chapter. And to come out of these constitutions, this is in chapter 2, part 5, from page 13 to 16, and there what you find is a very carefully structured legislation as to exactly what has to be brought to the chapter. Other things may be brought to the chapter, too, but it determines, dictates, what shall be brought to the chapter, and what shall be voted on deliberately, and what shall be voted on consultatively. There's a third kind of vote, also, in which the Abbot doesn't have any vote. But a deliberative vote means that the majority decides, and occasionally it may be a two-thirds


majority. I believe in accepting somebody for solemn profession. A consultative vote means that the Abbot sounds out the community, which he may do by a written vote, or may do by a show of hands, or another way. And then he himself makes the decision. Now, canon law has structured these things, so a lot of this detail in here comes from the canon law. For instance, about acquiring or selling, alienating, as they say, property, significant property, canon law says the community has to decide on that. So a lot of the deliberative votes come from the canon law. Now, also the ones for accepting members, I believe, where it's a deliberative vote. I think that's determined largely by canon law. Whereas in St. Benedict's legislation, you don't have any deliberative votes. They're all consultative, aren't they? With the Abbot making the final decision. This seems enormously complicated when you look at it. Every one of these was studied, discussed, and voted over.


Every one of these letters, for instance, in number 56, as to what kind of vote it should have, how the community should decide about that. And they're carefully structured, so, for instance, the entrance to the bishop, and then the simple profession and the solemn profession have been considered together, so that the votes follow properly. Although you may not always be convinced of that. For instance, admission to temporary confession is a consultative vote, isn't it? It's a temporary vows. And then, of course, admission to solemn vows has to be a deliberative vote, and I think it still occurs. So, Fr. Robert, I'm sure, will be covering that material. But the Church law itself has put in all that complexity of structure, and the Church law has made it more democratic, has demanded a wider consultation and wider voice of the base. Whereas the will of Benedict could not. Bruno, does the prior general have a fund staying in solemn professions?


Yes, he does. That's one of the few instances in which the consent of the prior general is required. Which normally is routine, unless there's some big question. If there were a sharply divided community on a certain person, on the solemn profession of a certain person, then the prior general would know about that, or should be informed of that, he should study the matter, and he should consider it seriously before giving his consent as to whether a simple majority might go bad in this case, might accept somebody who is really going to be a problem. By and large, however, the prior general's consent is routinely given. I can't think of any other instances. I think major property things, things concerning a lot of money, the prior general's, or a new foundation, certainly something major like that, his consent is needed. And sometimes it specifies that not only the consent of the prior general, but of his counsel.


So he has to have a majority in his counsel in order to do it. One thing, notice, that Benedict introduces on a local level is this domestic counsel, which is, in the following part, it's one number, I think it's number 62 on page 16 that covers the whole domestic counsel thing. So you have three levels, don't you, right now, and from the time of Benedict. You have the base that is all of the solemnly professed members of the community. Now remember that in Benedict's time that would be a larger proportion of the community, wouldn't it? Because, why? You had only one year of novitiate and then you made your final professional member. You didn't have temporary professional. So you wouldn't have a whole big secular community of juniors, would you? Everybody who had been there for his year of novitiate and been accepted would be a solemnly professed member. So the formation group would be smaller, that margin of people. So you've got the base, which is the solemnly professed members, voting members.


