November 16th, 1982, Serial No. 00417

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Monastic Orientation Set 1 of 2

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So today, in our second session, I'd like to talk about the rule and the constitutions. What I want to do is give you a very general framework so that you can know where you're at, so that you can locate yourself later on. So this is strictly business, not strictly factual. In that profession, I don't know whether you were listening the other day, but in that profession corner that Brother John read, these words were present. I, Brother John, promise for my stability, reformation of my life, poverty, chastity and obedience. Notice five vows. The three benedictine vows of stability, reformation of life, which is called conversion of life, conversion of moral, and obedience. Plus the other two, poverty and chastity, which are in the Code of Canon Law, so they have to be there. So you do them, you make your simple vows, you do those, but not when you make your


permanent vows. And that's when you'll be benedictine. The others are considered to be asymmetrical. According to the rule of our Holy Father Benedict, and the statutes of the Commodities Congregation, So, the rule and the statutes. If you read the so-called Commodities Catechism, which we don't have a translation available, you'll find that St. Ronald always enjoined the rule upon people in Sanovi, in monasteries. But even when he found hermits that were not hooked into anything, he would connect them to the nearby benedictine. Romuald frankly reproved the life of the less disciplined brothers, citing to their confusion the precepts of the rule. When I say rule regula, it always means the way of St. Benedict.


Romuald governed the monks in the strictest observance of the rule, and nobody was permitted to transgress through it. This was when he was an abbot in Sanovi. And then it's said in the life of St. Romuald, I'm surprised it's not here, that he left nothing to his disciples except the rule of St. Benedict and his own example, which is quite a, what do you call it, there's quite a stretching between us two, because remember that Romuald generally was very solitary, and the rule was written for St. Benedict. But the rule of St. Benedict had become the universal code amongst monastic legislation in the Western Church and the Catholic Church. And so he inserted even his hermits into that structure. We have at present, I would say, four levels of legislation, using legislation in loose form. I'll put them on the board. The Code of Canon Law, which is the, that's the fundamental legislation of the Church.


Now, nowhere in between, I'm expecting to have it in part 10 of the books. The first one came out in 1918. It is the universal code. Before that, I had different books of law coming out, and I didn't have them together. There was nothing I could do with it. So it was quite confusing. In 1918, I had all of them on the board. I took the Code of Canon Law, and now this is a revision of the Code of Canon Law. According, of course, to the fact that we have this thing. Thank you. The second is our own constitution. The constitutions of the anomalous congregation. Now, the Code of Canon Law would say that each religious order of each religious congregation is to have its own statute. But we don't. I don't think we do. That's not what it says. I'll put it on here.


I'll put it on here. Four local customs. I left out some of the other fundamentals that I didn't put in the Ten Components because I didn't put in the natural law. So you've got kind of a curve in front of you, as broad as possible. The natural law, which is written in every book, is supposed to be written in every book. Then there's the divine law, which I think is going to come from scripture and the tradition. And then you've got the church law. And the church law is encased in the Code of Canon. Then it narrows down further, and we have a particular law for a particular institution. It's a particular institution.


So we have our own rule, first of all, because we're Benedictines. And secondly, our own constitutions, because among the Benedictines, we are only one family, one congregation. So you have a Benedictine order, and within the Benedictine order, you have an obvious congregation. Although the order of St. Benedict is not as clear as, say, the Jesuits or the Dominicans or, in a sense, even the Franciscans. The reason being is because the order of St. Benedict is not a juridical entity. It didn't happen, sort of, at one time, or in the same way, as opposed to, say, in the 13th century or 16th century. It grew up gradually, you see, from a few monasteries. It wasn't an order in the official sense. Whereas when those were formed, there was already a church organization in existence, and so they rapidly fit into a juridical pattern, you see. So the order of St. Benedict is historical, and the other orders tend to be juridical.


They, too, become stronger. I said the Franciscan one isn't so clear. It's because there are four different orders. Whether it's the Franciscans, or the Benedictines, or the Catholics, or the Buddhists. I get confused, but I keep thinking of us as analogies in the Benedictine confederation. Well, the confederation is something else, okay? We talked about order and congregation, and then the third thing is confederation. Now, the Benedictine confederation is due to an effort, I think it was Pope Leo XIII, who wanted to get the monks together. He wanted to have a centralized structure. So, he started a college in Rome called San Anselmo, and he also formed a confederation of the existing monasteries, Benedictine monasteries. Which would be one juridical body for the whole outfit, for the whole Benedictine body.


