October 10th, 1995, Serial No. 00136

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 1 - 1990s

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Chapter 58, during our interminable class on the Rule. And we start here. The profession starts at 58, verse 17, and then goes on to the end of the chapter. So let's read that. Gregory, you want to read the first chunk of that from 17 down to 23? When he is to be received, he comes before the whole community in the Lord's glory and promises stability, fidelity, monastic life, and obedience. This is done with the presence of God and his saints to impress on the novice that if he ever acts otherwise, he will surely be condemned by the working-class. He states his promise in a document drawn up in the name of the saints whose relics are there, and of the abbot who is present. The novice writes out this document himself, or if he is illiterate, then he asks someone


else to write it for him. But himself puts his mark to it, and with his own hand lays it on the altar. After he has put it there, the novice himself begins the verse. Receive me, Lord, as you have promised, and I shall live. Do not disappoint me in my holiness. The whole community repeats the verse three times and adds, Glory be to the Father. Then the novice prostrates himself at the feet of each monk who asks his prayers, and from that very day he is to be counted as one of the community. Thank you. We're on the air there, aren't we, Luke? This is a very full treatment of the profession rite, actually, compared to other things in the rule. And it is a liturgical act, and St. Benedict is very concerned with liturgy, of course, as you've seen with his many chapters on the divine office, but even though he doesn't have the Eucharist in here, he presupposes it. So, this, Appendix 5 in the RB 1980, from page 453 to 457, gives you the four elements


of this rite in the Rule of St. Benedict. The first is the promissio, the monk's formal promise. The second is the petizio, or the written document. They've got these, they keep these terms in the Latin. The third is called the oratio, that's the Sushipe Maidana. Remember? Sushipe, receive me, Lord, according to your promise, and I shall live. The old traditional. And the monk sings this with his arms outstretched, three times, traditionally, on a higher and higher note each time. And the fourth part is the conferring of the habit. Okay. And the RB 1980 goes into these at some length. Not everything is as clear as it seems in this text. Jonah, do you want to read the rest of it? Twenty-four to the end. If he has any possessions, he should either give them to the poor beforehand, or make


a formal donation of them to the monastery, without keeping back a single thing from himself, well aware that from that date he will not have even his own body at his disclosure. Then and there, in the oratorio, he is to be stripped of everything of his own that he is wearing, and clothed in what belongs to the monastery. The clothing taken from him is to be put away and kept safely in the war room, so that he ever agreed to the devil's suggestion to leave the monastery, which God forbid. He can be stripped of his clothing, of the clothing of the monastery, before he is cast out. But that document of his, which the abbot took from the altar, should not be given back to him, but kept in the monastery. Thank you. Now here we have the clothing, the final element in the rite, which was the original element in the rite. Remember, among the Desert Fathers, the thing was just giving the fellow the habit, and that was it. And there wasn't even a formation. Originally, there wasn't even a formation period beforehand.


I suppose you were just given a hard time beforehand, even outside the door, and so on. That survives in the rule of the Mass, in the rule of St. Benedict. But then you put the habit on him, and that's it. And the instruction would come afterwards. If you read that long historical section in the RV 1980, or other historical sources, you'll see that the attention given to monastic formation only gradually emerged. Then in the beginning, he just would live the life. It was very rough and ready. They point out that there's an analogy to baptismal practice, that in the beginning, as soon as a person, like in the Acts of the Apostles, as soon as somebody experienced the grace of conversion, and believed in Christ, they would be baptized. And then, gradually, you give some instruction afterwards. In fact, even from the beginning, I think. The instruction was given afterwards. There was a kind of mystagogy afterwards, explaining what they had received and what they had experienced. And then only gradually did they feel the need for a preparation before baptism, and then that became quite elaborate.


Remember, the catechumens having a whole long, like, ritual year, and then being baptized at Easter. The analogy between monastic profession and baptism is very important. And it doesn't come out everywhere in these treatments, but it's very important to get to the depth of what is involved in monastic profession. One key to it is this change of clothes. You take off the old clothing and put on new clothing, right? But that's what you do in baptism. Remember? We found it already in the Gospel, like the Gospel of Mark, where the person to be baptized would be clad in, what, linen clothing before, and then that would be taken off. They are baptized naked, and then new clothing is put upon in the baptismal robe, the white robe. Very important. So, that's only one key to the connection between monastic profession and baptism. And this development of the structure of formation or instruction is the second key. The third key is the amount of baptismal literature that there is in the early monastic texts.