Then you've got the domestic counsel. And the Comalibes legislation says how you choose the domestic counsel. Two members are elected by the community. There's a vice-prior, he's the third member. It used to be more fluid, so the prior could pack it more easily. And then finally you've got the abbot for the prior. And of course the prior in one of our communities is an abbot for all practical purposes, okay? He's got the same power and the same rank in Canada as an abbot does. It's only that the Comalibes have avoided the title of abbot and some of the solemn trappings of an abbot for very good historical reasons. So then Benedict returns to the rule here. In every instance, all are to follow the teaching of the rule. No one shall rationally deviate from it. In the monastery, no one is to follow his own heart's desire,


nor shall anyone presume to contend with his abbot defiantly or outside the monastery. It looks like there's a textual gap there. Maybe it said originally, contend with his abbot defiantly either inside or outside the monastery. Verse 12, If less important business of the monastery be transacted, he shall take counsel of the seniors only. Now that's interesting, isn't it? You might expect that the more important business would be reserved for this counsel of elders, these supposedly wiser people, but no. So it's indicated here a greater confidence in the Holy Spirit acting through the community than in the wisdom of the elders, it would seem, doesn't it? Somewhat. And St. Benedict says that often the Holy Spirit speaks through the elders, which is very refreshing in the middle of all of this stuff. It's like the Holy Spirit flying through the window at this point. It's very refreshing, very evangelical.


Whereas for the master, there isn't any domestic counsel, and so every matter should be considered in the chapter, we call it the conventional chapter. Any questions or comments on that before we go on? Because we've concluded this part of the book on the abbot and the counsel of the brother. Let's take a look at chapter 4, the long series of the instruments of good work. Now, this comes almost straight from the master with significant additions, subtractions, and changes by St. Benedict, but not too many of them. The master's got three or four chapters all about these instruments. And chapter 3 in the will of the master is


what is the holy art that the abbot must teach his disciples in the monastery? And that's the list of instruments of good work. He's got 70-something, about 77. And chapter 4 is what is the workshop? And the workshop is the monastery. Chapter 4, what are the spiritual instruments? He gives the language, the title, the category of different things. And the spiritual instruments, this chapter, the master has a list of the New Testament virtues. Faith, hope, charity, peace, joy, love, humility, etc. That's something St. Benedict doesn't have, he's cut that. Chapter 5, what's the substance and cause of the evils which must be investigated? Many have a list of vices to go along with them. The ancients and the fathers loved these lists of virtues and vices. Which I think is something classical too, it comes from the Greek tradition.


And then chapter 6, what's the workshop and what's the monastery? And then finally chapter 7 is obedience. But Benedict has condensed all of this into the single chapter 4 on the instruments of good work. And he's omitted the second list of, the list of virtues and the list of vices. So we'll say a little bit about that before we finish. This is how the master begins his chapter 3. What is the holy art? That the abbot must teach his disciples in the monastery. You can see the sequence of the logic of it. You move from the abbot to the content for the abbot's teaching. And remember the monastery is looked at as a school. So the foundations must be very carefully laid as you move into it. This is the holy art. First to believe and to confess and to fear God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. One God is Trinity in three in one. Three in the one divine nature and one in the threefold power of his majesty.


I think Benedict's got that completely, doesn't he? That confession, it sounds like a creed, doesn't it? Sounds like the Athanasian creed, I recall. Or the today kind of hymn. Therefore, to love him with all one's heart and all one's soul and in second place to love one's neighbor and oneself. That's what he says. And in this way, depart from chashing and evagriate and put love at the end. We've got two different schemes here. We've got the scheme of the New Testament which puts these two commandments first. And then you've got this latter scheme of evagration and chashing where love is the consummation of the financial journey of the climbing of the ladder and therefore to the end. Of course, you pick that up in 10th and 2nd verse in chapter 7 the grave of humility where you ascend over all these graves and you find you're right at the top of them.


