Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Monastic Rules

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My remarks on Benedict of Nursia, I want to look at the rule in general, and here we're
not going to go into great detail because there is a course on the rule which will be
given probably next year, and then a look at some other rules that happen to be around
the time of Benedict, or certainly way before, and go into formulating the rule of Benedict.
And then next, or next time, tomorrow, we'll begin with Cassiodorus.
So the Rule of the Master was due for today, the selections from there.
Now we're done with the reader for a while.
There's still three more readings later on.
But I'd like to, tomorrow, do Cassiodorus, and now we take a little leap, and we look
at 6th to 8th century Spanish monasticism.
So we'll be moving a little faster now, and also we'll be moving up and down, like we'll
treat something and then we'll backtrack 50 years because we're going on to another topic
which is happening at the same time.
So we're constantly going like this, towards our own day.
Okay, so I'm at 10b, Rule for Monasteries under Benedictus Mercia.
And what I particularly want to look at then, regarding the Rule of Benedict, is how does
Benedict write his Rule, and how does it come across vis-a-vis all the stuff we've
already seen?
So the different traditions, what does he use where?
The first thing we're going to look at is, if you remember, take yourselves back to the
semi-eremitic life in the Egyptian desert, so the skeet, like we have here, that type
of setup, where people are living in their caves, and twos and threes and ones, and they
come together once in a while for a quasi-communal life, at least in worship on weekends, if
nothing else.
So in the RB, I'll use RB for now, I'll refer you to the Rule of Benedict, in the RB, how
does the Rule of Benedict take what those semi-eremites, or semi-hermits, have to say
about solitude, how does the Rule of Benedict take that over and translate it into his Rule?
So how does he talk about solitude in the Rule of Benedict, how does he talk about it?
Is solitude even mentioned?
It's obliquely mentioned, isn't it?
Like in prayer, praying in prayer, and stuff like that.
But how does he provide for solitude in his Rule?
In silence?
Surely that will help.
I mean, that will help as much as silence, sure, but...
After you have lived a life for years and years and years, then comes solitude.
That's more Cassian, huh?
That's more Cassian than Benedict.
Right, at the beginning where he says there's three different kinds of monks.
Yeah, that's the only case where he even mentions hermits.
I mean, he doesn't really take Cassian's line on that.
He's writing for Cenobites, he makes that real clear, so he's really not talking about
So how does he take the spirit of solitude that the dwellers in the desert have and love
and talk about so much and write about and urge on their disciples, how do you translate
that into a Cenobian?
Surely by having little rules like silence.
Real important.
And allowing for contemplative prayer, yes.
How do you ensure it?
How do you give a Cenobian a certain spirit of solitude?
How do we do it?
We're in a different situation, of course.
Might be a faraway spirit.
And because you're far away from everything, there's a distance there, how do you even
further protect yourselves?
There it is, cloistered.
Benedict's remarks about cloistered or enclosured are what he uses, are stemming from what the
semi-hermits in the desert had to say about solitude.
And scholars say this is where he gets that.
Hand in hand with, he's familiar with Pachomius also, so certainly through the Cenobitic line,
he's going to take a lot of what Pachomius has to say.
And in the life of Pachomius as well.
Benedict mentions hermits as in the, is it the fourth chapter or first chapter?
The very first chapter.
And it isn't that he despises hermits or anything.
He obviously, through the one remark he makes, holds them in esteem.
But there's no provision in the Rule of Benedict for moving on to a hermitage.
That's Cassian's premise.
That's Cassian's line.
But he doesn't forbid it either.
He just doesn't address himself to it.
He's writing for Cenobites.
He's writing for this Cenobitical life in the monastery.
For him it seems to be an ideal, but the normal progression for monks is to be a Cenobite.
For Benedict.
Regarding the discernment of spirits then, now we're still for one, two, three, four,
five points, we're talking about what comes from a semi-hermitic commission.
Okay, so I'm going to stay there.
What about discernment of spirits?
Well, the first degree of humility in the RV is a central text in how Benedict regards
the discernment of spirits.