In the Rule of St. Benedict, if you read de Bovoy's commentaries, you find that a lot of the citations, the quotations, the pieces of earlier literature that Benedict is using are coming from some kind of baptismal literature, some kind of earlier text that was associated with baptism. So monasticism and baptism are very much tied up with one another in the beginnings, in the beginnings of monasticism. You see this especially in the Syriac tradition. One was it that we studied that paper of Gabriel Winkler on early asceticism and baptism, as if it was baptism which gave the person the experience which immediately impelled them into a quasi-monastic life, a life of celibacy, a life of solitude. So, very important. When we try to get the deepest meaning of monasticism in connection with baptism. Another thing about this that I want to say now, because I noticed that even in my notes


I forgot about it, but it's extremely important, is that we have a tendency to wonder what the vows are about. It's especially puzzling when we notice that we've got two sets of vows. When you make simple profession, temporary profession, you're making five vows. And you'll notice that other religious orders ordinarily will make three vows. The Jesuits have an additional vow, don't they? That is, the ones who make their final profession. And some other orders apparently have, or congregations have another vow to a particular kind of work. But the religious orders in general have three vows, poverty, chastity, and obedience. And this comes from the time of the mendicant orders in, what, 13th century, and the time of scholasticism, when you had an analytical, or a new theological, sort of Aristotelian way of looking at religious life, or even looking at monastic life. So that you tend to analyze it into components, and you tend to think of it as being somehow constituted by different elements. I remember puzzling and puzzling over those three vows, and trying to figure out how they


expressed, or contained, or embraced the whole of human life, or the whole of religious life, or monastic life. But earlier on, actually, the individual vows didn't have that much importance. What was important was the commitment as a whole. And this relates to baptism again. See, baptism is a total experience. It's a unitive experience. It gives you a unitive experience, which sort of takes you out of the multiplicity of life, into the center of life, into the center of reality. And monasticism is directly built upon that, directly connected with it. It's in the same line, in some way. It's in the same line as Pentecost Day, too, when the Holy Spirit comes. I remember Don Moran's book on the monastic vocation, where he talks about the key word in monasticism being compunction. That is, the spirit of repentance. That is, the opening of the heart. And he finds that word in Acts 2 on Pentecost Day, when the people that Peter preached to were compuncti cordae. Remember? They were pierced to the heart. So he says, there's the origin of monasticism on Pentecost Day.


With the conversion experience of the first people who heard about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that they were guilty of his death. Hausher wrote that long book, Pentos, on the spirit of compunction as being a backbone of Eastern monasticism. So, one line is that. One line is the line of repentance and compunction, which is almost definitive of the early monastic tradition, the first thousand years and a half. The second line is that unitive experience, which comes in baptism, and which I believe is the core also of the monastic vocation, even though it's not understood right away in that way. But all of life being pulled together. And why does somebody take up the monastic life? It's in order to pull their life together. It's in order, because they've experienced somehow, the unity of their person at some point. Because they've been touched by something at the center, the core of their person, and now they're impelled to pull it all together around that center, or to realize that essential, central touch, that substantial touch, as John of the Cross would say, which they've received,


which they've experienced. So how do you live that out? How do you develop that? How do you realize the seed of the unity of your person, and the transformation of your person, that you have experienced, say, in baptism, or at some other time, a time of vocation, let's say. So the monastic life is a logical way to do that for the early people. They didn't even have to think about it much, it was somehow instinctive that that was a thing to do. Whereas now we're much more reflective. And also, that kind of experience is a lot more obscure, or, what would you say, it doesn't... I don't know. Contemporary civilization, contemporary society is simply out of touch with it, our culture is out of touch with it. It doesn't seem possible to our culture. But once you've experienced that, then something like monasticism seems to be what you're looking for. You may end up in a Zen monastery, a Zen meditation hall, or going to India or something, or you may come to a monastery within the church.