And that's the first time that that existed. Which means that they had one, not really superior, but a coordinator, called the abbot primate, who resides in Rome. And the place where he resides, San Anselmo, is the same place where they have a Benedictine college. So the idea was to provide a uniform center of education for the Benedictines. That way to be able to give them a certain standard of good Catholic education, and not all of them. And then, at the same time, to centralize the structure. Now, that didn't exist before about 1870, okay? So, until then, you had the Benedictine order, which was just a big accumulation of Benedictine monasteries all over the place, with no law abiding in all the way. Then, at a certain point, in about the 16th century, around the Council of Trent, so the Council of Reformation, monasticism was in a bad way. So then, in order to reform the monasteries, they decided to get them together. See, this is very often what you do from the top, as it were, from above.


If you're looking from Rome, and you want to clean up the monastic scene, you'll try to get it together, to organize it and so on. It's very natural. So, what they would do is take, very often, one fervent monastery that was in good shape, and then tie a lot of other ones to it. So, you could sort of tow them along, supervise them. So, you get these congregations, like the Congregation of Monte Cassino, where the Cassinese Benedictines were, or the Congregation of Subiaco, or the Swiss Congregation, and so on. Now, we've got a special American congregation called the Swiss Congregation. Is that a little cheesy? That's a cheesy one. But, Mount Angel belongs to it. Mount Angel belongs to it. I think it's quite casual. It began in Switzerland. Huh? It began in Switzerland, obviously. Yeah. With Engelberg. Yeah, that's right. And then, it simply became a state monastery. I think they have their own congregation. Yes, yes.


They used to have those cemeteries. That's happened in England. Whereas, the Monte Cassino congregation, like St. John's in Collegeville, belonged to the Monte Cassino congregation. One big congregation. I don't think it was Mount Angel. There's several chances it was called Monte Cassino. Subiaco was one of those places. Okay, so you've got those congregations starting in the 16th century, mostly. Before that, there were just dispersed monasteries, but there was a kind of chain of foundations sometimes, too. In the sense that you'd have one water house, which would send out monks to form a bunch of other monasteries. So, they still retained some influence there. And sometimes, it was astronomy. Like in the case of Cuny. Cuny was a monastery which provided a big, big pyramid of organization. It had a lot of water houses subordinate to it, under its roof. The same thing happened with the Cistercians. See, the Cistercians took up that water house structure.


They had, what was it? And then they had that pyramid. So, those things were pre-existing in the 16th century. But those were, I don't know what they were called. Maybe congregations. But the Cistercians were calling them water houses. You'll find that in the terminology, there's a lot of vagueness, a lot of fluctuation. They liked to be able to say that a water means this thing, a congregation means that thing. But you can't quite say that. Because these things were all historical. And they never really made much sense in the 17th century. But the Canaubis congregation goes way back further. It goes back to the 11th century. See, as soon as they started submitting other monasteries to a relative of the Canaubis, they began to have a congregation. And some other congregations as well. The Canaubis congregation was a very early congregation. Within the Benedictine order. So, historically, we would always have a congregation.


But, juridically, we didn't have a congregation until about the 10th century. And that marks a change in our structure, too. Okay. This is for the whole church. This is for all the Benedictines. This is for all the Canaubis. And this is just for our house. Now, it was thought when we came up with the new constitution in 1669, it was thought that all the houses would get together a book of customs and submit them to Canaubis. Submit them to the superiors and have them approve. But nobody has done that. The reason being because nobody really wants to get caught in the straitjacket by having their customs stamped so that they can't change them. In the beginning, there was kind of that anxiety, deciding to have something stable and fixed. That's what we had all the time before then. But after making up the constitution itself,


after you've been living according to that for some years, that anxiety turns around and becomes a hesitancy to make rigid local customs for what to... And then, if you want to change them, you have to go back to the general superior. So nobody wants to do that. If local customs are made in the house, then they should also be able to change them. As far as I know, nobody has submitted a book of local customs. In fact, I'm not sure how many people have asked questions about it. Any questions about it? Now, the rule of St. Benedict. I had some chronological lists here, which were more or less accurate, more than a few years ago, with the object of just giving a kind of general orientation, separate the original...


