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Cap. VII

[Ms P, fol. 57vPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 132r; Ms E1, fol. 62v; Ms E2, fol. 85v]

Ch. 7

Translated by: Matthew Ponesse

1Clamat nobis scriptum divina, fratres, dicens: Omnis, qui se exaltat, humiliabitur, et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur. [Lc 14:11]

1Brothers, Divine Scripture calls out to us, saying: Each one who exalts himself will be humbled; and one who humbles himself will be exalted. [Lc 14:11]

Tunc enim clamat scriptura, quando mentem admonet. Dicit autem Basilius: Clamare enim dicitur propter eos, quorum interior surdus et obduratus est auditus, sicut in evangelio legitur: Jesus autem clamabat. [cf. Regula Basilii, c. 130, CSEL 86, p. 160]

For scripture calls out when it counsels the mind. Indeed, Basil says: One is said to call out on account of those whose inner ear is deaf and unresponsive, just as we read in the Gospel: Then Jesus called out. [cf. Regula Basilii, c. 130, CSEL 86, p. 160]

Quid est, quod scriptum dicit: Omnis, qui se exaltat, humiliabitur, et qui se, humiliat, exaltabitur, cum multi humiles tam in seculo, quam in sancta ecclesia non efficiuntur exaltati, eo quod ante egrediuntur de praesenti seculo, quam fiant sublimati?

What does this passage mean: Each one who exalts himself will be humbled; and one who humbles himself will be exalted, when many humble people both in the secular world and in the holy church have not been exalted, because they leave the present life before they become elevated?

V. gr. sunt multi in sancta ecclesia humiles, qui non efficiuntur episcopi aut presbyteri et reliq., ut teneant regimen vel locum superiorem sanctae ecclesiae. Et similiter in seculo sunt multi pauperes, qui non efficiuntur divites, sed ante egrediuntur de praesenti vita. Et iterum sunt multi humiles propter Dominum in sancta ecclesia et fiunt inde episcopi, diaconi et tenentes regimen sanctae ecclesiae; et iterum videntur multi pauperes in saeculo, qui aut per parentes, aut per artem aliquam aut per ingenium efficiuntur divites et exaltati.

For instance, there are many humble people in the holy church, who are not made bishops or priests, etc, so that they might have governance or a higher place in the holy church. And similarly, there are many poor people in the world who are not made rich before they leave the present life. Moreover, there are many humble people in the holy church on account of the Lord who then become bishops, deacons and others holding governance over the holy church; and again there seem to be many poor in the world who are made rich and exalted either through their parents or through some skill or through natural ability.

Quamvis istorum pars in praesenti saeculo sit exaltata, tamen haec sententia ad futurum judicium tendit, in quo omnes humiles propter Dominum exaltabuntur et omnes superbi humiliabuntur. [page 208]

Although a portion of these may be exalted in the present age, nevertheless this verse is intended for the future judgment, at which time all humble people will be exalted on account of the Lord and all the proud will be humbled. [p. 208]

Sequitur: 2Cum haec ergo dicit, ostendit nobis, omnem exaltationem genus esse superbiae.

It follows: 2Therefore, when it says these things, it shows us that that every exaltation is a type of pride.

Ubi dicitur dicit, subaudiendum est: illa scriptura; et ubi dicitur haec, intelligendum est ista,1 quae subsequitur, i. e. Omnis, qui se exaltat, humiliabitur, et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur; ac si diceret: qualicumque modo se exaltaverit quis, ipsa exaltatio genus superbiae est in illo.

Where it says it says, we ought to understand: Scripture; and where it says these things, we ought to understand that which follows, that is Each one who exalts himself will be humbled; and one who humbles himself will be exalted, as if he were to say: in whichever way one might exalt himself, the exaltation is a type of pride in him.

Sequitur: 3Quod se propheta cavere indicat dicens.  

It follows: 3Against which the prophet shows himself to be on guard. 

  Quod, subaudiendum est: genus superbiae. Ait enim: Domine non est exaltatum cor meum, neque elati sunt oculi mei, neque ambulavi in magnis neque in mirabilibus super me. [Ps 130:1]

Which should be understood: a type of pride. For he [the Psalmist] says: O Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lifted up, nor have I walked in great matters or in marvelous things above me. [Ps 130:1]

Iste enim tantus propheta David bene intra acceptas ex divina largitate mensuras pedem cordis presserat, cum dicebat: neque ambulavi in magnis neque in mirabilibus super me.

For the great prophet David did well to tread with the feet of his heart among the gifts that he had received from the divine abundance, when he said: nor have I walked in great matters or in marvelous things above me.

Super se quippe in mirabilibus ambularet, si apparere magnus ultra quam poterat, quaereret. Super se namque in mirabilibus attollitur, qui et in his, ad quae non sufficit, videri conatur; item ille non ambulat in magnis super se, qui ea magna, quae super se sunt, i. e. ultra mensuram suam non cupit facere, et ille non ambulat in mirabilibus super se, qui miracula, quae supra se sunt, non desiderat agere.

Of course, one would be walking in marvelous things above himself if he were to seek to appear great beyond his abilities. One is brought to marvelous things above himself if he strives to be seen in those things in which he is not capable. Likewise, one does not walk in great matters above himself if he does not desire to do those great things that are above him, that is to say, beyond his ability, and one does not walk in marvelous things above himself if he does not desire to do the marvelous things that are above himself.

Sequitur: 4Sed quid? 

It follows: 4But what? 

Cum vero dicit: sed quid? subaudiendum est: fecisti.

When he says: but what? we should understand: but what have you done?

In hoc enim loco videtur Dominus interrogasse prophetam secundum sensum S. Benedicti, quasi diceret: 'O propheta! dixisti, te non exaltasse cor tuum nec habuisse oculos in altum elatos neque ambulasse in magnis supra mensuram tuam neque in mirabilibus similiter supra mensuram tuam; cum ista ergo omnia non fecisti, quid ergo fecisti?

For in this place the Lord seems to question the prophet according to the sense of Saint Benedict, as if he were to have said: 'O prophet! You said that you had not exalted your heart, that you did not have your eyes raised on high, and that you had not walked in great matters beyond your ability and or in marvelous things similiarly beyond your ability; therefore, since you did not do these things, what have you done?

Videtur nunc David Domino respondisse sub imprecatione, cum subjungit: 4Si non humililer sentiebam, sed exultavi animam meam, sicut ablactatum2 super matrem suam, ita retribues in animam meam. [cf. Ps 130:2]

Now it seems that David answered the Lord with a curse (see maledicto below, VII.4), when he added: 4If I have not disposed my mind with humility, but have exalted my soul just as a child is weaned upon his mother, you will thus punish my soul. [cf. Ps 130:2]

Vide modo, bene dixit super matrem suam; si enim non subjunxisset super matrem suam, non fecisset sibi imprecationem, quia puer, [page 209] si tempore suo ablactatus fuerit, adjuvabit illum ista ablactatio magis, quam nocebit. Et propterea subjunxit super matrem suam, quasi diceret: sicut periculosa est ablactatio parvulo, qui cum nondum potest vivere solido cibo, potatur a matre sua, si ablactatus fuerit, ita mihi sit periculosa separatio tua, si ista, quae superius dixi, feci.

See now, he [the Psalmist] did well to say upon his mother; for if he had not added upon his mother, he would not have cursed himself, because if a boy [page 209] is weaned in his own time, this weaning will help him more than it harms him. And for this reason he [the Psalmist] adds upon his mother, as if he were to say: just as weaning is dangerous for a small child who is nursed by his mother, since he would not yet able to live on solid food if he were weaned, so would your separation be dangerous to me if I had done those things that I said above.

Notum est omnibus, quia si tunc ablactatur puer, cum solidum cibum comedere non potest, moritur; ita et ego, si haec feci, quae dixi, pro dulcedine tuae beatitudinis mortis periculum incurram.

We should understand that a boy dies if he is weaned when he is not able to eat solid food. So also will I incur the danger of death instead of your blessed sweetness if I have done those things which I said.

Sunt enim multi libri, qui habent super matre sua per ablativum; sed hoc bene potest esse, eo quod ita intelligitur: quando enim puer legitime, i. e. quando comedere potest, ablactari debet, solet mater suas mamillas aliqua amaritudine ungere, quatenus, cum venerit puer pro dulcedine lactis, sumat amaritudinem et per hoc lac sugere desuescat; quasi diceret propheta Domino: 'Si haec, quae dixi, feci, sicut puer de matre sua sumit amaritudinem pro dulcedine lactis, ita et ego pro dulcedine tuae beatitudinis sumam amaritudinem.'

There are many books which have upon his mother in the ablative case [and not the accusative]; but this is able to be said rightly, because it is understood in such a way: when a boy ought to be weaned at the proper time, that is, when he is able to eat, his mother is accustomed to rub her breasts with a certain bitter ointment, so that when the boy comes for the sweetness of the milk, he tastes the bitterness and as a result lays aside the habit of sucking milk; as if the prophet were to say to the Lord: 'If I have done those things which I said, just as a boy tastes bitterness from his mother (de matre sua) in place of the sweetness of milk, so also will I taste bitterness instead of the sweetness of your blessedness.'

Sed videamus, qualiter S. Augustinus de hoc loco sentit; ait enim: Iste enim, qui dixit [omitted in Mittermüller, added CSEL 95.3: qui dixit: Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum. Vide alio loco sic offerentem: dicit Deo, Vide humilitatem meam et laborem meum, et dimitte omnia peccata mea. [Ps 24:18]. Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum neque in altum elati sunt oculi mei; neque ingressus sum in magnis neque in mirabilibus super me. [Ps 130:1] Hoc planius dicatur, et audiatur: Non fui superbus, nolui quasi in mirabilibus innotescere hominibus; nec quaesivi aliquid supra vires meas, unde me apud imperitos jactarem. Intendat caritas vestra, magna res commendatur.

But let us see what Augustine thinks about this passage; for he says: He who said: O Lord, my heart is not exalted. See this one [the Psalmist] providing the same expression in another place: He says to God, See my humility and my work, and forgive all my sins. [Ps 24:18] O Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lifted on high; nor do I enter in great matters nor in marvelous things above me. [Ps 130:1] This may be said more plainly and understood in the following way: I was not proud, I did not wish to be known as though I stood among extraordinary men; I did not seek anything beyond my abilities, whence I might exalt myself among the ignorant. May your charity reach forth, may your great purpose be entrusted to me.

Quomodo Simon ille magus in mirabilibus ingredi volebat super se, propterea plus illum delectavit potentia apostolorum quam justitia Christianorum, at ubi vidit per manus impositionem apostolorum et per orationes eorum Deum dare fidelibus spiritum sanctum, et quia tunc per miraculum demonstrabatur adventus spiritus sancti, ut linguis loquerentur, quas non didicerant, omnes super quos veniebat spiritus sanctus – nec ideo modo non datur spiritus sanctus, quia linguis non loquuntur qui credunt; ideo enim tunc oportebat ut linguis loquerentur, ut significarent omnes linguas Christo credituras; ubi impletum est quod significabatur, miraculum ablatum est – cum ergo hoc videret Simon, voluit talia facere, non talis esse, et nostis quia etiam pecunia putavit comparandum spiritum sanctum. Erat ergo de talibus qui in templum intrant ad emendum et vendendum: emere volebat quod vendere disponebat.

Just as Simon Magus desired to enter in marvelous things greater than himself, because the power of the apostles delighted him more than the justice of Christians, but when he saw that God gave to the faithful both healing through the hands of the apostles and the Holy Spirit through their prayers, and because the coming of the Holy Spirit was evidenced then through a miracle, so that all of those over whom the Holy Spirit had come spoke in tongues which they had not learnt, – the Holy Spirit is not imparted in this way now, because those who believe do not speak in tongues; for indeed it was then fitting that they speak in tongues so that they might signify that all tongues are to believe in Christ; but when that which was signified was fulfilled, the miracle was removed –, when therefore Simon saw this, he wished to perform such things, but not become such a person as the apostles, and you know that he even considered money comparable to the holy spirit. For this reason he was like those who entered into the temple for the purpose of buying and selling: he wished to buy that which he was disposed to sell.