Now, what I'm getting at, in part, is that business of the multiplicity of the vows, and the singleness of the profession. Because the profession, when you become a monk, in some way you're dedicating yourself to singleness, to unity. And so the multiplicity of the vows confuses that. And if you look at it from the point of view of poverty, chastity, and obedience, it's very hard to understand what it's about. Why am I committing myself to these three things? What does that mean? Because it's not really three things, it's one thing. And so, what we have to put the emphasis on is then the monastic profession. And the way that that relates to other unitive commitments, or unitive experiences, the basic one for the Christian being baptism. Think of John the Baptist also as the kind of archetype of monastic life. You know, the desert man, the wilderness man. Think of the wilderness, the desert, which is the archetypal place of monasticism, as being a place where you go somehow to find the depth dimension of things, which means


the unity of your own self, in the unity which is God, away from the multiplicity of the world, all of that. And even of human relationships in the early desert tradition. But that's a very tricky and dangerous area, of course. So I want to stress that unity of profession before we get lost into the details and the ramifications. If you look at the three vows in the Benedictine Rule that we just read, chapter 58, stability, conversion of life, and obedience, and try to make a logical structure out of them, you can get very frustrated. There's a certain logic about them. It's almost like stability holds you in the place where the change of life is going to occur, and obedience is almost the piston of the machine, a very crude image, which brings about this transformation. But that's a mechanical way of looking at it, and it's not real. Really, those are, you might say, three expressions of the same thing in some way.


They're kind of sequential, there's a certain structure to them, but basically they're talking about one thing. The further you get back into tradition, almost any tradition, the more words become synonyms for the same thing. The more you seem to be talking about one reality, when you're talking about deep things, and the words that float around that reality overlap and sometimes become identical. If you read St. Paul and read him talking about freedom or glory or grace or light or truth or salvation, those terms all tend to coalesce and then separate again and overlap and they're orbiting around the same center, which is the one great gift. And so it is especially in monastic tradition, which is dedicated to depth, to the same grace which is received in baptism in the New Testament, in Christianity, and which somehow is a comprehensive, unitive, all-inclusive grace, all-inclusive thing. So the monastic words tend to hover around that, covering and talking about the same


thing from one or another aspect. Or even in the Jewish tradition, when you talk about the body, you talk about soul, you talk about spirit, you're always talking about the human being, you're always talking about the whole organism, but just from three different aspects. So that's my pitch for the unity of the monastic commitment and the necessity of getting beyond the individual vows to understand what it's about. Any questions about that before we go on? I would like to look at the three vows. Stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience in a contemplative way. Can you give us an example of a mechanical way? Yes, okay. No, that's a very good question. From a contemplative point of view, I would like to think of the three vows as, once again related to unity, related to the one. Stability puts you in one place.


It avoids your breaking out and moving along a surface. It avoids what Merton calls distraction. It avoids spreading yourself thin in a multiplicity, by a kind of evasion, by what Father Robert sometimes calls the geographical. The geographical solution is to move somewhere else and do the same thing over again. To be stable, to root yourself in one place, is to put yourself, as it were, in the vessel, in the crucible of transformation, for this unit of transformation to take place. It's to accept, what would you call it, accept the particularity, the limited nature of human life, and commit yourself to the achievement of unity in that particularity, in one place. It's like marriage in that respect. So stability is like the vow of being faithful to a particular partner. And then from there on, everything else works on you. But the stability in a monastic life, the stability, the commitment to one place or


one community, is in function of this transformation into unity. It's incarnational in that sense. It's like an incarnation of that unitive grace and unitive invitation. The conversion of life is like moving out of a world of distraction and multiplicity into the world which is based upon, centered upon, and oriented towards unity. Now here I'm obviously biasing this definition because, in a sense, you asked me to look at it from a contemplative point of view. But for me, the contemplative point of view is the unitive point of view. So conversion of life is moving from a world in which there is no central meaning, a world which is fragmented and distracted, and which continually distracts you. The TV tube is kind of symbolic of that, in a sense, with the meaningless situation comedies and commercials and all that stuff. From that into a world in which everything is oriented around one center, and in which


you're undergoing a transformation into Christ, which is into the unitive reality. Remember we found that in St. Paul, that the situation before is a situation of fragmentation. You make this change, this conversion, this entering into Christ, the situation afterwards is a unitive situation in which you are participating in this one thing, which is the deepest thing of all, the central thing. You're part of it. The Eucharist expresses it. With this, we have to be careful that we don't over-accent the unitive thing at the expense of the reality of life. Because there's a moving in. There's a moving in to an utter simplicity, you might say. And then there's a branching out. Then there's a differentiation. A person does not go into a kind of unitive cocoon, but lives from the inner unitive reality out into a world which is still multiple. And to the extent of that person's, what you might call it, breadth and depth, he'll be able to relate to the multiplicity of life without becoming pulled apart. But before he has to enter into the unity, and that's what stability is about, and that's