I'm just going to pass these around. They can just pass them hand in hand. Thank you. This was for a quest that we had before in early monastic history. The idea is just so that you can locate the main points. Now, St. Benedict, this starts way back just before the beginning of monasticism, the last persecutions there. And then 315 is Constantine's Edict of Milan, when Christianity becomes approved, and it sort of becomes a religion of the emperor. And the end of it is up in 1540, in the time of the Counter-Reformation, which is after the monastic Middle Ages. It's really come to an end. We've made it into the modern period. St. Benedict, you'll find down towards the bottom of the left-hand column,


writing his rule about 540, dying in 547. And you remember, 1980 was his centenary, so his birth is placed in 480. You've got the foundation of Commandolice in 1012, over on the other column, by Saint-Honorable Saint-Fran├žois. The Commandolice foundation, actually, was very early among the monastic movements, and right at the start of the movement to produce the elevated disorders. Those were at Commandolice. At Commandolice. There are two editions. Those should be in the library. By the way, I mustn't forget,


we should go over to the libraries, and just look on the shelves, so you can orient yourself. We had a bunch of those, of the translation. I should pass them out, if you're interested. He did those at Commandolice, and they seem to have been influenced by the Constitutions of Santa Avalona, which Saint Peter Damian wrote up. He wrote up the Way of Life there. In fact, he did it a couple of times. It seems that Rudolf was influenced by him, and then he, on the other hand, was influenced by Canaldo. Santa Avalona would be formed by Saint-Honorable. It existed before it came along. So the first Commandolice Constitutions were about 1080. They're not quite sure which are the earlier and which are the later. These are longer, so I'm not sure. And then there's a long list of them,


culminating in the last edition, post Vatican II of 1969. When we get to the Constitutions, we'll find out more about them. But I'm not going to go into it very thoroughly, now that what we're trying to do is put the general picture. I found some notes that I can't see about when they were doing the Constitutions, in 1968. I did kind of study on them, but I'm not going to read them now. Order. The background of Saint-Benedict's Rule, you can find in Pfeiffer, pages 43 through 53, The Beginnings of Western Monasticism. He doesn't give a kind of synopsis of the rule there, but he talks about the rule for the whole rest of the book, I think he's speaking. And then in this R.B. 1980, I think we'll have to get a couple more of these, to have a little more ideas of what people have been using at the same time. It's a very useful book. This is the most complete and up-to-date, absolutely, thing in the world


of Saint-Benedict in English. And also, it gives a lot of, well, some of it is bibliography and information on other aspects of monasticism. The introduction has a good, concise history of early monasticism, up to the time of Saint-Benedict. And it discusses all those questions about the relation of the word monastic to the word monasticism. So it's a first, highest level of usefulness, I suppose. About commentaries. So, for the background of the rule, you can find what you need in here in a more complete way than in Pfeiffer, and a more up-to-date way. If your memory is like mine, it may contain less than that. People's minds are very different, you know. Sooner or later, you need to make a kind of background scheme for yourself, so you know how to place things. That's why, that's the reason


for the chronological reason. About commentaries on the rule. You know what a commentary is. It's a book which explains and tries to render the meaning of a scripture, text, or a rule, or whatever kind of text. And that may give you a lot of background information on it, or it may not. Let me speak of three or four commentaries that we have here on the rule of St. Benedict. Now, the most complete one, in fact, it's just about exhaustive, is a commentary of Father Adalbert de Beauvoir, who is the master, but he didn't write the rule of the master. He's the master as far as the rule of St. Benedict and his studies is concerned, because he did this enormous work. There's seven volumes of it in the library over there, on the rule of Benedict. And then another three or four volumes on the rule of the master, imagine. This is all in Sursceptien, a big, long series


in the original language and then in French. So where he has a text of the rule, a text of the rule of the master, the Latin is given. And then his commentary is, he's got a concordance in just about every word. All those scholarly things are in French. French is a very useful language to figure out sometimes. Although, if you don't learn it, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble. So, de Beauvoir's commentaries is the ultimate, sort of. Although, you know, it's a historical commentary. There are all different kinds of commentaries. One person will tell you every atom of information about the history of the rule. And then he won't say a word about its present application or the problems that you might have in trying to live according to the rule today or about subsequent developments. And another person will focus on the existential


experience of living the rule in a community. And then you've got something in between. So, over on the other side, you have Van Zeller, Hubert Van Zeller. I don't know if you know his name, actually. He's a Benedictine. He's an English Benedictine who's written a whole slew of books about monastic life and spirituality. He's a provider, too. He's sort of the generation behind us now, so you don't hear much about him. His books are still in print. And he wrote one of the few contemporary commentaries we have on him. I think there are some new commentaries just in the past ten or fifteen years, but they're not really thorough commentaries. They're somebody's thoughts about the rule, but they're not as thorough and scholarly. I think I mean this in a thorough way. He seriously tries to present a full commentary, a full explanation of the rule for Benedictines. And you'll find that his is pretty existential.