And his perspective is more exterior than what we find in the Theoria and Practicae
of the Egyptian desert.
That is, that the discernment is more one of God's presence in the monastic life than
what's going on in any particular individual.
You remember in the North African desert tradition, each Abba is a discerner of spirits
and the important thing is to see what is working, what's going on, how is God working
in each individual life at any given time, master-disciple relationship.
That's not the discernment of spirits that Benedict moves into.
He's more concerned with, certainly the Abbot has discernment, but the communal discernment
regarding something, the sort of church consciousness of the discernment, and that the discernment
is more about the presence of God in one's life or in the life of the community itself
rather than an ongoing, everyday, what's happening now with every particular individual
in the community.
There's very little about that old eight-headed demon that we got from Nebogrius and Cassian
particularly, and others.
Very little about that sort of thing, those battles.
There's some that touches upon that, there's parts of it, but the image certainly is not there.
The Abbot, in the rule of Benedict, is more of a teacher of the law and a spiritual father
in the place of Christ within the community than an active discerner of spirits.
So, Benedict departs from the, he doesn't take what the desert tradition of the semi-Aramaic
has to say about discernment.
I'm getting...
I'm getting...
I'm getting stumped.
What about the spiritual father then?
What about the role of the spiritual father?
Here's an example where we see direct continuity between what the Abba as a spiritual father
in the North African desert was and what we find Benedict's description of what an Abbot,
vis-a-vis spiritual father, within the Cenobitic community is.
Taking into consideration all what I just said about discernment, there's more to being
a spiritual father than discerning every little thing in an ongoing way.
The spiritual father role, he fits the other, the rest of the gamut, regarding what Abba
Isaac has to say about it and Abba Athenus, whatever.
But when one looks at obedience in the rule of Benedict, or how the monks relate to one
another in the rule of Benedict, he goes off on his own.
Benedict does his own thinking and his own thing in this regard.
There's a new approach in the rule of Benedict, and that is that the obedience is to the rule
and the customs of the house, rather than any particular command that's being given
by an Abba.
And, regarding paternal relations, the rule of Benedict looks directly to the desert tradition
as it's funneled through Cashin, more than how it comes through the rule of the Master.
Excuse me.
The rule of the Master is also going to stem from Cashin, is going to use Cashin and flow
out to Benedict.
But here's an area where the Cashin and the rule of Benedict, the rule of the Master,
are different.
The rule of the Master.
You read parts of that for today.
And Benedict will look to Cashin, the desert tradition, more than what the rule of the
Master did with this particular topic.
There are sections, of course, where Benedict just verbatim takes pieces of hunks out of
this rule and puts it in his own.
But this is not so much one of those areas.
For instance, chapters 71 and 72, so the end of the rule of Benedict, which has to do with
what kind of zeal monks should have and how monks are relating to one another.
That's peculiar or particular to Benedict himself.
He's not borrowing that from anybody that we know of.
And fifthly, regarding the ascetical life, or Ascesis, Benedict tends to idealize the
East, regarding the monks of his own day and how they should be living a life of asceticism
So he took the principles of asceticism from the desert experience, from the desert literature,
the desert tradition, and applied them to the West.
But, like Cashin, having to moderate, having to use his own discretion regarding rules
of asceticism, and reserving that role to the abbot and his deans of discernment in
this regard.
And so, just remember the reading we had this morning at vigils regarding the abbot and
the monks entering Lent, and how they should funnel through the Abba what extra things
they're going to have.
What they're doing for their life.
Well, it's submitting to the discretion of the abbot.
And this is right from the East also.
This fits within the spiritual Abba, or the spiritual father role for the abbot.
Secondly, let's look at Egyptian Cenobitism and see what Benedict takes from there.
Here we're looking at Picomius, of course, but Picomius funneled through whom?
Scratch your memory bags.
Who translated the life of Picomius?
Oh, Jerome.
And that's one of the monastic things that Jerome did.
And because of that, Picomius spread all through the empire.