I made an echo of it also in another prologue, I believe. There's also a remark on a number of surprises that you find in this list. First of all, it's kind of startling just to find a list of things like this in the Rulers and Benedicts where you've been getting a different kind of material. You've been getting a chapter of prose setting out the qualities of the artist and so on. So just to find a list is somewhat disconcerting. But it's disconcerting when the Rulers announce it there. And also there you've got several lists because St. Benedict doesn't show you the connections. St. Benedict doesn't say this is what the artist is going to teach his disciples. You don't have an introduction to this new literary genre that you're finding here. So it seems as though it's a juxtaposition of something that's going on here alongside the other things. And there's an apparent lack of connection with its surroundings too because it's a book where it points out how this is related to monastics, prologues, and so on. And also to the chapters that will follow


on obedience, on humility, and on patriotism. So you find these verses very prominently in the list of monastics. And also among the vices itself this will be multi-local and charged. Little or no account of borders. That's certainly true. What you have is a kind of collective assembly of maxims which are related one to another. You find that also in the Gospel, don't you? Where you'll have one saying apparently leads to another related saying. Just like the accidental fact that the word thought is mentioned. Moral culture will move by what we would call a resonance between words and between ideas. Almost like a poem. But even from a nursery rhyme, you know. If you can't see it on paper


you can disperse It's a way of complementing the connection between the unconscious and the unconscious. That's it. Which is quite interesting. Interesting in a way. Some of the, like in Paul's letters you'll find quite a bit there. Quite a lot in the Gospels. In the Gospels you don't know however whether it's David's right to do in the beginning or whether it's the later the compiler later on. And also it starts out in the oral tradition to be different about because anywhere in there it could have been latched together in that way and could have moved around could have moved around from one place to another if they find something akin to them that they've picked up. Another word. In the Greek there's a thought in both in the Gospels in the Gospels it's the idea that


the past moment is much closer and much much more detailed and much easier to gauge. Yeah, so actually the tradition for a long time was that he'd offer some time in the morning which he didn't have to study until he had this good comment on the fact that the roof or a portion of the structure had been cut up so that there was something for every day well, to quite an outcome there was a little cluster of these instruments that could work and talk about them. And they were supposed to be the one scheme and that was fixed in that way. And the other surprise or objection is that, well a couple of them but the important thing is that that's the secondary thing. So the great commandment of love of God is not to be sleepy in front of a lady. And that they don't seem to have much to do with monasticism


I think. Maybe that's the biggest surprise it is definitely, but you shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery unless you're in the right building in the right place. I thought I thought I was ascending the advanced grade of spirituality Now Now de Bourgogne explains this at length in terms of the masters what the master has done you can't explain these things so well just in terms of general school. But if you look at what the master has done in his prologue in his introductory portion about baptism and so on and he wants very much to ground the masters in a Hindu-Christian way and what matters is less what would you call it, less a specialized and ethic ability to these things and the fact that they come from God and he wants to ground it in the word of God which a lot of people don't feel and takes away from it the, what would you call it the flavor of monastic specialization as if it has a feel or if it has been in modern times


so that, what would you call it primacy of God's word and the initiative of God is not the important thing and then you can ask why include these and not others a lot of these you might yourself think of things that would be equally equally useful let's go through these and read them in clusters and see what commenters needed to make upon them Christopher you want to read the first paragraph you could start with the first line the first person goes through verse eight nine first of all love the Lord God with your whole heart your whole soul and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself then the following you are not to kill, not to commit adultery you are not to steal


nor covet you are not to bear false witness you must honor everyone and never do to another what you do not want done to yourself now that seems completely New Testament material doesn't it, with very little alteration whereas the next cluster begins to become more monastic begins to become more specialized where it talks about renunciation well actually I find it extraordinary that they give references to New Testament citations this is all New Testament literally all of it hmm let's see certainly the after the first two commandments you can say that that's Old Testament stuff too but they're brought together in the New Testament and deliberately by Jesus it seems in the story of the lawyer you know Jesus it's the Shema it's what Jews say every day three times a day yeah the first part the first part yeah the love of God


it's extraordinary it's a good example however they point out for instance the commandments, the ones that are repeated here the ones that are repeated in the New Testament I think by Paul, because he skips some right it's the ones that have to do mostly with your relations with your brothers your relations with your your fellows that are quoted here not every one of the Biblical commandments St. Benedict has made a change from the Master verse 8 was you must honor your father and your mother just as it is in the Decalogue right, St. Benedict has you must honor everyone De Bocque's opinion is that the reason is he didn't want to seem to suggest or encourage ties with the family which you had to break off when you came into the monastery yeah is there any significance in the High IMLF it says Divigere ex totem corp. is that Latin?