He treats the problems doesn't just give it a historical thing. He doesn't stick around. He's not just on an idealistic level. But he really does hold to the letter of the rule. He doesn't let it slip through his fingers and just hang onto the spirit. Then we have the classic commentary for Langlois, which is that of Habit de l'Art. This would be the earlier part of our century. Let's see in this edition, about 1915. First published in Primato in 1920, but that's the Imprimato translation I think in the States. So the French edition was probably out in 1913, 1914, something like that. And this is a monumental work. That's a beautiful work too. This is in the classic style of Benedictine in the 19th century and early 20th century. The sort of


background that Marmion also belongs to. And it's a it's not the kind of historical commentary which really scoops into fresh discoveries, the way David Roy does for original research so much as a kind of compendium of the whole tradition, the Benedictine tradition and the Benedictine traditional understanding of the world. And it's beautiful in that way. Also, it just has literature. It's quite a beautiful thing. It stands alone in that way. It still has its value. It's a spiritual work more than anything else. It's the way that the abbot might teach the world. Whereas Vanzella is a little more a little less conservative. But it's a massive commentary. Then we have the commentary of Fr. Basilius Steidl, who


was teaching monastic history over at St. Anselm a little while ago. He was the one who used to come up to his lectures with a Marm clock in his pocket, which would go off sometimes and sometimes during the hour. He's the one from whom I taught at first about the sayings of the fathers of all the Zoroastrians. Now, this is a very useful commentary. It's post-renewal or whatever. He was about 10 years old, 15 years old. 1952. Gosh. 1952. That's before he comes. And it's a very useful commentary. It's more scholarly, more historical than Vanzella. And it goes off on these long digressions, which we call excursuses in the translation. The only problem is that the translation is absolutely


horrible. It's absolutely chaotic. And I'm not just sort of picking nits at this point. Because even sometimes it's hard to make out a tale of the structure. But nevertheless, it's worth consulting because often the meaning comes through nevertheless. And he's a good scholar. It's more on the scholarly side than Vanzella is. And has more contemporary findings in it than Delattre has. Okay. There's a bibliography in this R.B. 1980 on pages, Roman numerals 31 and 32 and the following. It's a very brief bibliography. And the books that are in English here, almost all of them are in our libraries. It could be useful for you. It's a selected bibliography on the whole surrounding area of the world.


Including the text of course. Now that we have this text, we don't have to look around too much. Commentaries, monastic history, studies in monastic spirituality. Studies in monastic spirituality might be something to be desired. There's one Merton book there, for instance. It's kind of just picks one out of each current. Any questions before we go to the structure? Okay. People who try to find the structure of the world sometimes have a hard time. It's hard to find the order of the world sometimes. And notice it has 73 chapters. Well, I should say something, by the way, about the relation of the world to the master and the shape of the world in the structure they have to it.


There's a kind of... It seems like a formlessness sometimes. I'll say a few words about that. Commentators on the rule of St. Benedict have always found it difficult to construct a satisfactory outline of the rule. There are many places where it's difficult to follow the sequence of thought. Not within a given chapter, but from chapter to chapter. Sometimes they have to invent an artificial reason why chapter B comes after chapter A. Moreover, there are several blocks of material such as the liturgical section, the disciplinary measures of the last seven chapters, which look like independent collections of material inserted into the rule in such a way as to break the continuity. So it's as if you've got one continuity and pieces were put in. Whereas the rule of the master