He translated the life of Picomius.
And so it's through Jerome that Benedict is able to have the Picomian tradition in his hands.
In his hands.
Not just how it's funneled through various rules and movements down the centuries, and
so he has Jerome or some Picomians in there, but it's through Jerome that he has the actual
hands-on document.
And not only that, but also he uses Cassian's Institutes.
Who's telling me that they're coming up in English?
Jerome was yesterday.
Oh, Jerome.
Sounds like they're coming up finally.
There's a situation in the Bible.
Which is very good news.
And also, our friend the tour guide who wrote the Historia Monachorum, the History of the
Monks of Egypt.
These three, Cassian, Refinis, and Picomius, through Jerome's work, are the Egyptian cenobitic
slant that affects Benedict in the writing of his rule.
And here I want you to look at five areas.
The first area is abbot and community.
The abbot, as in the rule of Benedict, as the spiritual father, is a primary point that
comes across in the rule of Benedict.
I mean, this is really stressed in the RP, that the abbot is the spiritual father of the
community, the pater familios of this school of the Lord's servant.
And this comes mainly through how strong it is in this rule, the rule of the master, which
is also taking it from Cassian.
The rule of the master is taking that from Cassian.
The rule of the master just goes wild with that.
Benedict stresses it, but he's always trying to temper the rule of the master, which tends
to be rather harsh and forceful, and maybe even tunnel-visioned in its approach.
But in the rule of the master and in the rule of Benedict, the abbot is obviously the pivotal
person in the community, a very important role within the community's life.
But remember that the rule of Benedict just doesn't swallow everything that the rule of
the master has to say about that.
He moderates, he uses discretion, that is Benedict, when funneling this stuff through
the RL, regarding who the abbot is, what he should do, how the community should look
to him, etc.
Or how they should elect, in the rule of the master, you don't even have an election.
You don't have an election of an abbot.
In the rule of the master, the abbot, on his deathbed, appoints the next one.
In the rule of Benedict, the community elects an abbot.
Benedict sees the community as an ecclesiola, a little church, a little church within the
Church of Christ, as it was in the Pocomian situation, if you remember.
Pocomius also saw the monastery, remember he's the father of the St. Albans, basically,
in the east.
He saw this small city that he built, as a monastery, as a little church.
Not a building, huh?
A little church, church meaning the people.
But it's not all that prominent in the rule of Benedict.
You have to sort of find it between the lines.
It's there, but again, it's rather subtle.
The reason for that is Benedict is so moderate in his approach, and trying not to be dogmatic.
And always trying to temper his remarks, or temper behavior by his remarks, in how monks
are to treat one another, and how all the different offices relate to one another in
the community, and the whole thing about service, and meeting Christ, and the presence of Christ
in the community, etc.
That the whole ecclesiola consciousness gets said within that, between the lines.
It's there, but it's not consciously put as it is in Pocomius.
Regarding regularity, here again we're not talking about bowels, but rules, regularity.
You find by the time of the rule of Benedict that prescriptions regarding what should be
done, and all the little particulars of little teeny rules, little small r's, especially
when you get to reading the sections regarding how the office should be said, or what psalms
should be...
You find all kinds of little rules in Benedict.
But Benedict gets specific, and that's something that's new in Western monasticism.
Benedict seems to have, all through his rule, a more juridical approach.
That is, we need some order.
We need some order for those who are about to begin this kind of life.
This is what we have to offer.
He says that in his rule.
This is what we have to offer for beginners.
And if you're working for beginners, you've got to put everything down and get it all clear.
At the same time, he's not an extremist.
He's not a fanatic about rules and regulations.
Here's some fanaticism in rules and regulations.
Benedict is constantly moderating the tradition that comes down through the rule of the master,
which is taken to an extreme.
The horarium, that is...
What do I mean by horarium?
The schedule.
The schedule is very precise in Benedict.
He doesn't leave it, you know, this or that.
There is some moderation regarding, well, if it's winter and there's not enough light, da-da-da, you know.