Et vere, fratres mei, quia talis ille erat, et sic intraverat, adeo Dominus illos expulit de templo qui columbas vendebant; columbae autem spiritum sanctum significant. Volebat ergo Simon emere columbam et vendere columbam: accessit Dominus Jesus Christus, qui habitabat in Petro, et flagello resticulae expulit foras malum mercatorem. [Acts 8:18-23]

And truly, my brothers, because he was such a person and had entered in such a way, God thus expelled from the temple those who were selling doves; for doves signify the Holy Spirit. Simon wished to buy a dove and to sell a dove: the Lord Jesus Christ, who resided in Peter, approached and expelled the evil merchant with a whip of thin rope. [Acts 8:18-23]

Ergo sunt homines quos delectat miraculum facere, et ab eis qui profecerunt in ecclesia miraculum exiguntur; et ipsi qui quasi profecisse sibi videntur, talia volunt facere, et putant se ad Deum non pertinere, si non fecerint. Dominus autem Deus noster, qui novit quid cui tribuat, et ut servetur compago corporis in pace, alloquitur ecclesiam per Apostolum: Non potest dicere oculus manui, ‘Opus te non habeo,’ aut iterum caput pedibus, ‘Opus vobis non habeo.’ Si totum corpus oculus, ubi auditus? Si totum auditus, ubi odoratus? [1 Cor 12.21/17]

There are men who are facinated with performing miracles, and they are driven out by those who have accomplished miracles in the church. And those who pretend to have performed [miracles] for themselves and actually wish to do such things, think that they have nothing to do with God if they are not able to perform them. But the Lord our God, who knows that which he bestows on each person, addresses the church through the Apostle so that the structure of the body might be preserved in peace: The eye is not able to say to the hand, 'I do not consider you necessary,' or again the head to the feet, 'I do not consider you necessary.' If the eye is the whole body, where would be the hearing? If hearing is the whole body, where would be the smelling? [1 Cor 12.21/17]

Ergo in membris nostris videtis, fratres, quomodo singula officium suum habeant membra. Oculus videt, et non audit; auris audit, et non videt; manus operatur, nec audit nec videt; pes ambulat, nec audit nec videt nec facit quod manus. Sed in uno corpore si sit sanitas et non adversum se litigent membra, auris videt in oculo, oculus audit in aure, nec obici potest auri quod non videt, ut dicatur ei: ‘Nihil es, minor es; numquid videre et discernere colores potes, quod facit oculus?’ Respondet enim auris de pace corporis, et dicit: ‘Ibi sum ubi est oculus, in eo corpore sum; in me non video, in illo cum quo sum video.’ Ita cum auris dicit, ‘Oculus mihi videt’; oculus dicit, ‘Auris mihi audit’; oculi et aures dicunt: ‘Manus nobis operantur’; manus dicunt: ‘Oculi et aures nobis vident et audiunt’: oculi et aures et manus dicunt: ‘Pedes nobis ambulant’; omnia in uno corpore cum operantur, si sit ibi sanitas et concordent membra, gaudent et congaudent sibi.

Therefore, brothers, you see in our members how each has its own function. The eye sees, but does not hear; the ear hears, but does not see; the hand works, but neither hears nor sees; the foot walks, but neither hears nor sees nor does what the hand does. But if there is health in one body and the members do not quarrel against themselves, the ear sees in the eye, the eye hears in the ear, nor is one able to repudiate the ear with respect to that which it does not see, so that it might be said to it: 'You are nothing, you are less; can it be that you able to see and make out colors which the eye sees?' For the ear responds from the peace of the body, and says: “I am where the eye is, I am in this body; I do not see in me, I see in him with whom I am.' Thus when the ear says, “The eye sees for me'; the eye says, 'The ear hears for me'; the eyes and ears say: ''The hands work for us'; the hands say: 'The eyes and ears see and hear for us'; the eyes and ears and hands say: 'The feet walk for us'; all are in one body when they work, if they are healthy and the members are in agreement, and they rejoice and celebrate with one together.

Et si aliquid molestiae sit in aliquo membro, non se deserunt, sed compatiuntur sibi. Numquid, quia in corpore pes quasi longe videtur ab oculis – illi enim sunt locati in sublimitate, illi autem infra positi –, quando forte pes spinam calcaverit, deserunt oculi, et non, sicut videmus, totum corpus contrahitur, et sedet homo, curvatur spina dorsi, ut quaeratur spina quae haesit in planta? Omnia membra quidquid possunt faciunt, ut de infimo et exiguo loco spina quae inhaeserat educatur.

But if there is any trouble in any member, they do not abandon each other, but they suffer together. Can it be that, because the foot of the body seems far away from the eyes – for they are located on top, but the others are positioned below – when the foot happens to tread on a thorn, the eyes depart and not, as we see, the whole body is affected, and the man sits, the spine of his back is bent, so that he find the thorn which is stuck in his heel? All members do whatever they can to remove the stuck thorn from the lowest and meanest place.

Sic ergo, fratres, quisquis in corpore Christi non potest resuscitare mortuum, non illud quaerat, ne discordet in corpore, quomodo si auris quaerat videre, discordare potest. Nam quod non accepit, non potest facere. Sed si ei objectum fuerit et dictum: ‘Si justus esses, resuscitares mortuum, quomodo resuscitavit Petrus – in Christo enim majora videntur fecisse Apostoli, quam ipse Dominus. [cf. Io 14:12]

Therefore, brothers, anyone who is in the body of Christ and is not able to raise the dead, should not seek this out, lest there be disagreement in the body, just as if an ear strives to see, so there is able to be disagreement. For that which one does not receive, he is not able to do. But if he is rebuked and it is said to him, If you were just, you would raise the dead just like Peter, for the Apostles are seen to have done greater things in Christ than the Lord himself. [cf. Io 14:12].

Sed unde fieri potest ut plus valeant sarmenta, quam radix? Quomodo autem quasi majora videntur fecisse illi quam ille? Ad vocem Domini surrexerunt mortui, ad umbram transeuntis Petri surrexit mortuus. [cf. Act 5:15] Majus hoc videtur quam illud. Sed Christus facere sine Petro poterat, Petrus nisi in Christo non poterat, quia sine me, inquit, nihil potestis facere. [Io 15:5]

But whence is it able to happen that the shoots are more vigorous than the root? How indeed were they seen to have done greater things than he? The dead rose at the voice of the Lord, the dead man rose at the shadow of Peter as he passed by. [cf. Act 5:15] This seems a greater miracle than the other. But Christ was able to perform miracles without Peter, but Peter was not able to do so except in Christ, because without me, he says, you are able to do nothing. [Io 15:5].

– cum ergo hoc audierit homo qui proficit, quasi objectam calumniam ab ignaris paganis, ab hominibus nescientibus quid loquantur; in compage corporis Christi respondeat et dicat: ‘Qui dicis: Non es justus quia non facis miraculm? Posses et auri dicere: non es in corpore, quia non vides’. Faceres, inquit, et tu, sicut et Petrus fecit’. Sed Petrus et mihi fecit, quia in eo corpore sum in quo Petrus fecit; in illo quod potest possum, a quo divisus non sum; quod minus possum, compatitur mihi, et quod plus potest, congaudeo illi. Ipse Dominus, Dominus desuper clamavit pro corpore suo: Saule, Saule, quid me persequeris? [Act 9:4] Et ipsum nemo tangebat, sed pro corpore in terra laborante caput de coelo clamabat.

when therefore a man who accomplishes a miracle should hear this, as if an accusation cast forth by ignorant pagans or by men not knowing what they say, he should respond as a member of the body of Christ, and say: 'You who say: are you unjust if you do not perform a miracle? You are able to say to the ear: you are not in the body, because you do not see.' You should do, he says, just as Peter did'. But Peter did this for me, because I am in the same body in which Peter worked; in this I am able to do what he is able; I am not divided from him; for that which I am not able to do, he has compassion, and for that which he is more able to do, I rejoice. The Lord himself, the Lord called out from above out of concern for his body: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? [Act 9:4] And no one touched him, but the head called out from heaven for the body laboring on earth.

Si ergo, fratres, unusquisque quod potest juste egerit, et in eo quod alius plus potest non inviderit, sed congratulatus fuerit tanquam in uno corpore cum eo constitutus, pertinet ad eum vox ista Psalmi, Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum, neque in altum elati sunt oculi mei neque ingressus sum in magnis neque in mirabilibus super me. [Ps 130.1]

Therefore, brothers, if each one rightly does what he is able, and does not envy that which another is more able to do, but rejoices with him just he has been constituted with him in one body, the words of the Psalmist pertains to him, O Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes raised on high, nor do I enter in great matters, nor in marvelous things above me. [Ps. 130.1]

Quod enim excessit vires meas, ait, non quaesivi, non ibi me extendi, nolui ibi magnificari. Nam ista exaltatio de abundantia gratiarum quam sit timenda, ne quis de dono Dei superbiat, sed magis servet humilitatem, et faciat quod scriptum est: Quanto magnus es, tanto humilia te in omnibus, et coram Deo] invenies gratiam. [Sir 3:20] [Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 130, c. 4-7, CSEL 95.3, pp. 270-274]

For he says, I have not sought that which surpasses my abilities, I have not reached for this place, I have not wished to be magnified. For such exaltation concerning the abundance of graces ought to be feared, lest anyone show pride over the gift of God, but rather one should preserve humility more and do what is written: The greater you are, the more you should humble yourself in all things, and you will find grace in God's presence. [Sir 3:20] [Augustine, Ennarationes in Psalmos 130, 4-7, CSEL 95.3, pp. 270-274.

Sequitur: 4Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam meam, sicut qui ablactatus est a lacte super matre sua, sit retributio in animam meam. [Cf. Ps 130:2]

It follows: 4If I have not disposed myself with humility, but exalted my soul just as one who is weaned from the milk of his mother, may there be retribution for my soul. [Cf. Ps 130:2]

Videtis, eum velut maledicto se constrinxisse. Sic in alio psalmo dicit: Domine, Deus meus, si feci istud, si est iniquitas in manibus meis, si reddidi retribuentibus mihi mala, decidam merito ab inimicis meis inanis; persequatur inimicus animam meam et conculcet in terram vitam meam et gloriam meam in pulverem deducat. [Ps 7:4-6]

You see that he inhibited himself as if with a curse. Thus he says in another psalm: O Lord, my God, if I did this, if there is iniquity in my hands, if I returned evil to those who have repaid me, let me fall empty before my enemies; may the enemy pursue my soul and trample my life into the ground, and reduce my glory into the dust. [Ps 7:4-6]

Sic videtur et hic dixisse: Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam meam, quasi diceret: illud mihi contingat, quod ibi; quid? si reddidi retribuentibus mihi mala, i. e. decidam merito ab inimicis meis inanis.

Thus he seems to have said here: If I did not disposed myself humbly, but exalted my soul, as if he were to say: May this happen to me which happens there; what this? If I have returned evil to those who repaid me, that is, I will rightly fall empty before my enemies.

Sic et hic: Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam meam. Plures sententias interjectas Hildemarus praetermisit, [page 210] quemadmodum, qui ablactatus est a lacte super matre sua, sic retributio in animam meam. Et hoc notandum est, quia non dixit illic: Si reddidi facientibus mihi mala, sed: reddidi retribuentibus mihi mala.

It is the same here: If I did not dispose myself humbly, but I exalted my soul. Hildemar omits many interjected passages, [page 210], just as, one who is weaned from the milk of his mother, thus may there be retribution for my soul. It should be noted that he did not say in that place: If I returned evil to those who have done things for me, but: if I returned evil to those who have repaid me.

Qui enim retribuit, jam aliquid acceperat; majoris autem patientiae est, nec ei mala rependere, qui acceptis beneficiis reddit mala pro bonis, quam qui nullo ante accepto beneficio nocere voluisset.

For one who returns payment had received something beforehand; however, he shows more patience if he avoids repaying evil to one who has received kindness but who returns evil for good, than if he avoids repaying evil to one who wished to do harm without having received kindness beforehand.

Si ergo reddidi, inquit, retribuentibus mihi mala, i. e. si non te imitatus sum in patientia tua, qua pro me operatus es, hoc est, cum tu illis noluisti retribuere mala, qui acceptis beneficiis tuis tibi retribuerint mala pro bonis tuis, quae illis fecisti, et cetera.

Therefore, if, he says, I returned evil to one who has repaid me, that is, if I do not imitate you in your patience which you have shown me, or in other words, when you did not wish to repay evil to those who repaid you with evil in return for your goods, having received the kindness which you did for them, etc.

Sequitur: 5Unde, fratres, si summae humilitatis volumus culmen attingere et ad illam exaltationem coelestem, ad quam per praesentis vitae humilitatem ascenditur, volumus velociter pervenire, 6actibus nostris ascendentibus scala illa erigenda est, quae in somno Jacob apparuit, per quam ei descendentes et ascendentes Angeli monstrabantur. 7Non aliud sine dubio descensus ille et ascensus a nobis intelligitur, nisi exaltatione descendere et humililate ascendere. 8Scala vero ipsa erecta nostra est vita in saeculo, quae humiliato corde a Domino erigitur ad coelum, 9latera vero ejusdem scalae dicimus nostrum esse corpus et animam, in quae latera diversos gradus humilitatis vel disciplinae evocatio3 divina ascendendos inseruit.

It follows: 5Whence, brothers, if we wish to touch the height of greatest humility and come quickly to that heavenly exaltation to which one ascends through the humility of the present life, 6 we must raise the ladder that can be ascended by our acts, the same ladder that appeared in Jacob's dream, through which Angels were shown to him descending and ascending. 7Without a doubt, we understand this descent and ascent to be nothing other than a descent in exaltation and an ascent in humility. 8But this ladder is erected during our life in the world, which, if we humble our hearts, is raised by the Lord to heaven. 9We call our body and soul the sides of this same ladder, into which the divine vocation inserts the various rungs of humility and discipline that are to be ascended.