is a much more unified work. So what it looks like is that the rule of the master is sort of composed. And then St. Benedict drastically abbreviated the rule of the master because his rule is probably only about a third of the length. See, the rule of the master in English is about 200 pages long. It's only, it's got 95 chapters plus a long prologue. A couple of sections to it. Much longer than those in Latin. And it's questions and answers. St. Benedict evidently in starting out abbreviated it, left out a lot of, really trimmed it down, left out a lot of the material, but in doing that the excess stuck. But in doing that also he broke the continuity of the rule of the master. Rather than the opposite. That's one of the reasons why they think the rule of the master came first. A bunch of arguments about that. Okay, the structure of the rule. Now, this is going to be a little bit


dry for you. If you're not familiar with the rule, it can come in handy later on. I get this mostly from Steidl. From, just simply from his table of context. I'll put it on here. This is the first section of the prologue. And then he gets down to the nuts and bolts of the first three chapters. The kinds of monks the abbot and the council. That's the framework. And then, third part, the pursuit of monastic virtue.


Let me just say the master. And that's the chapters on silence, on obedience and on humility. Chapter seven is on humility. It's as if, in a way, it's the heart of the rule. And you find, those three virtues of humility, and of obedience, and of silence. Because he says that silence is for the purpose of listening. To listen. And listening brings in continuity of being. How daring are they. So, let's see him somewhere in the later part.


And that is the core of the spiritual part of the master's practice. Then he gets down to the material core of it. External worship. Chapter eight. Eight to twenty. And that is very evident. He's telling you how the One Ox is put together. And then he puts in two chapters on the spirit of doing. The spiritual matter of doing. He's talking about the One Ox. Discipline of the Christ. Discipline of the One Ox. And then there's a very long section


after that. I don't want to stay up too long. But... Very long. Fifteen to two. He's telling you. Both the master and then at the receiving of the Holy Spirit he's telling you something. Then there's sort of a backfill over here. That expresses the difficulty they have in finding the structure of a simple spiritual structure


that they're interested in. And then finally we have a lot. Chapter 67. Let's go through and take a look. I think most of you have your copy of the rule there. Let's go through and take a look at those sections and see what's in them. So maybe we could make it make a little more sense to you. Let's see, if anybody doesn't have one you can use this. You could... This part here, that's what we'll be following.


Let's try to find the logic of those sections. What we're trying to do is get a sense of the content of the rule so we can find the way around them afterwards. Okay, the prologue. You know what that is. Chapter 1, The Kinds of Monks. Remember, he talks about four kinds of monks. The Cenobites, the Hermits, the Sarobites, the Jarobites. Two kinds of good guys and two kinds of bad guys. And then he says he's not going to talk about the Hermits, he's only going to talk about the Cenobites. And so he proceeds to set up the structure for the cenobitical life. And then he starts right off by giving sort of the, what do you call it, the pole that in some way represents the vertical structure of the tent, of the monastery. And that's the abbot. And then the horizontal level, and that's the horizontal axis of the pole.


And that's the council of the brothers. And then, so that's the basic structure of the monastery that he's talking about. And then he's going to go into, when he gets to this administration section later on, he's going to get much more detail about it. He's going to say how they sleep and how they eat and all those things. How things are distributed and how the cellar is supposed to operate and all those other offices. He doesn't bother about that now. It's the general outline. The tools of good works. Now what that is, is the whole conspectus, the whole spectrum of monastic virtues. Whenever he starts out, it's good to take a look at that in that chapter now if you've got it. Chapter four. The instruments of good works. After he gives the structure of the monastery, now he gives the whole... Those are the tools, actually.


He's given the structure of the workshop, as it were, which he calls a school in another place. And now he simply shows you what your tools are. And he gives all of those lines, those sentences, which are like sayings of the fathers. In this edition, they don't separate them, so they will put them in paragraphs, but probably, I hope they do in a small amount. It's easier, it's a lot easier to use them in a separate chapter four. Now notice, it can be disconcerting sometimes to find out that St. Benedict starts this directory of monastic life with the commandments. Not the first commandment, that's fine. Love the Lord God with your whole heart, with all your soul and all your strength. He starts out very theologically. But then, you're not to kill, not to commit adultery,


not to steal. What he wants to do is really give it the shape of Christian life. And I think it seems that in the monasteries, it was necessary to point out that you don't kill. I wonder what you read. And then, we'll talk some other time perhaps about the way that this chapter itself is structured. But the rest of those things are precepts of monastic living, especially. You can say that they're precepts of all Christian life, but they're not. The monk is the one who takes them up and focuses on them. And a lot of them have to do with relations with one another. That's the strongest thing that comes out of it. Those are the precepts of community living. And finally, never produce self-indulged lust.


