Daily Reading of the Rule of St. Benedict – November 17

Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
that every table have two cooked dishes
on account of individual infirmities,
so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
may make his meal of the other
Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
let a third dish be added.

Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
If they are to have supper,
the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
to be given them at supper.

But if it happens that the work was heavier,
it shall lie within the Abbot’s discretion and power,
should it be expedient,
to add something to the fare.
Above all things, however,
over-indulgence must be avoided
and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
as over-indulgence
according to Our Lord’s words,
“See to it that your hearts be not burdened
with over-indulgence” (Luke 21:34).

Young boys
shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
but less;
and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.

Except the sick who are very weak,
let all abstain entirely
from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

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One Response to Daily Reading of the Rule of St. Benedict – November 17

  1. Trish+ says:

    Benedictine life is filled with “exceptions” that are for the good of those who are in greater need and those who are in lesser need . . . kindness and self-control says “let them have what they need”, a choice but never excess, and the best and most free choices are to be reserved for those in greatest need. Perhaps if we take in simply what we “need”, we might be freer from cravings, attachments, and control – having enough, simply. How do you know personally, when you have “enough” . . . and do you find that there is peace right there where the striving ceases to be?

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