Istud enim unde superius respicit, i. e. ubi dicit: Omnis, qui se exaltat, humiliabitur, et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur.

In fact, he considers this image above, when he says: Each one who exalts himself will be humbled; and each one who humbles himself will be exalted.

Culmen, i. e. celsitudinem. Jacob intelligitur supplantator; supplantator proprio dicitur ille, qui cum alio luctatur et aliquod ingenium faciendo illi dejicit illum in terram, sive supplantare dicitur ab eo, quod sub plantas subjicitur; supplantare, i. e. sub plantis premere et se superponere, i, e. supplantare vitia atque superare. Item supplantator dicitur omnis, qui per aliquod ingenium vel fraudem decipit [page 211]

The height, that is, highest place. Jacob is understood as the supplanter…; one is rightly called a supplanter who wrestles with another and by peforming some trick casts him to the ground. Supplant is also said of that which is cast under the foot (sub plantas); to supplant, that is, to press under the foot and to place oneself on top, or in other words, to subject and overcome the vices. Likewise, each one is called a supplanter who deceives another through some trick or deception [page 211].

Alium Jacob enim propterea dicitur supplantator, quia duabus vicibus supplantavit fratrem suum. Prima vice illum supplantavit, cum illi lenticulam dedit et tulit primogenita sua; ideo fuit supplantatio, quia parvam rem et vilem dedit et tulit pretiosa, hoc est primogenita. Deinde supplantavit illum altera vice, cum subripuit illi benedictionem. Supplantavit etiam Angelum, quando contendendo superavit illum, et Angelus iterum supplantavit Jacob, quando tetigit femoris ejus nervum et fecit eum esse claudum.

Indeed, Jacob is called a supplantor because he supplanted his brother in two ways. He supplanted him first when he gave him a lentil and took his birthright. This was an act of supplanting because he gave him a small and paltry thing and took that which was of great value, namely, his birthright. Then he supplanted him in another way, when he snatched away his blessing. He even supplanted the Angel, when overcame him in a struggle, and the Angel supplanted Jacob, when he touched the nerve in his thigh and made him lame.

Iste Jacob, qui supplantavit fratrem suum auferendo illi benedictionem et ivit in terram alienam dimittens patrem et matrem suam, quique deinde, cum ivit in via, vidit in Bethel, jacens in nuda humo tenensque caput super lapidem, scalam stantem in terra et cacumen ejus pertingens usque ad coelum, tenet figuram monachorum, quia, sicut ille supplantavit fratrem suum, ita et monachus debet supplantare diabolum et saeculum. Et sicut Jacob exiit de terra nativitatis suae et ivit in terram alienam, ita et monachus debet derelinquere terram suam, i. e. omnia sua, et fieri pauper et peregrinus.

 Jacob -- who supplanted his brother by taking way his blessing and went into a foreign land after sending away his father and mother, and who then, when he was traveling on a road, laying down on the bare ground and resting his head on a rock, saw at Bethel a ladder erected on the ground with its top extending all the way to heaven – this Jacob symbolizes a monk, because, just as he supplanted his brother, so also ought a monk supplant the devil and the world. And just as Jacob left the land of his birth and journeyed into a foreign land, so also ought a monk abandon his own land, that is, all his things, and become a pauper and foreigner.

Vide modo, quia Jacob scalam vidit non in valle, sed in monte, h. e. in Bethel; Bethel namque interpretatur domus Dei. Nullus enim videtur sic intellexisse per istam scalam, sicut S. Benedictus, sed varie intelligitur. Nam alio modo per scalam intelligitur scriptura divina, et per angelos ascensores et descensores intelliguntur praedicatores sancti.

See now, that Jacob did not see the ladder in a valley, but on a mountain, that is, at Bethel. For Bethel means the house of God. Indeed, no one seems to have understood the meaning of the ladder in the way that Saint Benedict does, since others have understood it in various ways. In one way the ladder is interpreted as the divine scripture, and the ascending and descending angels as the holy preachers.

Tunc enim sancti ascendunt, quando de divinitate praedicant, sicut Joannes fecit dicendo: In principio erat verbum; [Io 1:1] et descendunt, cum de humanitate praedicant, cum idem Joannes dicit: Et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis. [Io 1:1] Sic enim dicit Dominus: Et videbitis coelos apertos et angelos Dei descendentes et ascendentes super filium hominis. [Io 1:51]

For saints ascend [the ladder] when they preach about the divinity, just as John did when he said: In the beginning was the word [Io 1:1]; and they descend when they preach about humanity, when the same John says: And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us. [Io 1:1] For the Lord thus says: And you will see the heavens open and the angels of God descending and ascending above the son of man. [Io 1:51]

Item per angelos ascendentes et descendentes intelliguntur sancti praedicatores, qui in sacra scriptura, ascendunt, cum in contemplatione Dei consistunt, et iterum descendunt, cum ad compassionem proximi flectuntur. S. vero Benedictus, sicut dixi, per scalam vitam praesentem intelligit.

Similiarly, the ascending and descending angels are understood to be holy preachers, who ascend in sacred scripture when they stand in contemplation of God, and they descend again when they bend down with compassion to their neighbor. But Saint Benedict, just as I have said, understood the ladder as the present life.

Sunt enim multi, qui hanc scalam [page 212] non habent erectam, qui aut pro necessitate sunt in monasterio, eo quod non habent, unde foris vivant, i. e. in saeculo, aut certe sunt multi, quibus gravis est disciplina et non habent ullum amorem Dei, et quia non possunt jejunare semper, ideo se fleuthomant (fleubothomant?) frequenter, ut meliorem cibum manducent et concedatur illis dormire et jacere. Et sunt alii, qui videntur quasi unum latus erectum habere, eo quod nimio desiderio cupiunt bona peragere, sed tamen corporis corruptione devicti non possunt ea agere, quae desiderant, sed gravati a carnis corruptione in delectatione carnis permanent.

For there are many who have not erected this ladder [page 212], who are in the monastery either out of necessity because they do not have what they need to live outside, that is, in the world, or many for whom discipline is painful and who do not have any love of God, and, because they are not always able to fast, they frequently engage in blood-letting, so that they might eat better food and that they might be allowed to sleep and lay down. There are also others who seem as though they have erected only one side [of the ladder], because they desire to do good with excessive longing, but nevertheless have been conquered by the corruption of the body and are thus not able to do those things which they desire, but weighed down by the corruption of the body they remain in the delight of the flesh.

Verumtamen non sunt desperandi illi, qui tantum unum latus ipsius scalae erectum habent, eo quod potens est Dominus, illos erigere ad coelum, ut duo latera erecta habeant, h. e. aut per flagellum aut per aliquem suae pietatis instinctum. Et item sunt alii, qui non solum animi affectione verum etiam corporis delectatione desiderant coelestia appetere; isti autem jam duo latera ipsius scalae erecta habent. Ideo dixi superius animae vel corporis latera pro affectionibus, cum homo quibusdam spiritalibus affectionibus erectis, tamen quibusdam adhuc carnalibus consentit, quasi unum latus erectum scalae, unum vero jacens habet. Ita dico consentit, quia tunc est malum, si consentit; si vero resistit, quasi in erigendo latus laborat; et tamen, quamquam nolit, quamdiu vivit, semper habet, cui malae suggestioni renitatur.

Nevertheless, those who have only erected one side of the ladder ought not despair, because the Lord can raise them to heaven so they are able to have two sides of ladder either through the lash or some inspiration of his piety. There are also others who desire to seek the heavenly realm not only with the love of the soul, but also of the body; these ones have erected two sides of this ladder. It was for this reason that I said above: sides erected out of affection for the soul and the body, since man consents to certain spiritual loves that he has erected, but nevertheless still consents to certain carnal loves. It is as though he erects one side of the ladder, but has the other laying on the ground. I say he consents in such a way, when he consents it is evil; but if he resists, he works as if in erecting a side of the ladder. Nevertheless, one who struggles against evil suggestions will always have them for as long as he lives, even though he does not wish to have them.

Ecce Jacob in somno vidit scalam; et bene in somno vidit scalam, quid, nisi dormisset, scalam in somnis non vidisset. Quid enim in hoc loco per somnum, sicut B. Gregorius dicit, nisi calcatis carnis desideriis quies vitae (h. e. quietudo vitae) figuratur?

Behold Jacob saw a ladder in his sleep; and he rightly saw a ladder in his sleep, because he would not have seen the ladder in his sleep unless he was sleeping. What indeed does Saint Gregory say about sleep in this place, except that it signifies the tranquility of life after carnal desires have been trampled under foot?

Aliquando enim somno [omitted in Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: mors carnis, aliquando torpor negligentiae, aliquando vero exprimitur, calcatis terrenis desideriis, quies vitae. Somni namque vel dormitionis nomine mors carnis, intimatur, sicut Paulus ait: Nolumus autem vos ignorare fratres de dormientibus. [1 Th 4:13] Et paulo post: Ita et Deus eos qui dormierunt per Jesum, adducet cum eo. [1 Th 4:14] Somno rursum torpor negligentiae designatur, sicut ab eodem Paulo dicitur: Hora est jam nos de somno surgere. [Rm 13:11] Et rursum: Evigilate, justi, et nolite peccare. [1 Cor 15:34]

For sometimes sleep expresses the death of the flesh, sometimes the numbness of negligence, and sometimes the tranquility of life after carnal desires have been trampled under foot. In fact, the death of the flesh is indicated by the name of sleep or rest, just as Paul says: We do not wish that you brothers be uninformed about those who are sleeping. [1 Th 4:13] Again sleep indicates the numbness of negligence, just as it is said by the same Paul: Now is the hour for you to rise from sleep. [Rm 13:11] And again: Wake up, just people, and do not sin. [1 Cor 15:34]

Somno quoque calcatis carnis desideriis quies vitae figuratur sicut sponsae voce in canticorum Cantico dicitur: Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat; [Ct 5:2] quia videlicet sancta mens quo se ab strepitu temporalis concupiscentiae comprimit, eo verius interna cognoscit; et tanto alacrius ad intima vigilat, quanto se ab exteriori inquietudine occultat. Quod bene per Jacob in itinere dormientem figuratur, qui ad caput lapidem posuit, et obdormivit: a terra scalam coelo inhaerentem, innixum scalae Dominum, ascendentes quoque et descendentes angelos vidit. [cf. Gn 28:11-13]

Sleep is also a sign for the tranquility of life after carnal desires have been trampled underfoot, just as is spoken by the voice of the bride in the Song of Songs: I sleep, and my heart keeps vigil; [Ct 5:2] , namely because the more the holy mind restrains itself from the din of temporal desire, the more truly it recognizes interior things; and the more eagerly it keeps watch for interior things, the more it conceals itself from external disturbances. This is signified rightly through Jacob when he is sleeping on a journey; he put his head on a stone and fell asleep: he saw a ladder touching the heaven from the earth below, the Lord standing on the ladder, and angels ascending and descending. [cf. Gn 28:11-13]

In itinere quippe dormire, est in hoc praesentis vitae transitu a rerum temporalium amore quiescere. In itinere dormire est in dierum labentium cursu ab appetitu visibilium mentis oculos claudere. Quos primis hominibus seductor aperuit, qui dixit: Scit enim Deus quod in quocunque die comederitis ex eo, aperientur oculi vestri. [Gn 3:5] Unde et paulo post subditur: Tulit de fructu illius, et comedit; deditque viro suo, qui comedit, et aperti sunt oculi amborum. [Gn 3:6-7]

Of course, sleeping on the journey is understood to mean resting from the love of temporal things on the journey of the present life. Sleeping on the journey also means to shut the eyes of the mind to the appetite of visible things in the course of passing days. Which things the seducer opened to the first humans, when he said: God knows that on whichever day you eat from it [the tree of knowledge], your eyes will be opened. [Gn 3:5] Whence it is supplied a little after: She took of its fruit and ate; and she gave it to her husband, who ate and the eyes of both were opened. [Gn 3:6-7]

Culpa quippe oculos concupiscentiae aperuit, quos innocentia clausos tenebat. Angelos vero ascendentes et descendentes cernere, est cives supernae patriae contemplari, vel quanto amore auctori suo super semetipsos inhaereant, vel quanta compassione charitatis nostris infirmitatibus condescendant.

Of course the offense opened the eyes of their desire, eyes which innocence had held closed. To see angels ascending and descending is to contemplate the citizens of the heavenly country. They either clung to their creator above by so much love, or they lowered themselves to our infirmities by so much charitable compassion.

Et notandum valde est quod ille dormiens angelos conspicit qui in lapide caput ponit; quia nimirum ipse ab exterioribus operibus cessans, interna penetrat, qui intenta mente quae principale est hominis, imitationem sui redemptoris observat. Caput quippe in lapide ponere est mente Christo inhaerere. Qui enim a praesentis vitae actione remoti sunt, sed ad superna nullo amore rapiuntur, dormire possunt, sed videre angelos nequeunt quia caput in lapide tenere contemnunt. Sunt namque nonnulli qui mundi quidem actiones fugiunt, sed nullis virtutibus exercentur. Hi nimirum torpore, non studio dormiunt; et idcirco interna non conspiciunt quia caput non in lapide sed in terra posuerunt.