But today, he has a recording of one called Desperado. Okay, so that starts the section on monastic virtue by setting out the whole range of it in quite a, what would you call it, not a very methodical way, just setting it out. Chapter 5, Obedience. Now, this is really the King Penitent, St. Benedict. Remember how he starts out the structure of the monastery by talking about the abbot? Now he starts out the discussion of individual virtues by talking about obedience. And with obedience goes silence. Chapter 6. That's, in the Latin, that's taciturnitas, which is not the same thing as exterior silence. It's kind of a spirit of silence. It's the inclination not to speak. It's a disposition rather than


just something that you do or don't do. Chapter 7, Humility. As we said, this can be called the backbone or the axis of the will in some way, and in it he gives these 12 steps of humility. So, where he gives you a map of the journey is when he talks about humility. So he estimates the progress in the monastic life according to progress in humility. That shows the importance he attaches to it. And we don't want to be making judgments and remarks necessarily about this now, but you can see how that particular array of virtues that Saint Benedict puts the stress on leads you in a particular direction. Silence, obedience, humility, which obviously needs a counter-principle. Otherwise you can get squashed. You could put together a very oppressive kind of spirituality with this focus on those particular virtues.


It's a good thing that in the chapter on the instruments of the works, he starts out with the two great commandments of the Gospel. You shall love the Lord your God, you shall love your neighbors yourself, and at the end he says never to despair of God's mercy, which is the virtue of hope. So, by making that theological foundation, he saves this from being too heavy. That's why you need to exercise discernment in reading the fine monastic documents. Okay, so that's the section on monastic virtue. Now there's a radical change after chapter 7, and immediately he starts into very precise things. He's been talking about, as you call it, morality or spirituality. Now he jumps into the details of the divine office, and that goes on from chapter 8 through chapter 18, I believe. Well, the two


at the end are different, okay. Through 18 he's on the details. He actually gives you the numbers of the psalms to use. Very precise. But then 19 it changes. 19, we believe that the divine presence is everywhere, and that in every place the eyes of the Lord, he tells you how to do it. In other words, it's the spirit of the psalms in number 19. So we're back into the climate of chapters 4 through 7. Spirituality. And then similarly in chapter 20, it's not, chapter 19 is like your external behavior during the divine office. Not completely, but it is behavior. 20 is another part of it. Humility and sincere devotion. This one relates very much to chapter, I think it's 54


on the oratory. It talks about this brief intense prayer accompanied by tears. He says a whole lot in just a few words. There's a whole spirituality connected with that. Okay, then he gets into the discipline of the cloister, and he starts out by talking about these deans of the monastery who are sort of the, well, not exactly sergeants, but you know, they're they're the sub-superiors, the secondary superiors of the monastery. The idea is if the monastery is large, then the abbot can't relate to everybody personally, and so he should have somebody else that does. So it's the same principle in this military organization. They're called deans. It comes from decanus. Decanus comes from 10. It's in Latin, number 10. And then sleeping arrangements, and then he gets into, the penitential code was


not separated from the discipline section, but that starts in chapter 23. These degrees of excommunication and faults and so on, goes on through chapter 20, chapter 30. All of those are that kind of penitential code. We talk about that when we get to it on Sunday, so in the business of excommunication and so on. Or its relationship to what we know as excommunication. Then the cellar, the tools and goods in the monastery, and so on. Some of these chapters jump out at you because they're very important on the spiritual level. Others are simply practical. Now some that are important on the spiritual level, for instance, are chapters 33 and 34. 33 is on private ownership. And he says above all, this evil practice


must be uprooted and removed from the monastery. It's a strong thing to say about private ownership. Maybe it's advice for monks. I'm not saying it's advice for anybody else. But that peculiar thing of having something of your own material in the monastery. Well, that was in the spirit too, that when you use things, it's just like you were saying, you can't buy that even though it's there. You have to attach it because you use it every day. It's real money. Sometimes you can tell yourself how to buy it. Which is the thing to do. Of course. So it's not actually something you went out and bought in the monastery. You should soon be quiet. That's right. Is it there? Especially in the world,


because it's so easy to justify. That's my image. Last time you took it, you broke that thing. Distribution of goods. That's an important one too. Because it lets out some of the spirit of St. Benedict. He says, not everybody equally, but let them be given according to their need. And then kitchen service, sick brothers. The chapter on the sick brothers and on the elderly and children, they're also important because, listen to what he says about the sick. Care of the sick must rank above and before all else so that they may be truly served as Christ. Where he said, I was sick and you visited me. So that shows the gospel, once again, jumping out of the wood. Manifesting itself in the world. Reader, food, drink, a lot of his discretion is visible in this chapter. Times for meals.