what conversion of life is about. You can say obedience in the most elementary terms. Who was it, St. Augustine, who said that? No, it was one of the Desert Fathers. Which Desert Father was it? I think it was Arsenius. When he left people, when he left, it might have even been a group of monks, he said, Look, I can't stay with you because you have many wills, and God has one will. Okay? I can't stay among you because you have many wills, God has one will. So he wanted to go to the place of unity, which is the place of the single will of God. But the will of God, the single will of God, is much more than will in our sense, okay? It's like the baptismal place where he says, You are my beloved son, and I am well pleased. It's also the good pleasure of God. It's like moving away from the multiplicity of my desires into a singleness of will,


which is really a purity of heart, or singleness of heart, okay? Purity of heart is singleness of heart. Obedience is supposed to help me to renounce the multiplicity of desires, and the fragmentation of desires, reaching out in all directions, okay, towards the surface of life and the world, into the depths of my being, where somehow all the energy of desire can be contained around God. Now that's purity of heart, okay? Or you can say unity of will. In fact, Kierkegaard says that purity of heart is to will one thing, okay? But not as an object. At that point the will becomes something else, like this will of God we're talking about. It's not a will towards something. It has to do something, it has to have something. It's just pure being, just pure self, you might say, just pure spirit. That's purity of heart. It's the human person contained within itself as it were one centered flame,


burning in God, something like that, okay? So that's how I'd say it from the point of view of unity, you know, trying to say it in a contemplative way. All of these vows in some way are supposed to contain you, orient you, even pressure you towards this transformation into the unitive person, into the truth and the depth of your own being, okay, which is in God, which is a participation in God. You can say the same thing about poverty, chastity and obedience, you know, if you think about poverty and chastity. Chastity, it's elementary in a way, because instead of relating yourself to someone outside, as it were, in that two-ness, okay, there's an interior marriage of some kind, an interior union in which the person is fulfilled without the necessity of that complementarity, okay, without the necessity of fulfillment in another being who is the image of God and completes the image of God in me to relate directly to God


so that I participate in God. And the image of God, male and female, is somehow accomplished within me through participation in that God who contains within him male and female, or within it or her, as word and spirit, you know, that kind of thing. It may sound a little contrived, but there is a single point of view from which you can look at them all, and they all sort of orient you in the same direction towards this simple unity. But in the early tradition there isn't reflection like that, you see. You just have that unity which is an unspoken, unarticulated unity of the whole monastic thing, which is nearly instinctive. It's quite fascinating. But everything rotates around it. When we say that, of course, we're being, in a way, unjust to other elements of the life. We're being unjust to community, we're being unjust to all of the development of the human person that has to come outward instead of inward. So it's a one-sided presentation. We'd have to say those other things afterwards. Let's look at the Kamalvi's Constitutions.


This is number 143 through 147. And the chief one, the one we want to put the attention on, is 147. Number 143. At the conclusion of the novitiate, the master shall report on the readiness of the novice for profession. The prior of the community shall then propose for the consultative vote of the conventional chapter as admission to first profession as soon as the canonical requirements have been fulfilled. What they're thinking of there, I presume, is largely the 12-month novitiate that has to be fulfilled before the profession can be made. I didn't bring the Code of Canon Law. CJC is the Code of Canon Law. Codex Iuris Canonici. And those are the numbers of the canons. The same procedure shall later be followed for the solemn profession. Now, consultative vote for simple profession, that means that the community,


the solemnly professed monks gathered in chapter vote, but the prior makes the decision, having consulted them. Their vote is not definitive. It's not determinative of the outcome. But the prior could even override, let us say, a vote in a particular direction, which he's very unlikely to do, very unlikely to do, especially in a major issue like admitting somebody into the community. He doesn't want to have a discontented majority of the community. But strictly speaking, it's consultative. For solemn profession, the vote is deliberative, which means that if it's 51% for the person, then he's accepted no matter what the prior thinks. Okay, the prior cannot override a contrary vote with a deliberative vote. The first profession may be anticipated and so on. Those are more or less trivial things. 144. Luke, do you want to read that one? During the novitiate, the canon candidate continues to wear late clothes,