Divigere is, yes it is yeah what sort and what hmm Divigere I can't I can't put it side by side with other Latin words like Amare what's another one Caritas but we don't have a verb for Caritas do we hmm I think I think it means love in a warm full way which does not distinguish for instance between Eros and Agape between unselfish, altruistic love and a more self-centered kind of love it doesn't make distinctions like that I believe that word is distinguished by warmth and by a fullness


of love I was just wondering Dileccio it's related to our words of delight so it's the kind of love that resonates with joy and delight in the human person it's a very personal yeah no it doesn't at all I'm quite sure of that it doesn't in fact it doesn't go as far in that direction as the noun Caritas does hmm but I'm far from a specialist in Latin, especially medieval Latin he doesn't give any footnote in the RB1980 itself tells you on that word but remember that Dileccione in the prologue unspeakable delight so delight and love are closely associated already in the rule both in the rule and we'd have to see


what version of the Bible that came from which translation which Latin translation okay Manero do you want to read the next cluster there starting with 10 renounce yourself in order to follow Christ, discipline your body, do not pamper yourself but love fasting you must relieve the lot of the poor clothe the naked, visit the sick and bury the dead go to help the troubled and console the sorry now there's a relation here between the renunciation and the generosity isn't there between and remember the the triad of basic good works prayer, almsgiving and fasting and the almsgiving and fasting are related in a kind of what would you call it, dialectical


or symmetrical way Saint Benedict has omitted a couple here, let's see if I can find which they are visit the sick and bury the dead help the afflicted to console the sorry to make loans and to give to the needy, now Saint Benedict has cut those out from the masters list and the reason once again seems to be that he wants to eliminate things that don't that's not enough of the monastic, it seems too secular so the monk has no business giving loans does he? nor actually giving on his own individually, personally to the needy that's something that the the almsgiver of the community or the community itself would do you wonder if he doesn't soften it just by go to help the troubled let's see what that is in the Latin in tribulatione superneria in tribulatione superneria, yeah


so troubled there means somebody that's undergoing external affliction largely somebody that's that's hurting in a visible external way I think it could be in afflictione I think and it would have the same same sense and these are the what do you call them, the acts of corporal acts of mercy of course David you want to read the next question your way of acting should be different from the world's way but the price must come before all else you are not to act in anger or lust or grudge read your heart of all deceit never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love bind yourself to no earth lest it prove false


but speak the truth with heart and tongue this is almost entirely in the rule of the master you can see the relationship between 20 and 21 very easily and then it shifts to a relationship to your fellows for the next one the love of Christ must come before all else remember that comes up in several places in the rule it's a basic principle for St. Benedict and it comes from St. Cyprian I know you love that expression prefer nothing to the love of Christ what it is here in the Latin is nihil amore Christi preponere which is stronger than the love of Christ must come before all else because it's more personal isn't it put nothing before the love of Christ rather than the love of Christ must come before all else which is a slightly abstract statement this concern with brotherly relationships


might seem to belong to Benedict but it's almost already in the master and it goes on in the next cluster do not repay one bad turn with another do not injure anyone but bear injuries patiently sounds a lot like the sayings of the Desert Fathers the stories of the Desert Fathers they have in Thigmenton love your enemies if people curse you do not curse them back but bless them instead endure persecution for the sake of justice now a lot of this is almost the soul of early monasticism it seems to me especially among the Desert Fathers where they're always having these stories about somebody who's abused by somebody else and doesn't respond you can probably remember some of those stories what would you call it it almost boils down to something like non-violence but an interior discipline as well as a heart but here he's largely got to talk about external things of course, about behavior but we'd call it today