Silence after compliment. That's the great silence. That's in chapter 42. They used to have a common spiritual reading at that time. Sometimes separated. Satisfaction from mistakes. This is another penitential quote. Chapter 48 is another important chapter. The Daily Manual of Labor. Now we're still in that part on, whoops, we've slipped in here. We're into administration. Chapters 31-54. But notice, you can't really keep these apart too completely, can you? Because Manual of Labor and the next one, the Observance of Lent, do they belong to discipline or do they belong to administration? I can't say. Especially


the Observance of Lent is more disciplined. So our structure totters a little bit. He connects Manual of Labor with reading. It may surprise you. It's either one or the other, it seems to be. Observance of Lent, that's a very important chapter in the book. Because it says a lot about the whole monastic life, not just about Lent. Then the Oratory, that's another important one, Chapter 52. If at other times someone chooses to pray privately, he may simply go in and pray, not in a loud voice, but with tears and heartfelt devotion. That's where that spirit of kind of prayer, prayer of the heart, that's another part of it. Reception of guests, that's an important one too.


Okay. Fr Basil Stuyvesant's administration section ends with Chapter 57, The Artisans or Craftsmen of the Monastery. Then we begin this new section which is called The Growth of the Monastic Community. Now what this involves is the chapters on people who come and who may be admitted to the community. Also, particular kinds of people in the community. Growth of the community is not, quote, an appropriate title, but they do have a connection to this group of chapters. The procedure for receiving brothers or for receiving novices is the most important one of this group. And it gives a whole the principles of discernment of vocations, for some benefit. The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God and whether he shows eagerness for the work of God, for obedience and for trials. A lot of wisdom in this chapter. I had a one-unit issue, and that was it.


Number 59 is a special one, which we call Oblates. Those are children of the growth. It gives you an insight into how he feels about equality and how he feels about poverty and about a million to hope for. Priests. He's very skeptical about priests. Visiting monks, chapter 61. Now the earlier chapter was on the priest who might come and ask to join the monastery. Chapter 62 is about the priests who are ordained for the monastery, from among the monks, for the service of the monastery. Chapter 63 on Lankan orders. It goes before me. 64, On the Election of an Abbot. This goes with Chapter 2, way back in the beginning, on the Abbot. And they really overlap very much, because this is just as much about how the Abbot should behave as it is about how you want it to.


And the Prior, this is another... You know the terminology, but we don't have any Abbots who have Priors. So we're talking about a different kind of Prior. We've got two kinds. One is a conventional Prior, and the other is the... So, this kind of Prior is a second Superior, the one that we're talking about here. He's the Assistant, or Vicar, of the Abbot, which is not the same as the Priors in the picture. He's very different. He's very fearful, nervous about the Prior, too, that he will become, like the Priest, that he will become a proud and associate of the Bishop in the Monastery. Obviously comes from experience. Then the Porter watches the gate. Sensible old man. He's old enough, he can't get into


trouble. That's the theory. Sixty-seven, Brothers sent on a journey. Leadership charges. That's in Chapter 2. Sixty-eight is kind of important, because it brings this obedience thing to the real crisis of faith, when you're asked to do something that seems to be impossible. We ran into that a little while ago in our Sunday commentaries. And then a couple of things about presumption. This supplement here, you see, it's got different kinds inside of it. It's hard to find the real content, more than you know. But the principle that holds all these chapters together. Mutual obedience, and finally, good zeal. The chapter on good zeal is a real masterpiece, and makes a good conclusion for the Rule. They call it 73 in Epilogue, with good reason, because the Rule has obviously been terminated. That was the keystone. And Chapter 73 points beyond the Rule. The Epilogue points beyond it.