lest local customs determine otherwise. Do we require a rose during the churchful celebrations? On the day of profession, they also receive the monastic habit, made according to the traditional Kamaal police form, which they wear and then on. The prior general may make other dispositions for special motives, and for as long as these motives prevail. Okay, now we have a local custom here that people wear the habit or at least part of it during the novitiate. Now this is a change. I think this only came up after Vatican II, postponing the giving of the habit, because they wanted what? They wanted to accent the profession, you see. They wanted to give you the major sign, because remember, traditionally, taking the habit was the major sign of profession. So they wanted to bring that back and connect it directly with the profession right at the same time. But that's a tricky thing, especially since this is temporary profession. Later on, there's solemn profession.


You can't wait that long. So it's a compromise. It seems, especially in our culture, that the person needs some sign, some supportive sign of belonging to the community and having become a monk at an earlier point. And that's why we do it. Yes? Then also, in our ceremony, it's the time of the scholar... That's right. ...into the censure. That's right. And then also the conferral of the cowl. That's right. So there are a number of different elements there, and you can differentiate a little bit, but you don't want to make it too intricate. Over at Kamaldi, I think they still do wear white lace-clothing garments. Yes, I think they do. But they do wear, I think, a cape and a fire. Yes. 145. Before making temporary profession, now recedes the administration of all his goods, retaining ownership of them, freely disposing of their use and enjoyment.


Enjoyment. He has Snickers bars in accordance with CJC. A period of more intense spiritual preparation shall proceed as taking a vows. Okay, that's the retreat we're talking about. Now, this property business is very important. I'm not sure that it's quite clear in the translation. The point is that you don't give up possession, or you don't have to, until you make final vows, solemn vows. But you do have to give up the administration. Okay, that is, you can't be, as it were, playing the stock market during sepulchral profession. You can have somebody else do it for you, but they should really be doing it. They should be administering it, rather than you're doing. So what this means, freely disposing of their use and enjoyment, means giving up their use and enjoyment, okay, at this time. It doesn't mean that he freely enjoys and uses them during a simple profession. It means that he confers that, hands that over to somebody else. Lots of people just let go of whatever they have.


Some people do at this time. Other people hang on to things, but have somebody administer everything for them. If their things are simple, then it's no problem. If they're more complicated, somebody actually may have to be buying and selling assets or something, or administering some business or something for them. Any questions about that? So, after a simple profession, the person isn't supposed to really have a disposition and use and enjoyment of their own personal property, whatever that may be. Now, exceptions are made for small things, like books, or items of clothing, and socks. But major things really should be cleared up at that time. Yes, that's right. Now, somebody shouldn't have his own checking account. If he's got a savings account, somebody else can sign on to it, can take care of it for him. That's okay. But an active checking account, he shouldn't have at that time.


And then if you need a check, then you get permission to write a check. It's not in your possession. In other words, you don't have the free use to write a checking account. It would be only under permission. Presumably, it would be seldom, too. Okay, this is about temporary profession, on 146. If at the conclusion of his novitiate, the novice is judged to be sufficiently mature to embrace the commitments of religious vows, he makes temporary simple profession for a period of three years. His profession may be renewed for another three years, or even for another three years. So the maximum is nine years, okay? Minimum three years, maximum nine years. Temporary simple profession. Now, temporary is, the opposite of that is permanent, right? Or perpetual. The opposite of simple is solemn. The opposite of simple is solemn.


But simple and solemn are rather mysterious juridical terms. You know, it's not clear exactly what they mean, as far as rights and duties or anything like that are concerned. It's perfectly evident what temporary and permanent, or temporary and perpetual, mean. So those terms are, in a way, more useful. Nevertheless, we're often using the language solemn vows, which, for a monk, is like the solemn final consecration. Gregory, you want to read the first paragraph of 147? This one is a long, complicated one. Through baptism, a monk has already been consecrated to God. By monastic vows, he gathers even greater fruits from the grace of his baptism. He gives himself totally to God, whom he loves above all things, by means of a public vow made through the ministry of the Church. This vow constitutes a special consecration.