we'd call it a spirit of non-violence and in the New Testament it would be called patiencia at least the Latin word would be patience patience, of course in the Latin and classical language doesn't mean what patience means for us patience for us is like waiting, expectation it's like waiting for the flight or the bus or something like that whereas for them in its root of course it means to suffer it means to undergo which is a much stronger thing and the New Testament is full of that isn't it? that is the letters of the apostles, for instance, are all about standing firm as you undergo things, and stand in the spirit of Christ and undergo what you must suffer because then you're really among God's chosen ones pazio is the verb for to suffer and paciencia is to suffer not just to await something and that goes with pazio the passion of Christ now that's Latin


but what's the Greek? pathene, isn't it? so it's the same root pathene and pazio all of that, and patiencia it all comes from the same root through the Greek to the Latin there's another cupomone though in the Greek tradition of the Desert Fathers and so on, that they use a lot, another word for patience okay, Martin, I want to read the next question, starting with 29 to 33 do not repeat one bad term with another do not injure anyone did we do this one? from 34 through 40, excuse me


you must not be proud nor be given to one refrain from too much eating or sleeping and from laziness do not grumble or speak ill of others there's a kind of affinity between those, but some of them stick out, like do not, must not be proud and then 39 would seem to belong with those ones about about relationship place your hope in God alone if you notice something good in yourself give credit to God, not to yourself but be certain that the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge let's see what the Master's got here comes that issue of collegiism or not, of course and this is one of the the rule of Benedict's strong expressions of grace yeah, that's


place one's hope in God is in the Master, but Benedict is at it alone the Master as one sees anything good in oneself to be aware that it is the work of God and not of oneself Benedict's got the same thing to regard evil as one's own doing and to ascribe it to oneself and to the devil in the same manner he just leaves it to you to want one's desires to be fulfilled by God to hope for one's sustenance not from the work of one's hands alone, but rather from God now Benedict has purged those two, from the Master and de Vogel will say they smack too much of a kind of apportioning between God and yourself as if part came from you and part came from God a side-by-side thing, what they call semi-Pelagianism to want one's desires to be fulfilled by God as if the desires came from you and then God would come in and fulfill them that would seem perfectly innocent to us but at that time it could sound like


a semi-Pelagian thing that your first impulse came from you and then given that good impulse God responds by giving you the grace to do what you want to do so Saint Benedict pushes it in a more absolute direction absolute direction of grace relying on grace and therefore in the direction of Saint Augustine Christopher, you want to read the next section starting with 44 live in fear of judgment and dying and have a great horror of hell yearn for everlasting life with holy desire day by day remind yourself that you're going to die hour by hour keep careful watch over all you do aware that God's gaze is upon you wherever you may be as soon as wonderful thoughts


come into your heart dash them against Christ and disclose them to your spiritual father guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech prefer moderation in speech and speak no foolish chatter nothing just to provoke laughter do not love immoderate or boisterous laughter so there's a broad range here but the first one is obviously very much connected there about the last thing the judgment day hell heaven and death the one phrase there is quite important the latin is mortem quotidi ante oculus suspectum habere have the thought of death before your eyes every day or simply to have death before your eyes every day the latin is more concrete than the english translation remind yourself that you're going to die as if you had a vision of it before your eyes and therefore hour by hour


keep careful watch over all you do that reflects back to the prologue doesn't it as soon as wrongful thoughts come into your heart dash them against Christ Saint Benedict has added to the master and disclose them to your spiritual father do you know where that notion of dashing them against Christ comes from from that charming song about Babylon does the master have dashed them against the rock Christ no, to shatter on Christ evil thoughts which comes into one's heart it's about dashing the children of Babylon against the rock that's one of those spiritual applications of the unacceptable parts of the psalms and then the