It ought to be noted greatly that one who puts his head on a rock while he sleeps sees angels, because holding back excessively from external works, one penetrates interior things, and observes the likeness of his redeemer with an intent mind which is the overseer of men. Of course, to place one's head on a rock is to adhere to Christ with one's mind. For those who are removed from the business of the present life, but are carried off to heavenly things with no love, are able to sleep, but they are not able to see angels since they distain from holding their head on a rock. There are some who indeed flee the business of the world, but do not practice virtue. These ones sleep from excessive sluggishness, not out of zeal. And therefore, they do not gaze upon interior things, because they do not place their head on a rock, but rather in the ground.

Quibus plerumque contingit ut quanto securius ab externis actionibus cessant, tanto latius in se immundae cogitationis strepitum per otium congerant. Unde sub Judaeae specie per prophetam torpens otio anima defletur cum dicitur: Viderunt eam hostes et deriserunt sabbata ejus. [Lam 1:7]

It often happens to many that the more firmly they hold back from external actions, the more extensively they amass in themselves through leisure the din of unclean thought. Whence the soul, represented in the form of Judaea, was made lethargic through leisure, and mourned when it is said through the prophet: The enemy saw her and mocked her sabbaths. [Lam 1:7]

Praecepto etenim legis ab exteriori opere in sabbato cessatur. Hostes ergo sabbata videntes irrident, cum maligni spiritus ipsa vacationis otia ad cogitationes illicitas pertrahunt; ut unaquaeque anima quo remota ab externis actionibus Deo servire creditur, eo magis eorum tyrannidi illicita cogitando famuletur. Sancti autem viri quia a mundi operibus non torpore, sed virtute sopiuntur, laboriosius dormiunt quam vigilare potuerunt, quia in eo quod actiones hujus saeculi deserentes superant, robusto conflictu quotidie contra semetipsos pugnant, ne mens per negligentiam torpeat, ne subacta otio ad desideria immunda frigescat, ne in ipsis bonis desideriis plus justo inferveat, ne sub discretionis specie sibimet parcendo a perfectione languescat.

Indeed, by order of the law one refrains from external work on the sabbath. Therefore, the enemies seeing the sabbaths, mock them, since evil spirits lure the calm of leisure to evil thought. The more each soul is removed from external action the more it is believed to serve God. The more the soul thinks about illicit things, the more it becomes a servant to their tyranny. But holy men, because they are not lulled to sleep out of sluggishness on account of the works of the world, but rather slumber in virtue, these holy men sleep more laboriously than they were able to keep vigil, because by abandoning the acts of this world they are victorious. They fight against themselves daily in a powerful struggle lest the mind grow sluggish through negligence, lest subjugated by leisure the mind weaken in the face of unclean desires, lest the mind seeth in these good desires more than in justice, lest under a type of discretion the mind become languid by keeping itself from perfection.

Agit haec, et ab hujus mundi inquieta concupiscentia se penitus subtrahit, ac terrenarum actionum strepitum deserit, et per quietis studium virtutibus intenta, vigilans dormit. Neque enim ad contemplanda interna perducitur nisi ab his quae exterius implicant studiose subtrahatur. Hinc est enim quod per semetipsam Veritas dicit: Nemo potest duobus dominis servire. [Mt 6:24] Hinc Paulus ait: Nemo militans Deo, implicat se negotiis saecularibus, ut ei placeat,] cui se probavit. [2 Tim 2:4] [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, XXXI, ch. 54-55, CCSL 143, pp. 255-257]

The mind does these things and completely removes itself from the tumultuous desire of this world, and it abandons the din of wordly acts, and intent on the desire for quiet virtue, it sleeps in a vigilant state. For one is not led to the contemplation of interior things unless he is drawn away assiduously from those things which involve the worldly life. For this is what the Truth itself says: No one is able to serve two masters. [Mt 6:24] Here Paul says: No one fighting for God, involves himself in worldly business to satisfy the one who accepted him [2 Tim 2:4] [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, XXXI, ch. 54-55, CCSL 143, pp. 255-257]

Sequitur: 9diversos gradus humilitatis vel disciplinae. Disciplina enim attinet ad opera pietatis, veluti sunt timor, obedientia et reliq., quae per diversos gradus exercentur [page 213]; humilitas autem est in omnibus gradibus, quia nullum bonum potest placere Deo sine humilitate. Scientia etenim virtus est, humilitas vero custos virtutis. Quaelibet adsint opera, nulla sunt, nisi ex humilitate condiantur; miranda quippe actio cum elatione non elevat, sed gravat; qui enim sine humilitate virtutes congregat, in vento pulverem portat, unde aliquid ferre4 cernitur, inde deterius caecatur. [Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia 7, c. 4]

It follows: 9various steps of humility and discipline. Discipline concerns the works of piety, such as fear, obedience, etc, which are performed in various steps [page 213]; but there is humility in every step since no good is able to please God without humility. Indeed, knowledge is a virtue, but humility is the guard of virtue. Whatever works may be present, they are nothing unless they have been ornamented out of humility. Of course, a marvelous action does not rise up with exaltation, but it is weighed down. For one who accumulates virtues without humility, carries dust in the wind; when he is seen to produce something, then he is blinded worse. [Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia 7, c. 4]


[Ms P, fol. 59rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 135v; Ms E1, fol. 64v; Ms E2, fol. 87v]


Translated by: Matthew Ponesse

10Primus humilitatis gradus est, si timorem Dei sibi ante oculos semper ponens. Jam enim superius diximus, quid sit: Primus humilitatis gradus est, in quinto capitulo. [Regula Benedicti, c. 5.1] Nunc autem videndum est, quare dixit Dei? Ideo dixit Dei, quia est et timor aliorum. Timor quippe Dei in duas species dividitur, i. e. in timorem servilem et in timorem castum. Timor vero aliorum in multas species dividitur. Est enim timor ignis, timor aquae, timor febris, timor hominis, timor bestiarum et reliq. Videndum est nunc, quare dicit semper. Ideo dixit semper, quia cum imprimis habes causa fragilitatis humanae servilem timorem et deinde proficis in timorem castum, semper timorem Dei habes. Hoc et sciendum est, ut, cum timorem castum habueris, non desistas illum habere. Ideo dixi: causa fragilitatis humanae, quia homo semper timore casto debet Deum timere, non servili; sed fragilitate faciente humana non potest homo ad timorem castum pervenire, nisi per timorem servilem. Veluti ille, qui consuit calciamenta, prius mittit setam et postmodum linum; et setam excutit foras, linum inibi esse sinit; ita et homo, cum servire Deo incipit, prius a timore servili incipit et per timorem servilem pervenit ad castum.

10The First step of humility is for one to always puts the fear of God before his own eyes. Indeed, we indicated above what this is: The first step of humility is related in the fifth chapter. [Regula Benedicti, c. 5.1] But now we ought to understand why he said God. He said God because there is also fear of others. Of course fear of God is divided into two types, namely, servile fear and chaste fear. But fear of others is divided into many types. There is fear of fire, fear of water, fear of a fever, fear of people, fear of beasts, etc. Now we should see why he says always. He says always because when you first have servile fear on account of human frailty, and then progress to chaste fear, you always have fear of God. It should be known that when you have chaste fear, you do not cease to have it. It is for this reason that I said: on account of human frailty, because man ought to fear God always with chaste fear, not servile fear; but man, subject to human frailty, is not able to come to chaste fear except through servile fear. Just as one who stiches shoes first threads the bristle and later the linen thread; and afterwards removes the bristles, but allows the linen to remain therein; thus also man, when he begins to serve God, first begins from servile fear and comes through servile fear to caste fear.

Sequitur: Cum dicit oculos, subaudiendum est cordis, quia timor non est corporalis res, ut ante oculos corporeos ponatur, sed affectus vel affectio est mentis, ideo ante [page 214] oculos — cordis subaudiendum est — ponat. Cum dicit sibi, intelligitur: sibi ipsi.

It follows: When he says eyes, we must understand the eyes of the heart, because fear is not a corporeal thing that is placed before corporeal eyes, but a state or disposition of the mind; therefore [page 214] one should place this fear before the eyes – we are to understand – of the heart. When he says his own eyes, we understand, that very one who is embarking on the path of humility.

Sequitur: 10oblivionem praeceptorum Dei omnino fugiens, h. e. illud peccatum fugiat, quod oblivio est, cujus medicina est jugis meditatio, quia peccatum non est creatum aut factum, sed inventum; quasi diceret aliis verbis: non sit obliviosus. In hoc enim loco, cum dicit oblivionem, subaudiendum est: illarum rerum, quae ad memoriam revocari debent, i. e. timoris perpetuae poenae, gaudii coelestis patriae et laboris praesentis vitae. Porte dicit aliquis: 'Si perfectus est, quare debet ad memoriam revocare timorem perpetuae poenae?' Cui respondendum est: non ideo debet ad memoriam revocare perpetuam poenam, ut pro ejus timore Deo serviat, sed magis ac magis in laudibus Dei proficiat, cujus adjutorio meruit a supplicio aeterno liberari. Sicut sancti vident malos in tormentis, non ut exinde timeant, ne ibi cadant, sed ut magis gratias et laudes suo redemtori referant, sicut dicit papa Gregorius.5 Ita et sancti homines, quando ad timorem castum veniunt, possunt recordari et recordantur, sed tamen cum recordantur, non pro illo timore serviunt Deo, sed, qualis poena sit malis praeparata, recordantur, sicut faciebat Paulus. Ille enim, postquam fuit raptus ad coelum, dicebat, se blasphemum et persecutorem quondam fuisse, et reliq.; sed hoc cum dicebat, non causa timoris servilis dicebat, quia in eo perfecta caritas erat, quae foras mittit timorem, sed ideo dicebat, ut se manifestaret, qualis quondam impius et blasphemus fuerat, pro quibus meruerat ad inferna dimergi, nisi misericordia Dei adjutus esset. Et ubi dicit semper, subaudi: quamdiu ad castum timorem perveneris.

It follows: 10completely avoiding the state of forgetfulness when it comes to the precepts of God, that is, one should avoid the sin of forgetfulness, for which the remedy is constant meditation, because this sin is not created or made, but discovered. It is as though he were to say in other words: one should not be forgetful. Indeed, in this place, when he says forgetfulness, we must understand: forgetfulness of those things which ought to be recalled to memory, that is, fear of perpetual punishment, joy of the heavenly kingdom, and the work of the present life. Perhaps someone might say: 'If one is perfect, why must he recall to memory perpetual punishment? To whom you should respond: such a person ought not recall perpetual punishment to memory so that he might serve God out of fearfulness, but he should advance increasingly in praise of God, by whose help he merits to be liberated from eternal punishment. In a similar way the saints gaze upon evil ones in torment, not so that they might fear thereafter, but so that they might offer up to their redeemer more thanks and praise, just as Pope Gregory has said. So also holy people, when they come to chaste fear, are able to remember and do remember, but nevertheless, when they remember, they do not serve God out of fear, but they remember what sort of punishment has been prepared for evil ones, just as Paul did. For after he was seized for heaven's purpose, Paul said that he was once a blasphemer and persecutor, etc. But when he said this, he did not speak out of servile fear because a perfect charity was in him which expelled his fear, but he spoke in such a way that he might reveal how he was once wicked and a blasphemer, for which sins he had merited to be plunged into hell, had God's mercy not come to his aid. And when he says always, understand: for however long you pursue chaste fear.

Sequitur: 11et semper sit memor omnium, quae praecepit Deus. Cum enim dicit semper, voluit, ut tu sis semper memor; nam sunt multi, qui memores sunt mandatorum Dei per intervallum temporis et non semper. Et iterum [page 215] sunt alii, qui sunt memores, sed tamen non omnium praeceptorum Dei. B. vero Benedictus, quia voluit, ut tu perfectus esses, ideo dixit tibi semper. Nunc videndum est, quid praecipit Deus, ut ea semper in memoria habere possimus. Duo enim praecipit Dominus; aut enim praecipit, non negligere bonum, aut certe non facere malum. Et iterum haec praecepta Domini aut continent carmen aut vae aut certe lamentationes, sicut dicit Ezechiel: Et vidi, et ecce manus missa ad me, in qua erat involutus liber. [Ez 2:9] Expandit illum coram me, qui erat scriptus intus et foris, et scriptae in eo erant lamentationes, carmina et vae. Carmen enim attinet ad gaudium vitae aeternae, vae autem ad perpetuam poenam, lamentationes vero ad labores hujus praesentis vitae. B. vero Benedictus, quia cognovit, praecepta divina his tribus modis constare, i. e. carminibus, lamentationibus atque vae, ideo bis tribus modis praecepta divina distinxit.