With his monastic profession, he is henceforth committed to free himself daily from whatever might turn him away from fervent charity and total self-giving to God. Let him remember that his consecration will approach perfection to the degree that he ties a monastic profession that binds him to the Lord. Like the unbreakable bond of union that exists between Christ and his bride, the Church are solid and stable. Notice that this paragraph moves between baptism and matrimony, doesn't it? That is the image of matrimony. And thinking, I suppose, of Ephesians 5, how Christ and his Church are united like man and woman. And the third sacrament involved, of course, is the Eucharist, because profession is made during the Eucharist, isn't it? And the profession document is put on the altar. So there's a very strong sacramentality about this whole thing. I think the baptismal connection


is the most important. They used to, in the Middle Ages, they used to talk about whether a sacrament of monastic profession should be instituted, but it never was. And they used to talk about monasticism as a second baptism. And the idea was that if you went to a monastery, that is, your sins were wiped out just as they had been during baptism. And a monastery was often a place where somebody would go when they had committed major public sins, and that would be assigned to them as a penance under a monastery. They'd stay there either temporarily or even permanently. So... Yep. That's the attitude of the community. Yeah. That's why they had to be able to use physical punishment. People got out alive. Have a ball and change. John, do you want to read the next paragraph?


It is the novice master's duty to direct the candidate's attention to what the commitments of monastic profession entail. He must remind them that the vow of chastity involves the practice of perfect confidence in the sullied state, that poverty means limitation and dependence in the use and possession of goods, in accordance with the constitutions, and that by the vow of obedience, the monk submits himself to his legitimate superiors, who are representatives of God, when they exercise authority in accordance with the rule and the constitutions. So that is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, that paragraph, as you say, and gives you the content, the basic content or definition of the three vows, notice, the three religious vows. So it's a little bit stepping out of the monastic context, but quite useful. Chastity, the vow of chastity, is presupposed within the monastic commitment,


and also for solemn vows, when you only make three vows, and so is poverty, where obedience is explicitly vowed in Benedictine profession. So we'll be talking about those details as well on this now. I think I'd like just one little comment I hate words like perfect. Perfect countenance. It's a good word for scruples. Also, as we go through this, I think it's real important to realize, because it can begin to sound like, oh God, I'm going to begin to do this, rather than realize, I think already you're living it. And I think one way to approach what we're doing here, is to hear what's going to be presented as a way of further owning what's already going on in my life.


And also to hear it as a challenge, too. I certainly need growth, that's why I hate words like perfect, because we continually grow, I believe, in the vow and in the conversion of life, which they're all about, and that unity that we're not there yet. But you're not going to just begin doing this November 19th. It's been going on in your life for a long time. And so I think it can be a source of real encouragement for you personally if we hear what's going to be said as, gee, I'm already living this. It's already happening in my life. I still need to grow, and I still need to be challenged, but it's already happening. The word perfect, it's got several problems. One problem is the problem of scrupulosity, that some people will perpetually be wondering whether they're in mortal sin or not, whether they're out of a state of grace because they've had impure thoughts or something like that. Another problem is the Pharisaic possibility there.


In other words, you can maintain perfect chastity by no overt sexual acts. That's perfect chastity. But is that perfect chastity? Jesus talks about the purity of the heart, doesn't he? He talks about something. In other words, what is perfect chastity? And is it attainable? What does it mean? It means obviously the minimum of refraining from sexual acts. But why use the word perfection for that? It could be misleading, because what's really involved is much more than that, isn't it? And it's something also that you can't start doing at a particular day. That is, you can't commit yourself after the day of perfection to perfect interior chastity. You can't. And a vow can only be made, can it not, to that which is external and can be verified. Whereas the interior reach,


the interior roots and implications of the vows are much deeper and can only be realized in the course of a lifetime, because these things search deeper and deeper as you go on, as you get older in the monastic life. So the word perfect can be awkward there too. It has several illusions that it can generate. I think I'm ridiculously saying that there are better people than psychologists that we have to speak with in talking about selflessly and chastity. Somebody can live a life and never have any kind of sexual involvement and not necessarily be living a selfless life at all, because humanly, there's a possibility in doing that that the person has never humanly grown in their own human potential. And so selflessly was more of something that constricted the human growth rather than allowing it. So it wasn't selflessly at all.