maxims about speech and laughter which reflect the degrees of humility in chapter 7, de Beaugoy points out that a lot of the things in here are preparations for what you're going to find in chapter 7 which specializes on humility and on the grades of humility it comes back to the business of speech and laughter and so on so it makes God sound somehow like a terrible judge that's standing watching over everything oh yeah, yeah no, that's the sense that imminence of judgment is everywhere it's hard to know how to interpret that because if we were living among the people of that time we might be able to understand it it might fit into context in the way that people were and so on the way their consciousness was maybe a vigor of consciousness and a natural joy


and spontaneity and so on which would make those things not so they wouldn't color the image of God they wouldn't twist it out of shape as much as they do for us it's as if our whole image of God can be distorted by those things, maybe it wasn't that way for them maybe they had a naturally more healthy image of God I don't know when you're ready you want to read the next little question or something listen readily to holy reading devote yourself often to prayer every day with tears and sighs confess your past sins to God in prayer, and change from these evil ways in the future note the sequence, reading Lectio, and that means basically scriptures prayer compunction, and then correction, it sounds very much like chapter 49 on Lent, remember where those actions were lumped together as the things to give more energy to during Lent David, you want to read the next group?


we're starting with 59 do not gratify the contents of the flesh hate the urgings of self-will obey the orders of the abbot and the servant even in his own conduct which God forbid, be at odds with what he says remember the teaching of the Lord do what they say, not what they do now, Saint Benedict has added that jab at the abbot, that elbow in the side of the that's not in the Master, it simply says to be obedient to the admonitions of the abbot do not aspire to be called holy before you really are but first be holy that you may more truly be called so that's more subtle than it may sound because lots of times we don't so much want really to be something as we want to be able to think of ourselves as being something we want the image, we don't want the reality we deal a lot with images


images of ourselves, self-images, ideal self-images and so on live by God's commandments every day oh my goodness, the whole thing is about that treasure chastity it's interesting there that chastity is not just what would you call it? the one which is more or less neutral but it needs to be a passion of some kind it needs to be cherished, needs to be something of the heart, a positive disposition of the heart harbor neither hatred nor jealousy of anyone and do nothing out of envy do not love quarreling a similar thing you back off one degree deeper than quarreling itself, do not love quarreling do not have a spirit which is quarrelsome and which moves towards quarreling, takes it deeper into the heart shun arrogance, respect the elders and love the young here we're coming into Saint Benedict's favorite area


of relations between the brethren I want to see what he's changed here yeah, he's added a couple of things which are quite important pray for your enemies out of love of Christ that's been said to be one of the, what would you call it? strongest and most difficult practices in the spiritual life is to pray for one's enemies because it's going straight against something, it's like heading straight into the opposition, into the resistance and it has a special power for invoking the Holy Spirit if you have a dispute with someone, make peace with them before the sun goes down, take a look at the Master same thing about being holy before one is, wants to be called so fulfill God's precepts daily by one's deeds that's stronger, it has more reason for existing there than the way we have Saint Benedict's line


translated, let's see what it is in the Latin no, it's the same I think in the Latin precepte dei factis quotidiæ idem pluri see, the emphasis has been lost in the English translation because it doesn't mention deeds, it doesn't put the underlying life, underlying the execution of the commandments hate no one, not to be jealous, not to do anything out of envy not to love strife to be reconciled to an enemy before the setting of the sun so Benedict has put in two things there respect the elders and love the young, pray for your enemies out of love for Christ those are strong additions aren't they now, you can reflect on that and say well why would he put those in probably because of the opposite inclination both in the young and in the old the inclination for the young to dismiss or write


off the old, okay, as being perhaps not what they should be, as not being the models that they would wish one thing or another, or as being insignificant or unproductive people, something like that and for the old to have what kind of feelings towards the young would you say resentment or that kind of stingy small hearted niggling displeasure, you know, which you see sometimes in older people towards younger people coming partly out of some kind of jealousy or envy lack of vitality and not wishing others to have a vitality and a grace which they themselves don't have how would that verse 17 differ from where it says honor everyone earlier in the chapter it's just interesting there's quite a lot of repetition throughout it seems to go all over the place and retrace itself