It follows: 11and one should always be mindful of all the things that God has commanded. Indeed, when he says always, he desired that you should be always mindful; for there are many who are mindful of the commandments of God for a period of time but not always. And again [page 215] there are others who are mindful, but are not mindful of all the commandments of God. Therefore, since saint Benedict wished that you be perfect, he said to you always. Now let us see what God commands, so that we might always be able to retain these things in our memory. God, in fact, gives us two commands: he either orders us not to neglect the good, or at the very least he orders us not to do evil. Again, the canticles, lamentations, and woe contain these precepts of the Lord, just as Ezechiel says: And I looked, and behold a hand was placed over me, wherein a book was rolled up. [Ez 2:9]. He spread it before me, and it was written both inside and out; and there were written in it lamentations, and canticles, and woe. [Ez 2:10] The canticle pertains to the joy of eternal life, woe to eternal punishment, and lamentations to the works of the present life. Saint Benedict, because he understood that the divine commandments corresponded to these three categories, namely, canticles, lamentations, and woe, he twice distinguished the divine commandments in three ways.

In eo quod dixit: qualiter contemnentes Deum in gehennam pro peccatis incidant, manifestavit vae; et in hoc, quod dixit: et vitam aeternam, quae timentibus Deum praeparata est, animo suo semper evolvat, indicavit carmen; et iterum in hoc, quod dixit: 12custodiens se omni hora a peccatis et vitiis, declaravit lamentationes. Incidant, i. e. cadant; animo suo semper evolvat, i. e. in animo suo semper cogitet. Deinde quasi interrogasses S. Benedictum dicens; a quorum peccatis et vitiis? ille respondens dicit: i. e. 12cogitationum, linguae, oculorum, manuum, pedum vel voluntatis propriae, sed et desideria carnis amputare festinet. Quamvis peccatum et vitium videantur unum significare, tamen hoc modo possunt inter se differri: peccatum potest attinere ad non agere bonum, vitium autem potest attinere ad facere malum. In eo, quod dicit cogitationum, interiorem hominem admonet, ut sollicitus sit erga cogitationes perversas, et in eo., quod dixit linguae, oculorum, manuum vel pedum exteriorem hominem docet. Et cum subjunxit voluntatis propriae, iterum interiorem hominem admonet; et cum subsecutus est: sed et desideria carnis amputare festinet, iterum exteriorem hominem instruit, eo quod mos [page 216] est sanctorum praedicatorum, modo interiorem, modo exteriorem hominem docere.

When he said: how those condemning God fall into hell on account of sin, he manifests woe; when he said: one should always ponder in one's mind the eternal life, which has been prepared for those who fear God, he specifies the canticle; and again, when he said: 12guarding himself at every hour from sins and vices, he indicates the lamentations. To fall, that is, to descend. To ponder in one's mind, that is, to think over always in one's mind. Then, as if you were to have asked saint Benedict: from which sins and vices? he says in response: 12sins of thought, speech, sight, hands, feet, self-will, and one should also hasten to eradicate the desires of the flesh. Although sin and vice seem to indicate one thing, they are nevertheless able to be distinguished from each other in this way: sin is able to pertain to one who does not carry out good acts, but vice is able to pertain to one who does evil. When he says thoughts, he cautions the inner person to be guard against evil thoughts, and when he says speech, sight, hands and feet, he is teaching the outer person. And when he adds the self-will, again he cautions the inner person; and when it follows: but one should hasten to eradicate the desires of the flesh, again, he instructs the outer person, because it is the custom [page 216] of holy preachers sometimes to teach the inner person and sometimes to teach the outer person.

Infernus autem, ut Cassiodorus dicit, dictus est ab eo, quod illic animae jugiter inferantur, sive, ut quidam volunt, a parte inferiori. [cf. Cassiodorua, Expositio Psalmorum 9:17, CCSL 97, p. 203]

Hell (infernus), as Cassiodorus says, is named for that place where souls are constantly inflicted (inferantur), or, as others prefer, for the nether regions (parte inferiori). [cf. Cassiodorus, Expositio Psalmorum 9:17, CCSL 97, p. 203]

Sequitur: 13Aestimet se homo de coelis a Deo semper respici omni hora, et facta sua in omni loco ab aspectu divinitatis videri et ab angelis omni hora renuntiari. Quia admonuerat nunc exteriorem hominem, nunc interiorem hominem, ideo subjunxit: Aestimet se homo de coelis a Deo semper respici et reliqua, ut et hoc timore perterritus majori custodia (se) contineret. Aestimet, i. e. intelligat, cognoseat. Nunc videndum est, quomodo angeli opera nostra omni hora Deo nuntiant. Numquid omni hora angeli ascendunt et descendunt de coelis? Non ita intelligendum est, sed est sensus: Unusquisque homo habet angelum bonum et malum sibi deputatum, malum quippe a die nativitatis, bonum autem angelum secundum quorundam opinionem a die nativitatis, dicunt autem alii, a die baptismatis, nonnulli vero dicunt, a die discretionis boni et mali unumquemque hominem bonum angelum habere. Deus enim super omnia est et subtus omnia et circa omnia et infra omnia; angeli autem intra Deum currunt. Deinde cum unusquisque angelus bonus gaudet de nostris bonis vel tristatur de nostris malis,6 ipsum gaudium quia notum est Deo, vel ipsa tristitia quia cognita est Deo, ipsius gaudii vel tristitiae notitia dicitur: Deo ab angelis nostra facta nuntiari.

It follows: 13One should consider that at every hour he is always watched by God, and that in every place his deeds are seen by the gaze of divinity and at every hour reported by the angels. Because he [Benedict] sometimes had counsels the outer man, and sometimes the inner man, he thus adds: One should consider that at every hour he is always watched by God etc, so that thoroughly frightened by this fear he might protect himself with greater defense. Now we should see how the angels announce our works to God at every hour. Can it be that angels ascend and descend from heaven at every hour? This must not be understood in such a way, but rather in this sense: Each man has a good angel and an evil angel assigned to himself, the evil angel, of course, from the day of his birth, but the good angel according to varying opinion. Some say that each human receives a good angel from the day of his birth, others say from the day of baptism, and still others from the day when one learns the difference between good and evil. For God is above all, below all, around all and underneath all; but angels run within God. Thus, when each good angel rejoices in our good works or is saddened by our evil deeds, this joy and saddness, because they are known to God, is called an announcement of the angel's joy or saddness: our deeds are announced to God by the angels.

Sequitur: 14Demonstrat nobis hoc Propheta, cum in cogitationibus nostris ita Deum semper praesentem ostendit dicens. Cum dicit demonstrat hoc, subaudiendum est, quod superius [page 217] dixit: eo quod semper homo a Deo respicitur. Cum dicit ita, quasi diceret: sic Deum praesentem ostendit, sicut superius dixit, ac si diceret: Si Deus semper praesens est in cogitationibus, ergo opera nostra in omni loco et in omni hora semper aspicit.

It follows: 14The prophet indicates this to us when he reveals that God is thus always present in our thoughts, saying … etc. When he [Benedict] says indicates this, we should understand what he said above: [page 217] that man is always watched by God. When he says therefore, it is as though he were to say: he reveals that God is thus present just as he said above. Or as though he were to say: If God is always present in our thoughts, he thus always gazes at our works in each place and at every hour.

Sequitur: 14scrutans corda et renes Deus. Scrutans, i. e. intelligens vel inquirens; per corda enim intelligunitur cogitationes, per renes autem intelliguntur ipsae rimae cogitationum, h. e. ipsum initium vel intentio, unde cogitationes oriuntur.

It follows: 14God, examining our hearts and kidneys. Examining, that is, understanding or seeking. For hearts we are to understand thoughts, for kidneys we are to understand the fissures of these thoughts, that is, the beginning or intention, from which the thoughts arise.

Sequitur: 15Et iterum: Dominus novit cogitationes hominum. [Ps 93:11] Ideo enim B. Benedictus voluit subjungere, sicut propheta subjungit, quia voluit bonas et malas cogitationes intelligi; nam propheta subjungit: quoniam vanae sunt, eo quod de vanis cogitationibus dicit. In hoc loco videtur quaestio esse: quid est, quod propheta dicit: Dominus novit cogitationes hominum, quoniam vanae sunt? Numquid solummodo homo cogitationes habet malas et non bonas? Quid est, cum bona meditatur, cum Deo placere cogitat? numquid non est bona cogitatio? Vere hoc est bona cogitatio. Sed propheta dixit: hominum, quoniam vanae sunt, quasi diceret: quantum ad homines attinet, vanae sunt, quia et hominum sunt; nam quantum ad Deum attinent, bonae sunt, quia ex Deo sunt, quoniam homo nil boni habet a se, sed si aliquid boni habet, a Deo habet. Et iterum quaeri potest; si homo a se habet malas cogitationes, numquid diabolus non suggeret homini malas cogitationes?

It follows: 15And again: the Lord knows the thoughts of men. [Ps 93:11] St. Benedict wished to add this verse for the same reason as the prophet, because he wished us to know that there are good and evil thoughts. For the prophet adds: that they are vain, because he speaks about vain thoughts. There seems to be a question in this place: What does the prophet mean when he says: The Lord knows the thoughts of men, that they are vain? Can it be that man only has evil thoughts but not good thoughts? What happens when he considers good things, when he thinks to please God? Is this not a good thought? Yes, this is a good thought. But the prophet said: the thoughts of men, that they are vain, as though he were to say: as much as they pertain to men, they are vain, because they are of men; but as much as they pertain to God, they are good, because they are of God, since man has nothing of good by himself, but if he has something of good, he has it from God. And again it can be asked; if man has evil thoughts from himself, can it be that the devil does not suggest these evil thoughts to man?

Dicit enim papa Gregorius: Tribus enim modis peccatum perpetratur: suggestione, delectatione atque consensu. Suggestio fit a diabolo, caro delectatur, spiritus consentit. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob I, XXVII, c. 49, CCSL 143, p. 193] Verum est, quia homo malas cogitationes a se habet, et verum est, quia suggestio, sicut Gregorius dicit, a diabolo fit; nam aliquaudo cogitat homo nullum a se, sicut dicit Jacob apostolus; ait enim: Unusquisqne vero tentatur a concupiscentia [page 218] sua abstracius etillectus; abstractus a recto itinere et illectus in malum. Deinde cum diabolus ipsam malam cogitationem intelligit, subministrat ei illam cogitationem et subministrando adauget atque amplificat, ac per hoc efficitur ipsa cogitatio et hominis et diaboli, hominis per principium, diaboli per subministrationem. Et hoc sciendum est: quia dixi, cognoscere diabolum cogitationem hominis, non aliter cognoscit, nisi per signa, sicut in collationibus patrum legitur. Item aliquando, antequam homo incipiat malum cogitare, suggerit ei diabolus, et cum homo illius diaboli cogitationem suscipit, efficitur ipsa cogitatio diaboli et hominis, diaboli per suggestionem, hominis vero per susceptionem. Et cum ita fit, contingit, ipsam malam cogitationem esse hominis et diaboli, et iterum esse diaboli et hominis. [cf. Cassian, Collationes VIII, c. 15, SC 42, pp. 258-259]

For Pope Gregory says: Sin is committed in three ways: through suggestion, pleasure, and consent. Suggestion comes from the devil, the flesh is enticed by pleasure, and the spirit gives consent. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob I, XXVII, c. 49, CCSL 143, p. 193] It is true that man possesses evil thoughts by himself, and it is also true that suggestion comes about from the devil, just as Gregory says; for sometimes man considers nothing by himself, just as the apostle James says: Each one is tempted by his desire, having been drawn away and enticed. [Iac 1:14]; having been drawn away from the right path and enticed into evil. When the devil perceives this particular evil thought, he conveys the evil thought to him and in doing so he augments it and magnifies it. Through this the thought is brought about both by man and the devil: by man at the beginning, and by the devil though his assistance. And this should be understood: since I said that the devil recognizes the thoughts of men, he does not recognize them in any other way except through signs, just as it is read in the conferences of the fathers. Likewise, sometimes the devil suggests evil to man before he begins to think evil, and when man receives the devil's thought, this thought is brought about from the devil and man: the devil through suggestion, and man through reception. And when it is brought about in such a way, it happens that this evil thought is of man and the devil, and it is also of the devil and man. [cf. Cassian, Collationes VIII, c. 15, SC 42, pp. 258-259]

Sequitur: 16Intellexisti cogitationes meas a longe. [Ps 138:3] A longe, antequam veniant aut unde veniant, Dominus intelligit. Bene dicit a longo, quia Dominus non solum cognoscit cogitationes hominum, cum adsunt, sed et antequam in homine nascantur, et unde veniant, cognoscit.

It follows: 16You understood my thoughts from afar. [Ps 138:3] From afar, that is, the Lord knows our thoughts before they come or whence they come. Rightly he says from afar, because the Lord not only knows the thoughts of men when they are present, but also before they are born in men, and whence they come.