It points back beyond it, and it points forward beyond it. It points back to the Fathers, to the Scripture. It points forward to solitary life, or to greater advancement, perfection. So that's the structure of the Rule. The key chapters seem to me to be the Prologue, Chapters 1 to 3, on the structure of the monastery. Chapters 4 to 7 on the monastic virtue. Actually, in this R.B. 1980, they just divide the Rule into two parts. The first part goes from the Prologue through Chapter 7. The second part is all the rest, which are more particular observances. And 19 and 20, those two on prayer, 33 and 34, you don't need a lot of numbers, but it ends up that there are maybe 15 chapters


which contain the heart of the Rule, and then the rest are specifics. Any questions about that? About the Rule before? That's about all we can do today, I guess. Next time I'd like to go on and do the same thing with the Kamalvay's Constitutions, take a look at their structure so you know what's to be found in there and where. So it's a good idea... Does everybody have the Constitutions? Next time, it's a good idea to bring your own. You don't have one? Romeo should have one for you, okay? If he doesn't have any now, he'll have one. He's preparing it, okay. But next time, get one from the library, okay, if you can find one over there. And if you can't find one there, then I'll let you know. This is the old Constitution. These are the Constitutions of 1957, which were in force up until the present one,


so I'll put this over on the first shelf and you can take a look for purposes of comparison. Yes, sir? I'm thinking it's a discrepancy between the Confirmation, the script of the Will, and the paper of the Will. When you read the Will, it doesn't seem that it can be put into action, or do you mean that there's a big discrepancy between what you read in the Will? Yeah, it seems like it. It's almost like a joke. And I don't mean this because we are very serious about it, but it seems like putting the two together, it's really stretching the imagination to say that the community follows the script of the Will,


in my opinion. And then talking to other people who have read the other literature, if there are any people involved in that, it seems like it's really stretching the imagination to say that they follow the script of the Will. And certainly they're following the letter. There are a few communities that try to follow the letter, like Christ in the Desert. But then they focus on literature. On the literature. In other ways, they follow the goal. I mean, they try to follow through the hours of that. Also with fasting and things like that. And also some other things. But I didn't see them doing, say, prostrations or washing people's feet and things like that. And they open up the theater. The discipline, what would the discipline be? I don't think that's how it works.


What would the discipline be? Oh, and that's specific to some of the disciplines. It's like they focus on just certain things. It seems very difficult. It is difficult. It's a problem. You can really get hung up on it. But I don't think that you have to. Because in the end, there's a kind of common sense that tells you... What I mean is, why is there such a focus on it? Because it really isn't applicable to the monasteries of today. Because they don't have anything else. Yeah, well, I mean... They haven't had anything for a long while. There's been a real poverty of monastic life in the West for some centuries now. In such a way that the only way to hang on was to go back and compare your life with the world. Because there wasn't anything... Also, there was such a complete dependence on the world for so long, okay,


that it's pushing away every other text. They didn't have anything else. See, the rest of the foundation of monasticism in the West was cut away, was thrown away, and you're left with just the world, after all those centuries. That's one of the reasons. Had there been a broader connection to the historical base of monasticism, it would have been different. Nevertheless, there's a difference between the Benedictine spirit and the Franciscan spirit and those others. There's something discernible there. In many monasteries it becomes... No, I wouldn't say a joke, but it becomes a real paradox. A very stretching... Also, in our life, already when you start with a seminary, how to go out, you're going to depart in a way that no one knows. I think the principal reason is because the rule was imposed in a universal way in the West,


to the extent that it was. So, in the end, you don't have anything else to identify with, as far as your monastic basis or code is concerned. Because you'll find people will... they can use it. You know, if they see somebody doing something, they'll go into it, you know. It's kind of a mystery. The other person can say, Well, no, we don't follow the rule literally. We just follow the spirit of it. And the spirit is, this is the way I interpret the spirit. So then you come around to, there'd be an awful lot of soft rules coming in there. Actually, there should be something pretty strong, which is the custom of the given commandment. In other words, the rule as interpreted in the life of the community. And actually, that's the way it should be. You can really get turned off if you look with too critical an eye at discrepancies like that.


Either, because then you force yourself to a very unwelcome... It's like a dilemma at that point. Either you say, Okay, we have to go back to following the rule literally, and tie yourself in a straitjacket. Or you say, Well, we don't really have anything to do with tradition, you know. So let's just create our own thing, but that's not the rule. The rule does communicate the spirit of monasticism. In a way, at least it offers a complementation, even if people stray from it very far. And if you look at the 6th century and look at today, you're going to understand why people don't...