So there's seasonal conditioners in there regarding schedule.
But other than that, you know, the schedule is the schedule.
And the sun goes down, it's time to do this, you know.
He's got it all there.
It's precise.
You don't find this in the colonies.
You don't find this anywhere in the East.
That precise horarium.
There is a horarium of sorts.
But remember Pacomius?
You remember the schedule in Pacomius' monastery?
There wasn't any.
Do you remember?
I mean, you didn't even have to go to meals.
You didn't have to do anything, remember?
I mean, that was, you know, there was a lot of freedom in Pacomius' monastery.
The only thing he liked people to do was to come to a meal a day, but you didn't have to do that either.
Now, with Benedict, it's regular.
Of course, in his rule, once in a while, he'll always put a conditioner there.
Now remember, you know, the abbot can always decide.
It's moderate.
He leaves it up to discernment and whatnot.
But he gets the principles down.
And he gets the framework down.
And if people want to, in different places,
like he says regarding wine and clothing,
you know, if you're in a different place where you have a different material to make your habits, use that.
And if you can't have wine in your monastery, well, put up with it.
Thank God for the grace of not having wine.
Obviously, there's flexibility in Benedict's mind regarding how we're setting up monastic life.
One thing he has that we've seen before,
and that he carries through in this ascetic chain,
is deans, deans in the monastery, dekhan.
So we had this, if you remember correctly,
well, we found this in a number of places.
We found it with Bukhones.
He had deans.
Remember, they each had a number of communities within the community.
And we had it, to a certain extent, with Basil.
And there was a little bit of that Palestinian monasticism.
And it seems to me, at one point, it's Assyrian.
The later Cenobitic, large Cenobia, from the Assyrian tradition,
that were formed in northern Palestine,
more than Syria itself.
But here, well, along the way,
you have the rule of the master, where they have deans all right.
Well, it's like the SS troopers.
I enjoy reading this myself,
and it isn't that I'm putting down this as a piece of trash,
or anything, it's just that it's extreme.
He's just, the rule of the master, whoever wrote it,
is an extreme position.
And so his deans are like,
your horrible memories in first grade,
with the bathroom monitors,
with yardsticks in their hands.
They're goose-stepping up and down the halls,
checking everybody out.
There's surveillance within the rule of Benedict,
but the deans in the rule of Benedict
also share in that spiritual fatherhood
of the abbot in the rule.
And their surveillance is toned way down from what...
Benedict's consistently trying to tone this down,
what he uses.
It's just too much.
Regarding poverty, or dispossession,
through the Cenobitic Desert line,
the rule of Benedict continues the line,
continues what the Egyptian Cenobites had to say
about dispossession and poverty.
In fact, Benedict's pretty strong,
if you remember correctly,
what he has to say about lack of possessions.
Not even the pen, not paper, not pen,
nothing is your own.
The idea in Benedict is more to get,
like in the community of goods,
the commune idea that it's our pen, our paper.
Nothing is our own type thing,
we just all share what we have.
There are sanctions regarding people caught
with this or that,
shall undergo the punishment,
discipline of the rule.
That's not always explained in the rule,
what the discipline of the rule was.
You know, the customs of Benedict's house were.
But there are sanctions for those who
transgress in this area.
And the scholars seem to feel that
regarding little rules about
where should one be punished and how
and for what, especially regarding property
and things like that.
The scholars seem to think that
Benedict got his material,
and it's a much more particular material
than you find in the communes, for instance,
from the Cenobitic line,
but closer to his own day
rather than back to the Egyptian desert.
And some of the rules,
Cenobitic rules in Latin monasticism,
which were just prior to Benedict,
generation to a century before Benedict,
for a long time were thought to be
rules from the east,
because they had eastern names,
but they weren't.
They were western rules written for
monastic foundations in the Latin West,
but still through the Cenobitic chain.
Rules like the Eastern Rule,
the Rule of the Four Fathers,
the Rule of St. Macarius.
Well, that sounds pretty east,
but it wasn't.
