RB Chapter 54
06/December/2007 Filed in: Jottings
A timely reminder as we draw closer to Christmas! In chapter 54, as in chapter 33, Benedict makes it plain that monks and nuns are to have absolutely nothing of their own. Everything is to be held in common, and it is the superior's responsibility to ensure that excess and luxury do not creep in. But todays's section of the Rule adds an extra nuance. The monk/nun is not free to engage in the exchange of trifling things as a mark of special affection without the superior's agreement. That does not mean that there should be no affection, quite the reverse, Benedict wants our communities to be warm and loving; but there should never be any attempt to bind others to us by the use of material things. The superior is expected to bring a little clarity, a little objectivity into the situation. Being free for God does not mean being less loving to friends and family, but it does very often mean being a little strict with oneself.