Some people can live a life of perfect repression, which shouldn't be mistaken for chastity. Okay, here's the profession formula, first in Latin and then in English. And then the newly professed signs at the bottom. So does the one who has received the profession and two witnesses who were chosen by the person who has professed. Witnesses, members of the community. In the name of God, amen. In the year of the Lord, on the day of the month, I promise for three years my stability, reformation of life, poverty, testing, and obedience. So the five vows. What you have here is the three Benedictine vows, and then the three religious vows, which the Code of Canon Law insists to be included also in monastic professions. They're here in this formula for a simple profession. They will not be in the formula for a solid profession,


where they're presupposed to be included in the other vows. According to the rule of our Holy Father Benedict in the Constitutions of the Commodities Order, in the Commodities Constitution of the Order of St. Benedict, namely in the community of New Commodity, Hermitage, before God and his saints, in the presence of the Reverend Father Robert Hale, prior of this Hermitage, in the presence of the brothers. Any questions about that? So the book will be passed to you at some point, so you can write out your formula. You have a whole page, but you can't draw any pictures, and footnotes and sly comments are not encouraged, unless they're in Latin. So it's obedience to the rule, not obedience to the prior. Well, it is implicitly. Let me see here. According to the rule. Not just to the rule, obedience according to the rule, which means obedience to the prior. You're not getting away with that. Okay, then, 148...


We don't care so much about that. I should have mentioned, the chapter that follows, chapter 58, in the Rule of St. Benedict, 59, the offering of sons by nobles or by the poor. And the emphasis in that one is all on making sure that the boy doesn't have any property waiting for him on the outside, so he'll jump the fence at some point. So the emphasis on poverty is very important for Benedict, in terms of the steadiness and totality of the person's commitment to the monastic life, everything should come through the Adam. Any questions about all that? I don't have a lot more to say this morning, because we're going to go in detail into each of the particular vows, particular aspects of the commitment as we go on. I encourage you to read that handout from Consider Your Call, and also to follow up the chapters in there.


I think we have two copies, I'll try to keep them both on the glass shelf. At some point I might want to Xerox more of that for you, because it's a very intelligent and contemporary considering of the profession and its commitments. The history of the monastic profession, I find myself always forgetting the details. I mentioned that development from virtually no preparation, no instruction, to an instruction afterwards, and then finally to a structured period of preparation, both testing and instruction, before the profession itself. So you have the year of Novitiate and the rule of St. Benedict, and that became standard for all the religious communities in the Church, all the religious orders. And then in 1917, you have a temporary profession becoming obligatory for all the orders, so everybody had to accept that,


insert that into their scheme, before there was this permanent profession. Then you had temporary profession, and a three-year period of temporary profession, minimum, before going on to solid profession. And I'm sure that the reason for that was the number of people who were leaving, apparently because they didn't have sufficient preparation, sufficient testing, sufficient time to consider and explore as to whether that was really their vocation. And they don't like to have people leave after solid profession. It wasn't their period, too, where, I don't know about monasticism, but certainly in some religious orders where there was two years of Novitiate. A canonical year, I mean. Yeah, like the Trappists. The Trappists had a second year of Novitiate, I believe. And some orders had a second year of Novitiate for everybody. I think that's still there. Even the Carmelites might have it, the Carmelite women, for instance. I'm not sure. They don't have a much shorter postulancy. Yeah. Whereas we have a year's postulancy.


Some monasteries have a six-month postulancy, something like that, because the postulancy is not legislated in the canon law, so the constitutions of your congregation or order can set that up as they wish. Yeah. A lot of ways the postulancy is like a first year of Novitiate. It is, yeah. It's much more strict than postulancies in any community. In lots of places, I suppose, the postulancy would be the person would just be in the community before he's really entered into the structured formation process. So it would be like a long observation. Okay. Okay, thank you. And next time then we'll consider that vow of conversatio moral. I'd recommend the section in the RB1980. In fact, there may be enough copies of that so that each of you could grab one during this class in the library. That would be handy. Or you can Xerox out that part for yourself. Let me give you the page numbers. The content of monastic professions from page 457 to 466.


And there's a long treatment of conversatio moral. With all of the scholarly debate and confusion you could ask for. From page 459 to... to 463. So you can make your own educated judgment on the meaning of the term. With the aid of Steitel and... Hoppenbrauers. You'll want to look into the work of Hoppenbrauers. No, but it's in German. Do we? They didn't start wondering about it all at all. About what, 1900? So they started sending their students to Rome for an education. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.