These were western rules,
but they were given eastern titles.
To have an affinity with
the roots of monasticism.
And this is where the scholars feel
that Benedict borrowed
and took sections regarding
punishments, and how do you make this rule work,
and what do you do with troublemakers,
that sort of thing.
Regarding prayer,
Cassian, if you remember,
says that the Cenobium
is good for the life of
active ascetical works,
which lead to...
Lead to what?
What's at the goal of Cassian's
Purity of heart, exactly.
And that there are certain forms
of contemplative prayer
that can happen there
quite naturally,
according to Cassian's theory.
Now, Benedict,
in taking this,
regarding prayer,
this theory,
uses the ladder of humility,
which he gets from here.
There's just a couple changes,
there's some order changes,
and some wording changes,
but the ladder of humility
is from the rule of the master.
What Benedict does
is he uses this
ladder of humility,
making some switches and some changes,
but keeping the basic
number of things there,
and then modifies it all
by looking to what Cassian said.
Do you remember that one section from Cassian
that I read from
book four of the Institutes,
regarding his own ladder,
the ten steps,
and you end up with purity of heart
and apostolic love.
You start with the fear of the Lord,
so it's like the ladder of humility.
It comes out
looking much more like Cassian
than the RM.
But he's using both
when he's writing about
humility, Islam,
this connection of prayer.
The rule of Benedict
stresses the fear of the Lord
at the beginning of the process.
And then from there on,
and they all start with the fear of the Lord,
but from there on,
he goes more to what Cassian has to say
in his progression.
The rule of the master
changed it somewhat.
Regarding the steps along the way.
The rule of Benedict
really doesn't talk about
contemplation as such.
It talks about private prayer
here and there,
and it talks about
induced by the power of the Spirit.
That sort of thing.
But it doesn't talk about contemplatio
like Cassian had talked about
or some of the great fathers in the church
were talking about contemplatio.
Benedict is very
in his rule.
He's not
all that concerned with
contemplative prayer as such
in the way it's being used
by these other people.
It's clear
that Cassian's concept
that a certain amount of contemplation
or contemplative prayer is possible
in the cenobitic life
is accepted by the rule of Benedict.
Chapter 20 of the rule of Benedict
regarding prayer.
It shows an influence
of Cassian's reflections
regarding prayer
in his monastic works.
Especially that of
Abbot Isaac's
conference, where Cassian
was talking with Isaac
about prayer.
That's affecting Benedict
regarding pure prayer.
Benedict's concerned with
pure prayer.
He seems to have the feeling that
it's short.
Pure prayer is really short.
Take it here and there and go on.
Go on with the schedule.
The important thing in Benedict is the schedule,
the life, the rhythms.
And that the presence of God
is in all those rhythms.
And so his bells are constantly
calling the monks to one thing or another.
Back and forth.
Calling them up to another
awareness of that presence
in the life of the community.
You had your hand going up?
I guess most of the people
that joined this rule
couldn't read, I guess.
Scholars feel that
in Benedict's rule
the reason,
first of all, the novices are set aside
in their own house with the masters.
He's also teaching them how to read
and write.
If they didn't know.
A lot of them were former slaves.
Some of them were goths.
So, yeah.
It's not just a school
of the Lord's service. It's also a school
of the three R's.
there are other
Well, when we study the rule
we'll look into that. But there are other instances
where scholars feel that
Benedict's writing to this issue
That he wants his monks to be able to
You know, another thing is
all along through monastic history
we've had people
who didn't know how to read.
And that's why it was so important to have good memories,
first of all. Which is also why they
memorized the psalters
or why they were constantly
having it read to them
or recited to them in church
or in the refectory or whatever.
They were having it drilled into them
so that they could pray these words.
They could take that to heart
the text in their hands.
Well, later on, of course, in Western
monasticism you get both.
You get both the reading
and the memory work
in order to take that into you.
fifthly, regarding
how we deal with
through the cenobitic
the rule of Benedict
owes a lot to Egyptian
monasticism regarding
these two
facets of monastic life.