that's right if you're looking for what do you call it, structural elegance or literary elegance in the rule of Benedict I mean really forces you to bail out whereas you read somebody like Evagrius and it's pure joy you have one nice little philosophical maxim following another and so on, he's building this crystal castle in the sky for you not Benedict I wonder if it really wasn't written by a dictator someone who was going to write something would be more careful you'd think so it's almost like this might have been a conference or something that Benedict gave or a series of conferences it's both something to be heard and it sounds like something that was written down less than one hour's listening yeah it could be it could be, I've never heard that suggested but it could well be it's frustrating to think of it that way


because we like to think of it as something that was written into stone in some way that was carefully pondered because that's the gravity with which it's always been read for a thousand years and then to think of it being dictated with a certain margin of error and a certain carelessness and a certain free play and then used for years as a somewhat defectively transcribed document is frustrating too isn't it that is to think of that dictated thing as if the abbot didn't even read it afterwards and correct it or tidy it up wanting people to observe that for the rest of eternity actually it also makes sense in terms of its connection to the rule of the master if the abbot who dictated it was well versed in the rule of the master but didn't have a copy of it necessarily in front of him it was speaking from memory in some places that could certainly be I mean it must be a very


complex history of composition but that could be part of it that could be and if Benedict was trying to be concise he had all the repetitions and all the nice things he thought he was a jade he didn't expect that he would in some places why talk about not gratifying the contents of the flesh in one place and then love fasting and not overeating and not oversleeping in another place it's almost as if he had an obligatory number of authorities that he had to quote that so and so said this and we've got to put that in there, it's very important and so and so said this, we've got to put that in there we can't take either one out both of them well at least you can put them side by side it's like having these rabbis that have to be have to be conserved ok never to despair of God


and the Master and finally never to lose hope in God's mercy in Benedict's rule there's a specialization there's a modality there which according to Vogel goes back to the beginning of this chapter where it's a matter of loving the Lord and here it's a matter of trusting in the Lord's love for us at any rate it does what would you call it give an affective color to that last maxim to that last prescription never to despair of God's mercy because immediately it echoes with those parables of mercy like in Luke's gospel the prodigal son and so on so it is just putting one word in there has a consoling resonance a consoling effect it softens that word it softens a bit that image that I spoke about before that's right and you find that in Benedict there's that judge thing but then Benedict is more merciful than God


the way he goes around he's catching people before they hit the ground he's sheltering them here shepherding very gently it's a whole different image you get in the actual texture of the rule these then are the tools of the spiritual craft now here we have a great abridgement of the Master for one thing you've got three more chapters in the Master devoted to these other lists and things but secondly the Master has a description of paradise here which is quite nice he's done that before in the Thema remember in the introductory quote to the rule and now he comes back to it I'll read it to you okay this art which is issued, not the instruments but the art, issued from the will of God when completed it returned it without fault to the Lord on the day of judgment will be recompensed for this reward to dwell forever on a land seven times more brilliant than silver whose heavenly vault will be I don't know why he chose silver whose heavenly vault


will be illumined not by the light of this sun or moon or of the stars but by the eternal majesty of God himself, remember Revelation they need no lamp or light because God and the lamp are their light there's no temple and there's no light because God is the temple and the light in this land of splendor there are rivers of honey and milk and wine and oil flowing forever on their banks various trees bear a variety of fruits twelve times a year, cultivated not by man but by the divine body they don't give delight by satisfying the appetite for food but after the very sight of them has fed the eyes of the saints, each one received into his mouth the taste which gratifies him all of the senses here are going to be gratified, there on the banks of these rivers are placed musical instruments constantly playing hymns which are sung to the praise of the king by the holy angels and archangels, raising their voices in unison hearing the sweetness of these voices so delights the saints that their hearts set to twittering with tremendous joy, you can always question the English translation by their harmonious melody wants to exult more and more