Sequitur: 17Et: quia cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi. [Ps 75:11] Quid est, quod dicit: cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi? Numquid cogitatio loquendo confitetur Deo? Non, sed quia cogitatio nota est Deo, ipsa notitia dicitur, confiteri Deo.


It follows: 17And: because the thoughts of man will confess to you. [Ps 75:11] What does he mean when he says: the thoughts of man will confess to you? Can it be that thought is confessed to God through speech? No, but because our thought is noted by God, this notice is said to be confessed to God.

Sequitur: 18Nam ut sollicitus sit circa cogitationes suas perversas, dicat semper utilis frater in corde suo: Tunc ero immaculatus coram eo, si observavero me ab iniquitate mea. [Ps 18.14] Cum dicit: ut sollicitus sit circa cogitationes, subaudiendum est: ut non exeat7 in deliberationem. Nunc videndum est, quid sit, quod dicit immaculatus? Homo enim in hac praesenti vita, sicut dixit B. Augustinus, non potest esse immaculatus, nisi forte in fine. Ideo dixit in fine, quia aut tribulatione aut infirmitate solet purgari. Et est sensus, cum dicit: si observavero me ab iniquitate mea, i. e. ab hac mala cogitatione mea, si poenitendo illam extinxero et [page 219] non dimisero illam exire in deliberationem, h. e. in consensum, tunc ero immaculatus coram eo, i. e. in fine vitae meae, ut, quia in praesenti vita pro fragilitate mea immaculatus esse nequeo, ero flendo et poenitendo in fine vitae meae, quando immaculatus inveniri debeo.


It follows: 18Therefore, in order that he may be careful about his own evil thoughts, let the practical brother always say in his heart: Then I shall be without blemish in his sight, if I keep myself from my iniquity. [Ps 18.14] When he says: in order that he may be careful about his own evil thoughts, we should understand: so that he might not proceed into deliberation. Now we should see what it means when he says without blemish. For man is not able to be unblemished in this present life, just as St Augustine said, except perhaps at the end. He said at the end, because one is accustomed to be purged either in distress or infirmity. This is the sense when he says: if I keep myself from my iniquity, that is, from my evil thought, if by repenting I quench it and [page 219] I do not permit myself to go into deliberation, that is, into consent, then I will be without blemish in his sight, that is, at the end of my life. Because I am not able to be without blemish in this present life on account of my frailty, I will be without blemish when I weep and repent at the end of my life, the time when I ought to be found unblemished.

Sequitur: 19Voluntatem proprium facere ita prohibemur, cum dicit scriptura nobis: Et a voluntatibus tuis avertere. [cf. Sir 18:30] Voluntas enim in hoc loco de mala et de bona potest intelligi. Et pulchre dicit, voluntatibus nostris non obedire, quia sunt viae, quae videntur rectae, quarum finis usque ad inferna demergit. Has vias cavebat ille intrare, qui dicebat: Cogitavi vias meas; [Ps 118:59] nam cogitare debet homo prius vias suas et postmodum peragere. Nam qualiter haec sententia intelligi debeat, B. Ambrosius exponit in tractatu suo, quem de Beati immaculati scripsit. [cf. Ambrose, Expositio in Psalmos, sermo 8, CSEL 64, p. ?]

It follows: 19We are thus forbidden to do our own will when scripture says to us: Turn away from your own will. [cf. Sir 18:30] In this place we are able to understand that the will concerns both good and evil deeds. And he says excellently that we are not to obey our own will, because there are paths which seem to be straight, but the ends of which plunge all the way to hell. He is wary to enter on these paths, who says: I have kept thought on my paths [Ps 118:59], for man ought to keep thought on his paths and then after traverse them. St Ambrose explains how this verse should be understood in the treatise which he wrote about the Holy Unblemished. [cf. Ambrose, Expositio in Psalmos, sermo 8, CSEL 63, p. ?]

Sequitur: 20Et item rogamus Deum in oratione, ut fiat voluntas illius in nobis. Cum dicit fiat voluntas illius in nobis, subaudiendum est: non nostra. Sicut enim dicit B. Augustinus, nil fixum orandum est praeter vitam aeternam. [cf. Augustine, In Iohannis evangelium tractatus XXXI, c. 5, CCSL 36, p. 296]

It follows: 20And likewise, we ask God in prayer that his will be done in us. When he says that his will be done in us, we should understand: not our own will. For just as St Augustine says: We ought to pray for nothing fixed except eternal life. [cf. Augustine, In Iohannis evangelium tractatus XXXI, c. 5, CCSL 36, p. 296]

Sequitur: 21Docemur ergo merito, nostram non facere voluntatem, cum cavemus illud, quod dicit sacra scriptura: Sunt viae, quae putantur ab hominibus rectae, quarum finis usque ad profundam inferni demergit. [cf. Prv 6:254] Merito, i. e. recte, rite, rationabiliter. Item: sunt viae, quae putantur ab hominibus rectae. Haec vero sententia duobus modis potest intelligi. Uno modo cum vitium sub specie latet virtutis, veluti exponit B. Gregorius in ultima parte moralium, ubi de fistula aeris diligentissime cognoscitur tractare, et caetera innumerabilia his similia. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob XXXII, XXI, c. 40, CCSL 143B, p. 165] Altero enim modo etiam intelligitur, cum mediocre bonum pro bono, et bonum pro meliore et melior pro optimo eligitur. In isto enim secundo sensu solent, homines simplices errate; sed sciendum est, quia majus habet periculum ille primus sensus, quam iste secundus. Iterum videndum est, quid sit hoc, quod dixit: sunt viae, quae videntur rectae. De bonis voluntatibus [page 220] potest intelligi, scilicet ut nil debeat monachus secundum suam facere definitionem; verbi gratia, si jejunare vult monachus, ut non bibat de vino, nisi per intervallum temporis, aut vult jejunare biduanam aut tale jejunium peragere, quod notabile est, h. e. manifestum; de isto jejunio jam superius in prologo, ubi de propriis voluntatibus diximus, satis docuimus [cf. Regula Benedicti, prologue.3]. Deinde si infirmus fuerit et dixerint ei spiritales fratres, propter suam infirmitatem manducare illum cibum, unde ille non habet consuetudinem manducandi, non debet in sua voluntate, sicut dixi, persistere, sed acquiescere spiritalium fratrum consiliis, quia illi ei non dabunt malum consilium, excepto forte, si falluntur, quia homines sunt.

It follows: 21Therefore, we are rightly taught not to do our own will, when we beware what sacred scripture says: There are paths which men consider to be straight, the end of which plunge all the way to the depths of hell. [cf. Prv 6:254] Rightly, that is, correctly, accordingly, reasonably. Likewise: there are paths which men consider to be straight. Indeed, this verse is able to be understood in two ways. The first way, when vice hides under the form of virtue, just as St Gregory explains in the final part of his Moralia, where he is seen to discuss most carefully the pipes of brass, and countless other similar things. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob XXXII, XXI, c. 40, CCSL 143B, p. 165] The other way is understood when a lesser good is chosen instead of a good, and a good is chosen instead of a better good, and a better good is chosen instead of the best good. Simple men are accustomed to err in this second sense; but it ought to be understood that the danger in the first sense is greater than the second. Again, we should see what he means when he said: there are paths which seem straight. This is able to be understood about the good will, namely, that a monk should do nothing according to his own stipulations; for example, if a monk wishes to fast so as not to drink wine except for a period of time, or wishes to fast for two days, or proceed with such a fast that is made known to others, that is to say, conspicuous. We provided adequate teaching about such a fast in the prologue above, where we spoke about the self-will. [cf. Regula Benedicti, prologue 3] If one is infirm and the spiritual brothers tell him to eat food on account of his infirmity, at which point he is not in the habit of eating, he ought not persist in his own will, just as I said, but rather submit to the counsel of his spiritual brothers, because they will not give to him evil counsel, unless perhaps they are mistaken, because they are men.

Sequitur: 22et cum pavemus8 illud, quod de negligentibus dictum est: Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt in voluptatibus suis. [Ps 52:2] Hoc vero, quod dicit Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt, de malis voluptatibus dicit, i. e. quae ad vitia attinent. Cum enim dicit Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt, quasi diceret: abominabiles facti sunt de corruptione sive in deliberatione, sive in operibus. Postquam corruptus fuerit de bono in malum, abominabilis fit Deo.

It follows: 22and when we fear what is said about the careless: They are corrupt and are made abominable in their own will. [Ps 52:2] But that which he says They are corrupt and are made abominable in their own will, concerns the evil will, that is, those thoughts which pertain to the vices. For when he says They are corrupt and are made abominable in their own will it is as if he were to say: they are made abominable out of corruption, or in deliberation, or in works. After one is corrupted from the good and into evil, he becomes abominable to God.

Sequitur: 23In desideriis vero carnis ita nobis Deum credamus semper esse praesentem, cum dicit propheta Domino: Ante te omne desiderium meum. [Ps 37:10] Quamvis B. Augustinus de bono intelligat desiderio prophetam dixisse, tamen S. Benedictus de bono et malo dicit desiderio.

It follows: 23As to the desires of the flesh let us believe that God is always present to us, when the prophet says to the Lord: My every desire is before you. [Ps 37:10] Although St Augustine understands the prophet to speak about good desires, St Benedict nevertheless speaks about both good and bad desires.

Sequitur: 24Cavendum est ergo ideo malum desiderium, quia mors secus introitum delectationis posita est, 25unde scriptura praecipit dicens: Post concupiscentias tuas non eas. [Sir 18:30] Cavendum, i. e. vitandum, fugiendum; secus, i. e. juxta; post concupiscentias tuas non eas, i. e. concupiscentias tuas in deliberationem ne sinas exire. Sciendum est, quia non dixit: secus delectationem posita est mors, sed secus introitum delectationis, eo quod mors, i. e. mortale peccatum [page 221] non adhuc in delectatione est, sicut dicit Augustinus, quia delectatio valde cito deletur, nisi ad consensum pervenerit. Unde etiam animadvertendum est, quia non dicit, secus delectationem positam esse mortem, sed secus introitum delectationis, i. e. juxta introitum delectationis malae, h. e. juxta ingressam delectationem, quia juxta delectationem est consensus. Et pulchre dicit juxta introitum delectationis, quia, si usque ad consensum pervenerit, qui juxta introitum delectationis positus est, illa concupiscentia, tunc est mors, i. e. tunc perfecte moritur homo morte animae, sicut dicit papa Gregorius: Tribus modis impletur omne peccatum, videlicet suggestione, delectatione, consensu.

It follows: 24Therefore we must be on guard against evil desires, since death has been placed beside the entrance of pleasure, 25about which scripture commands, saying: Do not go after your own desires. [Sir 18:30] To be on guard, that is, to avoid or to flee; beside, that is, near; Do not go after your own desires, that is, do not allow your desires to go into deliberation. One should know that he did not say: death is placed beside pleasure, but rather beside the entrance of pleasure, because death, that is, mortal sin [page 221] is not yet in pleasure, just as Augustine says, because pleasure is very quickly destroyed unless it receives consent. One should also observe that he did not say death is placed beside pleasure, but rather beside the entrance of pleasure, that is, next to the entrance of evil delight, or pleasure once undertaken, because agreement is next to pleasure. And he says this excellently, because if one who one placed near the entrance of pleasure comes all the way to consent, it is first desire, and then death. In other words, man then perishes completely in the death of the soul, just as Pope Gregory says: each sin is committed in three ways: through suggestion, pleasure, and consent.

Suggestio quippe fit per diabolum, delectatio per carnem, consensus per spiritum. Quia enim in prima culpa serpens suggessit, Eva velut caro delectata est, Adam velut spiritus consensit. Cum enim malignus spiritus peccatum suggerit in mentem, si nulla peccati delectatio sequatur, omnino peccatum non est perpetratum; cum vero caro delectari coeperit, tunc peccatum nasci incipit; si autem etiam ad consensionem es deliberatione consentit, tunc peccatum cognoscitur perfici. In suggestione igitur peccati semen est, in delectatione fit nutrimentum, in consensu perfectio. [Gregory, Registrum XI, n. 56, ad Augustinum, Interrogatio XI, MGH Epp. 1, p. 343] Quid est enim dicere: Mors secus introitum delectationis posita est? nisi quasi diceret: noli consentire concupiscentiae tuae, quia si usque ad consensum pervenerit, morieris, eo qnod jam tunc erit perfectum peccatum, quod animam occidit.

Of course, suggestion comes about through the devil, pleasure through the flesh, and consent through the spirit. Indeed, because the serpent suggested the first sin, Eve was enticed just like the flesh, but Adam gave consent just like the spirit. For when an evil spirit makes a sinful suggestion in the mind, and no pleasure follows the sin, the sin is not perpetrated completely; but when the flesh begins to delight in the sin, then the sin begins to rise; but if one agrees to the consent out of deliberation, then the commission of sin is recognized. Therefore, the seed of sin is in suggestion, the nourishment takes place in pleasure, and the completion occurs in the consent. [Gregory, Registrum XI, n. 56, ad Augustinum, Interrogatio XI, MGH Epp. 1, p. 343] What does it mean to say: Death is placed beside the entrance of pleasure unless it is the same to say: do not consent to your desires, because you will die if you arrive at consent, because the sin that kills the soul will then be brought to completion.