Let me
just give you some examples
and you can look these up yourself
or you can remember them
and we're going to treat them again
next time I teach
the course.
Chapter 66,
the rule of Benedict
gets this from
Rufinus Arturgo
The rule of Benedict's
chapter 67,
he gets that from
66 and 67
the porter of the monastery
of 66, and of course he's the one
dealing with the guests.
And the 67 is
what about brothers who have to be
sent outside the walls,
out on a journey?
So he,
if you remember
what Procomius had to say about that,
it's alright,
they got to go this, they got to
take care of a dying parent,
or they can
go to
when they come back,
Exactly. You don't
talk about anything
in the world.
And you see that again coming through
in a more subtle way
in the rule of Benedict.
Just shut up about it.
Don't scandalize
the brothers by anything you
might have seen or heard.
He gets that right from Procomius.
which is
I don't know my
chapter topics
by heart.
On the reception
of guests. So here you get the real
regarding the tradition
that Benedict wants to set forth
regarding relationships
between monks and guests, between community
and guests. He gets this directly
from Cassian and Rufinus
Cassian and Rufinus.
The rule of Benedict
in treating this whole
section regarding guests,
this whole phenomenon, is a little
more juridical than you would
find it in these other sources, than in
Cassian and Rufinus,
except for the business about brothers going out.
They're mirrors of
the same words, practically.
Here's an
instance where Benedict's a little
stronger, stricter, and harsher
the precedents.
You don't find that
in Eastern Cenobitic, in general.
he isn't the strongest
regarding what you do to guests.
What do you do with guests?
R.M. would be, what do you do
with two guests?
If you didn't do the reading
you really should, just to get
a taste of
this document.
Benedict's moderating this
but at the same time taking a firmer
stance regarding
and things from the outside
coming into the
Why is that cloister there?
Benedict's pretty
firm about that, pretty strong.
Basil the Great.
These would be the rule of Benedict.
So what does
the rule of Benedict get from Basil?
We're going to look
mainly at two topics. First of all,
regarding Abbot and community
again. What does he get, what does
he pick up? See, you notice regarding Abbot
he's picking up something from everybody.
Something from the semi-Aramitic,
something from the Egyptian Cenobites,
and here's something from Basil,
often Turkey, often Cappadocia.
That is,
the rules
written in response to specific
in community
come through
in the RB.
So obviously
there's been some of the
stuff that you find in RB regarding the
Abbot, regarding the community, have
come from problems
that have to be ironed out.
If you
remember the smaller
rule of Basil,
basically what it is
is question and answer
regarding how
he was trying to settle
practical problems
in this regard.
the figure
of the Abbot
in Basil
does not come up real strong,
and superior, rather.
The superior in Basil's monasticism
really doesn't come out as strongly
as it does in so much
of the rest of the
monastic tradition, even
if Gregory of Nyssa,
who was his blood
many ways had a much more interesting
a little more extreme.
He presents
himself as
the Abbot, or as the
superior of this
aspect that he started,
But Basil insists
much more strongly on
the church
aspect, the little church
aspect, ecclesiastical, ecclesial
aspect of the community.
And again, how does
it fit into the church?
Remember, Basil's monasticism is running
hospitals and orphanages,
and they're doing all kinds of
work with the local church.
It's a much more activist
model than what Benedict
is about.
God's presence, the focus
on God's presence,
Basil's influence on the rule of Benedict
directly in the first degree of
humility and the twelfth degree
of humility.
So the bottom and the top of the
ladder of humility,
but that ladder, the first
degree you find everywhere.
I mean, that fear of the Lord,
that's just something everybody
could rattle off by heart.
You know, it's from psalms on.
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.
The beginning of humility
is the fear of the Lord. The beginning of love
is the fear of the Lord.
But it also
comes through Basil, and
two very
important chapters in the rule of Benedict,
I've mentioned them already, chapter 19
and 20, they're both on prayer
in the rule of Benedict,
flow from
what Basil has to say.