and it goes on and on I have a question, I'm sorry my question is sold out gold has not always been regarded as the most precious metal sold out silver was ahead of gold at one point depends on the abundance where you find it I can't remember the reason because usually silver is much more abundant than gold and you find them together they make a lot of silver and a lot of gold but that's not true everywhere gold reflects truer color than gold I mean silver reflects truer color you mean reflecting like a mirror is made of silver as if it were gold if you have a yellow tinge to it and it used to be thought of as tainted that's interesting the metals are very interesting those particular metals because they have all kinds of resonances in the unconscious and so on, archetypal resonances, even with the planets sun and moon and so on these things all seem to be tied together in that kind of symbolic line


there was a theory too that was about that the word gold and what it referred to in the ancient world may not be quite what it's come down to to us so they may have used the word gold and then saw it it's a possibility apparently based on some, I can't remember the details but I remember that little bit you have that problem with the precious stones like in Revelation 21-22 they're all mixed up the words are the same but the actual stone indicators seem to be something else and very precious stones are indicated by a word which means a semi-precious stone now and that kind of thing another thing is the metallurgy of those times they didn't separate things out very well I imagine you may often have had silver with a golden tint to it, you know, with a little gold or a little copper or something like that so there may have been some confusion actually about what they had certainly the king of Assyria was very careful about his golden vessels and so on and then


the walls, the gates, the streets, the squares of the city of Jerusalem, and everything rings out with Alleluia, the canicle of joy whereas Benedict ruthlessly cuts out all that and as de Beauvoy says, he gives you simply this apophatic what the eye has not seen or the ear heard, God has prepared for those who love him. It's almost as if he's impatient with that sensual, imaginative description of the master, right? He says bologna it's something you can't imagine forget it. A little like Paul does in 1 Corinthians 15 when he says don't try to imagine the next life so there's something to be said for both approaches. Master was a sensei and Benedict was an intuitive yeah, the master was an S it's the cataphatic and apophatic that's for sure and the workshop where we are to toil faithfully at all these tasks is the enclosure of the monastery


and stability in the community he adds the word stability which is important for Benedict and not yet so important for the master. Remember for Benedict stability is very definitive of the kind of monastic life he's legislating for well we seem to have finished chapter 4 and next time let's go on to chapter 5 obedience oh I should read a little of one of the lists of the master's list of vices the vices which we are to guard against are first of all pride and disobedience talkativeness. Now that seems a strange order, doesn't it? But then you remember that the three great monastic virtues are what? humility obedience and silence, right? Tess, eternity and that the three are connected because it's taciturnity, it's silence which enables you to hear the abbot to hear the voice of the abbot and that's immediately obedience, isn't it?


Obedience is tied to humility because humility is like the inside of obedience and besides, obedience is among the first steps of humility falsehood, avarice, cupidity, jealousy envy, inequity, hatred, enmity a lot of these are borrowed I think from the lists of Paul in his letters injustice I skipped some laziness, theft, detraction, buffoonery, impurity, idle speech, excessive work, guffawing, laughter, and humming now humming is such a nazio in Latin and according to de Vogel it may be the same as chantonment in French, chantonment c-h-a-n-t-o anyway, humming is our translator's version covetousness, deceit, ambition, and instability okay so, okay, next time


obedience now the next three chapters are tightly tied together, chapter 5 on obedience, chapter 6 on restraint of speech, or taciturnitas according to Benedict Taciturnitas, and then chapter 7 on humility, as we just noted, glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was, and was, and is now, and ever shall be world without end Amen I hear we're going to get together this afternoon yeah I think there's I don't think so I don't think so after all the engineering attention I'm not sure I don't know maybe it's just not my day