Sequitur: 26Ergo si oculi Domini speculantur bonos et malos [Prov 14:3], 27et Dominus de coelo semper respicit super filios hominum, ut videat, si est intelligens aut requirens Deum[Ps 13:2], 28et si angelis nobis deputatis quotidie die noctuque Domino factori nostro opera nostra nuntiantur. Istud ergo superius respicit, i. e. ubi dicit: 13Aestimet se homo a Deo semper omni hora respici et facta sua in omni loco et reliq., ac si diceret: si ita est, ut Dominus respiciat super filios hominum, ut videat, si est intelligens aut requirens Deum, et si ab angelis nobis deputatis quotidie facta nostra nuntiantur Deo factori nostro.  Ergo cavendum est malum desiderium. [page 222]



It follows: 26Therefore if the eyes of the Lord are on the good and the wicked [Prov 14:3] 27and the Lord constantly looks down from heaven at the sons of men to see if anyone understands and seeks God [Ps 13:2] 28and if our doings are reported to the God our maker daily, day and night by the angels assigned to us. This therefore refers to what is above, i.e., where it says 13One should consider that at every hour and in every place he is watch by God and in every place etc., as if he said, it is the case that the Lord constantly looks at the sons of men to see if anyone understands and seeks God and if our doings are reported to God our maker daily by the angels assigned to us. Therefore 24we must be on guard against wicked desire. [page 222] 


Sequitur: 29Cavendum est ergo omni hora, fratres, sicut dicit in psalmo propheta, ne nos declinantes in malum et inutiles [cf. Ps 13:3] factos aliqua hora aspiciat Deus, 30et parcendo nobis in hoc tempore, quia pius et exspectat, nos converti in melius, ne dicat nobis in futuro: haec fecisti, et tacui. [Ps 49:21] Istud ergo, quod dixit: cavendum est ergo omni hora, ad illud ergo respicit, ubi dicit: ergo si oculi Domini speculantur bonos et malos, quia mos est sapientum, illud adverbium replicare in fine sententiae, quod in capite dicit, ne sententia, quae prolongatur, oblivioni tradatur. Mos quippe est sapientum, sicut jam diximus, aut in capite dicere sententiam quasi materiam, et postmodum dividere per species, aut in primis dividere per species, et postmodum subjungere materiam sententiae, sicut in hoc loco S. Benedictus facero videtur, cum prius dividit sententiam per speciem, cum dicit: Aestimet se homo de coelis a Deo semper respici et reliq., et nunc subjunxit materiam sententiae, cum dicit: Ergo si oculi Domini speculantur bonos et reliq. Istud vero, quod dicit: si est intelligens aut requirens Deum, ita intelligitur, h. e. intelligens et requirens Deum, quia intelligit Deum, qui eum requirit; nam hic aut pro et positum est. Cum dicit haec fecisti et tacui, quasi diceret: haec fecisti mala et ego tacui, i. e. non punivi, non condemnavi, quasi diceret: propter poenitentiae causam, cum tu haec mala fecisti, ego tacui, i. e. non condemnavi, sed exspectavi, ut convertereris; nam unum et superfluum videtur esse.

It follows: 29Therefore, brothers, we ought to be on guard at each hour, just as the prophet says in the psalms, lest at any hour God sees us falling into evil and made helpless [cf. Ps 13:3], 30 and lest by sparing us in the present time, because he is compassionate and expects us to be reformed, he say to us in the future, you did these things and I was silent. [Ps 49:21] When he said: therefore we ought to be on guard at every hour, he looks back to that the place when he said: therefore, if the eyes of the Lord gaze upon the good and the evil, because it is the habit of wise people to repeat the adverb at the end of the passage which had been expressed in the beginning, in case the idea, which is drawn out, be forgotten. Of course, it is the habit of wise people, just as we have said, to express at the beginning an idea as if it were the general subject matter, and afterwards to divide it into particulars, or to divide it first into particulars and afterwards to add the general subject of the discussion, just as St Benedict is seen to do in this place, since he first divides the discussion into a particular lesson when he says: One should understand that he is always watched by God from heaven etc, and then he adds the main subject of the discussion, when he says: Therefore, if the eyes of the Lord gaze upon the good etc.


[Ms P, fol. 61rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 142r; Ms E1, fol. 68r; Ms E2, fol. 91v]


Translated by: Matthew Ponesse

31Secundus humilitatis gradus est, si propriam quis non amans voluntatem desideria sua non delectetur implere, 32sed vocem illam Domini factis imitetur dicentis: Non veni facere voluntatem meum, sed ejus, qui misit me. [cf. Io 5:30] 33Item dicit scriptura: Voluptas habet poenam, et neeessitas parit coronam.

31The second step of humility is that no one love his own will nor delight in fulfilling his own desires, 32but imitate the voice of the Lord which says: I have not come to do my will, but the will of the one who sent me. [cf. Jn 5:30] 33Likewise scripture says: Pleasure has its punishment, but need brings forth a crown.

Congruum ordinem tenuit in hoc loco B. Benedictus in eo, quod dixit prius, primum gradum humilitatis esse timorem Dei et omni se custodire hora, et postmodum secundum gradum huniilitatis esse subjunxit, proprium quis non [page 223] amare facere voluntatem, quod, cum homo causa timoris gehennae veniens9 ad monasterium, quasi in primo gradu stare cognoscitur et jam longo a terra consistere, deinde cum intrat in monasterium, suscipit eum abrenuntiatio propriarum voluntatum. Cum dicit propriam voluntatem, de bonis rebus dicit, quia nil monachiis etiam in bonis rebus per suum arbitrium debet agere, sicut diximus.

St Benedict preserves a fitting arrangement in this place when he first said that first step of humility is the fear of God and the protection of oneself at all times, and afterwards added that the second step of humility is for no one [page 223] to love his own will, because when a man comes to a monastery out of fear of hell, he is recognized to stand on the first step and to take position far from the world; then, when he enters the monastery, he is seized by the renunciation of his own will. When he [Benedict] says own will, he speaks about good things, because a monk ought to do nothing at all in good matters according to his own judgment, just as we said.

Desideria autem pertinent de malis rebus, quae ad carnem attinent. Notandum est, quia hoc exemplum, quod B. Benedictus profert dicens: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus, qui misit me, Dominus dixit in Evangelio.

However, desires extend from evil things, which pertain to the flesh. We should note the example that St Benedict offers, saying: The Lord spoke in the Gospel, I have not come to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.

Sed interrogandum est, quid Dominus dixit: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus, qui misit me, cum Patris et Filii una sit voluntas? In Domino enim Jesu Christo duas naturas credimus, i. e. humanitatis et divinitatis, unde ipse Dominus aliquando secundum divinitatem loquitur, aliquando secundum humanitatem. Secundum divinitatem, ut est illud: Ego et pater unum sumus; [Io 10:31] secundum humanitatem, ut est illud: Pater major me est. [Io 14:28] Istud, quod hic dicit: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus, qui misit me, secundum humanitatem locutus est. Propositum quippe divinitatis erat, redimere mundum per passionem suae humanitatis; nam humanitatis erat timere passionem et crucifigi atque pati. Et ideo secundum voluntatem carnis dicebat: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus, qui misit me, ac si diceret: Non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed meam i. e. non veni facere voluntatem hominis suscepti, sed divinitatis meae, quia decrevi, per passionis mysterium redimere mundum.

But we should investigate what the Lord said: I have not come to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me, since the Father and the Son have one will. For we believe that there are two natures in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, the nature of humanity and the nature of the divine, by reason of which the Lord sometimes speaks according to his divinity, and sometimes according to his humanity. According to his divinity, as it is related in this verse: The Father and I are one; [Jn 13:31] according to his humanity, as it is related in this verse: The Father is greater than me. [Jn 14:28] He speaks according to his humanity where he says: I have not come to do my will, but the will of the one who sent me. Of course, it was the purpose of his divinity to redeem the world through the passion of his humanity; on the other hand, it was the purpose of his humanity to fear the passion and to be crucified and suffer. Therefore, he said according to the will of his flesh: I have not come to do my will, but the will of the one who sent me, as if he were to say: I have not come to do my will, but rather my will, that is, I have not come to do the will of the human nature that I have assumed, but the will of my divinity, because I have resolved to redeem the world through the mystery of the passion.

Hoc quippe bene congruit monacho. Duae quippe affectiones sunt in uno homine, carnis videlicet et animae. Debet enim monachus, cum aliquid durum aut contrarium sibi imperatum fuerit, dicere: non veni facere voluntatem meam, sed ejus, qui misit me, i. e. non veni implere voluntatem carnis, sed Dei, cujus instinctu huc missus sim; sive etiam: non veni faeere voluntatem meam i. e. carnis, h.e. [page 224] quod mihi leve vel suave est, sed abbatis mei, qui me misit in hanc obedientiam.

Of course, this is very appropriate for a monk. For there are two dispositions in one man, namely, one of the flesh and one of the soul. When a monk is ordered to do something harsh or contrary, he ought to say: I have not come to do my will, but the will of the one who sent me, that is, I have not come to do the will of the flesh, but of God, at whose instigation I was sent here. Or he even ought to say: I have not come to do the will that is, of the flesh, or in other words [page 224] that which is mild or pleasant to me, but rather I have come to do the will of my abbot, who sent me into this obedience.

Sequitur: Voluptas habet poenam, et necessitas parit coronam. Sunt enim multi, qui distinquunt, voluntatem (per n) attinere ad Deum, et volumtatem (per m) attinere ad hominem, voluptatem (per p) ad diabolum; sed hanc distinctionem non semper sacra scriptura conservat, quia voluptas et in bono et in malo ponitur dicente Beda, [Beda, Hexameron, Book II, PL 91, col. 75B] sicut paradisus voluptatis dicitur, et iterum in psalmo canitur: Et torrente voluptatis tuae potabis eos; [Ps 35:9] in malo autem Salomon ait: Adolescentia enim et voluptas vana sunt. [Ecl 11:10] Pro delectatione etiam ponitur carnis, sicut Sara dicebat: Postquam senui et dominus meus vetulus est, voluptati operum dabo? [Gn 18:12]

It follows: Pleasure (voluptas) has its hardship, and need brings forth a crown. There are, in fact, many who make the following distinction. When pleasure is written with an 'n' (voluntas), it is said to pertain to God; when pleasure is written with an 'm' (volumtas), it is said to pertain to man; when pleasure is written with a 'p' (voluptas), it is said to pertain to the devil. But sacred scripture does not always preserve this distinction, because pleasure (voluptas) is used by Bede in the context of good and evil [Bede, Hexameron, Book II, PL 91, col. 75B], just as he speaks of a the paradise of pleasure (voluptas). Likewise is it sung in the psalm: You will make them drink from the torrent of your pleasure (voluptas). [Ps 35:9] But Solomon speaks in the context of evil: Indeed, Adolescence and pleasure (voluptas) are vain. [Ecl 11:10] It is also used in the context of carnal delight, just as Sara said: After I am grown old and my lord is an old man, shall I give myself to pleasure (voluptati)? [Gn 18:12]

In hoc enim loco sive per n habeatur voluptas, sive per m, nil sensui obstat, quia utroque modo potest dici; voluntas enim per n si in bono ponitur, est sensus: Qui enim Deo volunt servire, habent pugnam contra delectationem carnis. Et iste labor sive pugna illi, quam adversum carnem habet, qui Deo placet, poena est necessaria, sed ipsa poena sive necessitas generabit illi coronam perpetuam.

Whether in this place pleasure is written with an 'n' or an 'm', nothing hinders the sense, because it is able to be written in both ways. For if pleasure is written with an 'n' in the context of good, this is the sense: Those who wish to serve God, do battle against the pleasure of the flesh. And this labor or battle which one who pleases God takes up against the flesh, is a necessary suffering, but this punishment or necessity will produce for him an eternal crown.

Et ideo secundum hunc sensum, cum dicit poenam, subaudi: temporalem. Item alio modo potest intelligi ita, si enim per p voluptas habetur, quod attinet ad delectationem carnis, voluptas habet poenam et necessitas parit coronam, h. e. ille, qui vivit in delectationibus et deliciis et resistit superbus atque luxuriis vel etiam fornicationibus, quae solent ex ipsis deliciis sive delectationibus generari, iste labor, quem sustinet, efficitur poena necessaria, et ex hac poena generabitur ei corona perpetua: si autem non resistit positus in habundantia suis superbiis et luxuriis, habebit poenam perpetuam. Alio modo etiam intelligitur voluptas habet poenam, i. e. si monachus suis voluptatibus aequieverit, h. e. si suas voluptates voluerit implere et noluerit obedire alienis voluptatibus et imperiis, ex hoc generatur illi poena aeterna. Quodsi noluerit suas implere voluptates, sed magis aliorum obedire voluerit praeceptis, ex hoc generatur illi, quantum ad praesentem vitam attinet, [page 225] poena et labor; sed ista poena necessaria generabit illi gaudium aeternum.