And he
refers to our holy father Basil
his rule also.
For Basil,
the recollection
of God's presence
is what keeps you
alive in the monastic life,
what keeps you going
on a daily basis.
And without
which, you shouldn't
even be there.
Well, Benedict
is very, very centered on
the presence of God also
in this regard.
The presence of God
the rule of Benedict and why
things are the way they are
in the rule of
There are
various reasons why the rule
of Benedict perdured. Now, you know,
we have a whole bunch of rules.
And to
answer the question, why did the rule of
Benedict win the
game? I mean, you have different monasteries,
even centuries down the line now.
There are whole areas that don't
even use the rule of Benedict. They're using the rule
of this or the rule of that.
And there is a political turnabout with
Benedict of Anion
in the Carolingian Revival
the rule of Benedict is made
the standard. It was the
big political breakthrough for the rule
of Benedict. But there were other reasons
why the rule of Benedict
pertured all those centuries and
was adapted and the reason
why Benedict of Anion
took it as his model
why he had it politically
imposed on various
monasteries and movements.
of all, it's eminently
for the most part,
it hits the whole gamut
of monastic life. Everything's
there in one way or another.
pretty thorough
as a theoretical document.
Secondly, it's
short enough.
It's not ponderous.
It doesn't go like this
on and on and on
ad nauseam
without any given punishment
that's being meted out.
is brief enough. He says what
needs to be said, puts in
some quotes, and moves on.
Very practical.
Very moderate and flexible
At the same time,
absolutely uncompromising
when it comes to any spiritual nuggets.
monastic traditional wisdom
that's there, no compromise.
That's the
theory. That's the principle.
That's it.
Chief among his
principles that will come through that way is charity.
love, mutual love of the
brothers and the abbot.
Absolute must
in the document.
It comes through again and again
in different ways
throughout the role.
another reason is that
just its principle that the
simple life we live together
is written down in this document
produces a harmony.
If it does that,
that's all it
needs to do.
It just needs to give yourself
an environment, your community
an environment in which you really can
discern the presence of God.
You really can discern
and celebrate that and live that
on a daily basis.
Also, among
all the rules, it's probably the best
in one area.
That is, how does the abbot
and all the monks relate to one
another? And the different
ways they relate to one another.
How is that
How is that set down? The rule of
Benedict is probably the best one in that regard.
Again, then,
a nice practical thing to have
of how
to, for the future,
have abbots
and govern
and how
monks are taken in,
nourished, and prosper
in a monastery together as
a community.
And again,
it had good PR.
It made it because it had good PR,
especially to Benedict
of Anjou, but also through others.
It had a lot of support
and was
at key moments of
centralization and
unification at various times
in monastic history, was right there
at the center
of renewal and reclamation.
In the last ten minutes
then today, I'd like to talk a little bit
about what are these other
rules that are going
on. Again, this is something we
last year for those of you who happened to be
in the rule class at that time
when I
discussed the other rules that are going
And for those of you who
will have the
Benedict class down the line,
so the present postulants,
we'll talk about this again
in that course. But I want to mention
them because
most, if not all, these people
and their rules
Benedict, or he
knew about them, or
were developing
right at the same time as
Benedict's rule from the same
Now, we've named
some already.
See if you can name at least six.
There are twenty-four
rules at this time.
But see if you can name
six from the tradition we've already
looked at regarding
rules or documents
of monastic
or practice.
Just give me one.
Okay, there's one.
Pachomius, whom we get through,
whom he gets through.
That's four.
Two more.
Cassian. This is real important
in Benedict. The most important ones
in Benedict are Cassian and
Augustine, oddly enough.
We'll talk about them in a moment.
One more.
The Master.
Yeah. The Rule of the Master,
which is before R.B.,
but not all that much
before it.
And the Rule of the Master, of course,
is giving forth
mainly one line.
It comes in a direct line
off of one source more than any other.
And that is Cassian.
And the Rule of the Master
takes Cassian
to an extreme.
Benedict is taking all
these sources, but when
he gets from Cassian, he goes
back more to Cassian than when
he gets through the Rule of the Master.
But there are cases where he
uses pretty much the same thing the Rule of the Master
Caesarius of Arles.
There's another one.
Who wrote,
if you remember,
a rule for nuns
for his sister Caesaria and her
community. And then
later on, a rule for them, for
monks, which he wrote
by taking the rule for nuns and
changing the sexes and
what didn't apply and put in what
should apply for men in the community.
And we have the rule for monks,
which is pretty common
in English.
We have to watch for it. It's coming out in England.
I have to talk to
Anyway, we finally got the volume on
Caesarius of Arles the other day. I'm from
Cambridge. It's an excellent volume.
So we really have the first
critical study of
Caesarius, finally, in English.
There is a professor at the Catholic
University who's
just been working on Caesarius
years and is coming
up with all this stuff.
So we have that.
It'll be out in a couple weeks, probably,
on the card.
The rule of
Not a lot is known about
this. Some of
these rules, by the way, we have
in our libraries.
These western rules with the eastern
names. It's a nice
little volume on the St. John's College
liturgical press.
I'll give you four, five,
six of those rules.
My former
from my militia class
did that.
He died tragically,
junior master at St. John's,
age of 40-something,
heart attack.
Excellent scholar.
of Ruspe.
His rule
is known
in the empire. Where's
Ruspe? Who are we talking about here?
Where are we talking about?
Anyone know?
Okay, we're going to talk
about it after Cassiodorus.
This is Spain.
So we'll be looking at
Fulgentius of Ruspe.
had a rule.
He's next on here.
We're going to do him tomorrow.
The rule
of Macarius. That's one of
those western rules that has the eastern name.
The rule
of the four fathers. There's another one.
We have this in English.
The second rule
of the fathers. The third
rule of the fathers. These are all
monastic rules that are being used by various
foundations and communities
in the West.
The rule
of the east. Also called
the eastern rule. It's
important to the rule of Benedict.
A document called
Octa Mediciae
I don't know how to translate that.
Soldier of the heart.
Acts of the
militant heart.
That'd be closer.
It's a real
another one of these
marching soldier
army of Christ type
But this has a
strong effect on parts of
the rule.
The rule of the monastery
was another one.
But not only
well there is another one.
Donatus ended up in a question mark here
because this is at the same time
as Benedict and we don't know
if he knew all that much
about Donatus. The rule of Donatus.
It's happening around the same time.
It is one that will be used by others
and it's using a lot of
the same sources so that's why I mentioned
that. But with a question mark.
But there are other things that
are used that aren't precisely
rules as such
but are
formulatory regarding
what the rule of Benedict
how that comes out in form.
Certainly the Apothecary
the sayings of the desert tradition
were something
at hand. Benedict had
every opportunity
to have that
in his hands.
we say
we have to remember who's behind
Keshe and the
sayings that come from him.
And who is that?
One of the Desert Fathers.
Who's Keshe's mentor?
He had to change
the terminology, remember?
Origin, well
yes, but
origin slant
Evagrius of Pontus.
Evagrius of Pontus.
the abbots
in their workshop
just treated both Master and Disciple.
If you think about it.
They treated Evagrius
and Keshe in the same workshop.
has that
channeling into his
rule also.
Certainly another history,
another document by
the other tour guide.
We've mentioned Refinus.
And he wrote the
what was his history called?
Lausean. The Lausean
history. Why was it called Lausean?
It's just that he opens it up
saying, well, Lauseus
here is the history you asked for.
The travelogue.
So it got to be known as the Lausean history.
Jerome. The letters of Jerome.
The works of Jerome.
The translations by Jerome.
They all go into the
rule of Benedict.
The making of the rule of Benedict.
And lastly, any number of
Lives of the saints.
Lives of the desert. Lives of the whatever.
That are in the tradition of being
handed around.
help to formulate
what Benedict puts in his
document. All that affects
Okay, so
tomorrow we'll do Cassidorus.
There's no assignment.
No reading assignment.