Therefore, when he says hardship understand it according to the sense of a temporal punishment. Likewise, this is able to be understood in another way, for if pleasure is written with a 'p' (voluptas), which pertains to the carnal delight, pleasure has its punishment and necessity brings forth a crown, that is, he who lives in pleasure and delights and resists arrogance, luxuries, and fornications, which are accustomed to be brought about from these pleasures and delights, this labor, which he sustains, produces necessary hardship, and from this punishment will be produced an eternal crown. But if one placed in this abundance does not resist arrogance and luxury, he will have perpetual punishment. Pleasure has its punishment is able to be understood in another way, that is, if a monk gives assent to his pleasures, in other words, if he wishes to fulfill his pleasures and he does not wish to obey another's pleasures and commands; from this he will earn his eternal punishment. But if he does not wish to fulfill his pleasures, but he wishes more to obey the orders of another, from this he will earn as much punishment and labor as pertains to the present life, but this necessary punishment will produce for him his eternal joy.


[Ms P, fol. 61vPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 143v; Ms E1, fol. 69r; Ms E2, fol. 93r]


Translated by: James LePree

34Tertius humilitatis gradus est, ut quis pro Dei amore omni obedientia se subdat majori, imitans Dominum, de quo dicit Apostolus: Factus obediens usque ad mortem. [Phil 2:8]

34The third step of humility is that everyone should submit to his superior in all obedience for the love of God, imitating the Lord about whom the Apostle said: He became obedient until death. [Phil 2:8]

Congrue subjunxit B. Benedictus, tertium gradum esse, omni obedientia subdi majori, eo quod jam, cum suis propriis voluntatibus abrenuntiat, consequens est, ut aliorum se subdat imperiis. Istud enim, quod dicit: ut omni obedientia se subdat majori, duobus modis potest intelligi, quam vis ad unum finem referatur. Uno modo intelligitur, i. e. quidquid ei imperatum fuerit, obediat. Altero modo intelligitur, i. e. ut in omni obedientia cupiat vel habeat majorem, i. e. magistrum.

St. Benedict is quite correct when he says that the third step is for a monk to submit to his superior in all obedience since when a brother renounced self-will, it is only proper that he should submit to the orders of others. For Benedict’s statement that a monk should submit himself to his superior in all obedience can be understood in two ways although they both lead to the same end. One way it is understood is when a brother has been ordered to do something, he should obey. In another way, it means he should desire and have a superior, i.e. a master in all obedience.

Et forte dicit aliquis: 'quare, cum jam dixit, primum gradum esse obedientiam sine mora, [Regula Benedicti, c. 5.1] et hic dicit, obedientiae10 tertium gradum esse?'

But perhaps someone may say: ‘Why when he already said that the first step of humility is obedience without delay [Regula Benedicti, c. 5.1], does Benedict then say here that the third step of humility is also obedience?’

Bene dixit illic, primum gradum esse obedientiam sine mora, et hic tertium gradum esse obedientiam, eo quod major est ista obedientia, quae dicitur tertius gradus esse, quam illa, quae dicitur primus, quia multi sunt, qui obediunt abbati et nolunt habere magistrum vel priorem super se in ipsa obedientia, sed magis discipulum; isti tales in primo gradu obedientiae consistunt, deinde si cupiunt se sub alio esse et non super alium, in majori et in meliori, hoc est in tertio gradu consistunt, et major humilitas et major obedientia est apud Deum, semper velle subesse quam praeesse. Unde Dominus dicit: Non veni ministrari, sed ministrare, [Mt 20:28] hoc est, non veni, ut alter mihi ministret, sed veni, ut ego ministrem aliis.

Benedict spoke correctly about this when he said the first step is obedience without delay and the third step is obedience because that obedience which is called the third step is greater than the obedience which is called the first step because there are many who obey the abbot and are unwilling to have a master and a prior over them in the obedience itself but more a student.1 Such exist in the first step of obedience, then if they desire to be under another and not over another; this is a greater and a better type of obedience, in other words, if they possess this obedience, they stand on the third step. This greater humility and obedience which I speak of here is in God’s presence, to always wish to be under someone and not over them. Thus the Lord said: I have not come to be served but to serve. [Mt 20:28] That is: I have not come so that another might serve me but I have come so that I might serve others.

Sequitur: Imitans Dominum, de quo dicit Apostolus: Factus obediens usque ad mortem. [Phil 2:8]

It follows: Imitating the Lord about whom the Apostle speaks: He became obedient until his death. [Phil 2:8]

Quid est, quod dicit: Factus obediens usque ad mortem? Numquid Dominus Jesus [page 226] post mortem non fuit obediens Patri, cum resurrexit a mortuis et cum ascendit in coelos? Et iterum: non erit obediens, cum venerit judicare vivos et mortuos, [1 Pt 4:5] de quo scriptum est: Omne Judicium dedit Filio? [Io 5:22]

What does he mean: He became obedient until his death? Was not the Lord Jesus [page 226] after death obedient to the father when he rose from the dead and when he ascended into heaven? And again: Was he not obedient when he will come to judge the living and the dead [1 Pt 4:5 ] about whom it is written: He gave all judgment to the son? [Io 5:22]

Vere obediens fuit post mortem, quando resurrexit et cum ascendit ad coelos, et iterum obediens erit, cum venerit judicare vivos et mortuos.

In fact our Lord was obedient after death when he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven; and again, he will be obedient when he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Sed in hoc loco, cum dicit Paulus: Factus obediens usque ad mortem, non fuit ei intentio de longitudine temporis, sed de magnitudine obedientiae, quia nulla est obedientia major quam illa, pro qua moritur, sicut dicit Dominus de caritate: Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet, quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis [Io 15:13]. Absit enim, ut Dominus per hanc mortem suam obedientiam finiret et post mortem non iterum obediret, sed in tan tum dilexit obedientiam, ut per mortem non timeret transire.

But here when Paul says: He became obedient until death, his intention was not the length of time involved but the magnitude of obedience because there is no obedience greater than that for which one dies for just as the Lord said about love: There is no greater love than for someone to lay down his life for his friends. [Io 15:13] For it is not proper that the Lord end his obedience through this death and not continue to be obedient after death but he loved obedience so much that he did not fear to go beyond death.

Istud vero, quod dicit: Factus obediens usque ad mortem, duobus inodis attinet, i. e. uno modo, ut usque ad mortem velit obedire, sicut scriptum est: Qui perseveraverit usque in finem, hic salvus erit. [Mt 10:11; Mt 24:13] Altero vero modo, si talis ac tanta fuerit obedientia, ut propter illam, si necessitas fuerit mori, morti se tradere non expavescat.

Paul’s statement that he was obedient until death has two meanings. One that he wishes to be obedient until death, as it is written: Who perseveres until the end, he will be saved. [Mt 10:11; Mt 24:13] Another meaning is if the obedience will have been such a type that because of that, it will have been necessary to die, a monk should not be afraid to sacrifice his life.

Istud, quod dicitur usque, tribus modis potest poni. Ponitur aliquando pro infinito, sicut dicit psalmista: Adimplebis me laetitia cum vultu tuo, delectationes in dextera tua usque in finem. [Ps 15:11] Et iterum ponitur pro finito, sicuti dicimus in nostra locutione: 'usque venio, tu sede hic;' sicut in actibus Apostolorum legitur: Vos eritis mihi testes in Jerusalem et in omni Judaea et Samaria et usque ad ultimum terrae. [Act 1:8] Et iterum ponitur pro maguitudine rei, sicuti in hoc loco. Hoc autem sciendum est, quia non de morte animae dico, sed de morte corporis.

‘Until’ [usque] can have three meanings: One when it refers to an indefinite time in the future as the psalmist says: You will fill me with joy with your countenance and pleasures are at your right hand even until the end. [Ps 15:11] Another meaning it can have is when it is of a determinate length, just as we say in our speech, ‘You remain here until I come.’ As it is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles: You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria and even unto the farthest parts of the Earth. [Act 1:] And again it can refer to the magnitude of obedience just as I have used it here. This however must be made clear that I speak not of the death of the soul but of the body.

Verumtamen sciendum est, quia, cum mittit abbas monachum in obedientia et non cognoverit, periculum instare in via aut latronum aut alicujus malae rei, et ille monachus cognoverit ipsum periculum, debet abbati suo manifestare ipsum periculum, non inobediendi causa, sed solummodo, quia ille abbas forte non vult, ut eat in illud periculum.

Nevertheless, it must be clearly understood that when the abbot sends a monk into obedience and is not aware that impending danger is awaiting the monk on his journey, either robbers or some other evil, and the monk is aware of the danger, he should report this to his abbot not out of disobedience but for one reason only: That perchance the abbot does not wish to expose the brother to that danger.

Aut forte si, cum [page 227] vadit per viam et in ipsa via cognoverit periculum instare latronum, poterit reverti, tunc debet iterum reverti et nuntiare illi ipsum periculum, quod evadere non potest, qua fonus ille cognoscat, forte non vult, ut suus monachus periculum patiatur, quia cum obedit monachus, magis debet ad intentionem respicere abbatis, quam ad verba sola; nam sunt multi abbates sive sapientes sive simplices, cum11 mittunt monachum suum causa profectus monasterii longe, [et] dicunt illi, quae aut qualiter agere debeat; deinde cum pervenit monachus ad illum locum, [et] non invenit aut tempus nec locum, ut ita agat, sicut ei imperatum est, et ideo non debet ad verba, quae audivit, respicere, sed ad intentionem abbatis sui, hoc est, ut faciat, quod abbatem suum cognoverit velle, quamvis non possit eo modo perficere, sicuti audivit, eo quod melior est illa obedientia, quae ad intentionem respicit, quam illa, quae ad verba sine intentione.

Or perhaps if, when [page 227] he goes through the road and on the road itself, will have learned that the danger of robbers exists, he will be able to return and report to the abbot how he learned about the danger which he could not avoid. Perhaps he does not want his monk to be exposed to danger, because when a monk obeys, he ought to pay more attention to the abbot’s intention rather than his words alone, for there are many abbots, both wise and foolish. When they send their monk far away on the business of the monastery and tell him what he ought to do and how he should do it, then when the monk arrives at the place and does not know the time or place so that he may do as he was ordered; therefore, he should not consider the words which he heard but the abbot’s intention, that is, so he may do what he knows his abbot wanted even though he cannot perform it the way he heard it from the abbot. That obedience which considers the abbot’s intention is better than that obedience which considers the abbot’s words but not his intentions.

Abbas autem, [si] sciens periculum latronum inesse in ipsa obedientia, quam fratri injungit, aut valde est servus Dei, ut per suam orationem vel meritum ipse frater possit salvari, aut valde stultus, qui nescit discretionem, aut certe invidus, qui pro tali occasione vult, ut periculum frater incurrat. Et hoc notandum est, quia ille debet periculum mortis imperare, qui se cognoscit per suam orationem aut meritum12 — aut certe per humilitatem fratris et obedientiam ipse frater possit salvari.13

The abbot if he knows there is danger of robbers in that obedience which he imposed upon a brother, either he is a true servant of God so that through his prayer and merit, the brother himself can be saved or the abbot is very foolish who doesn’t know discretion or is clearly an envious person who wishes for such an occasion so that the brother may be deliberately exposed to danger. And this must be especially pointed out that he should expose a brother to the danger of death who knows through his prayer and merit and certainly through the brother’s humility and obedience that the brother himself can be saved.

1. I am not quite sure how magis discipulum fits into this context.


[Ms P, fol. 62rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 145r; Ms E1, fol. 70r; Ms E2, fol. 94r]


Translated by: Lari Ahokas

35Quartus humilitatis gradus est, si in ipsa obedientia duris et contrariis rebus vel etiam quibuslibet irrogatis injuriis tacita conscientia patientiam amplectatur 36et sustinens non lassescat vel discedat, dicente scriptum: Qui perseveraverit usque in finem, hic salvus erit. [Mt 10:22] 37Item: Confortetur cor tuum et sustine Dominum.[Ps 26:14]

35The fourth step of humility is if, when obedience involves difficulty, adversity, and even the affliction of certain injustices, one silently embraces suffering in his heart 36and endures it, not growing tired or running away, as scripture says, He who perseveres all the way to the end will be saved. [Mt 10:22] 37Again: Let your heart be strengthened and await the Lord. [Ps 26:14]

38Et ostendens, fidelem pro Domino universa etiam contraria [page 228] sustinere debere, dicit ex persona sufferentium: Propter te mortificamur14 tota die, [Rm 8:26] aestimati sumus sicut oves occisionis. [Rm 8:36] 39Et securi de spe retributionis divinae subsequuntur gaudentes et dicentes: sed in his omnibus superamus propter eum, qui dilexit nos. [Rm 8:37] 40Et item alio loco scriptura dicit: Probasti nos, inquit, Deus igne nos examinasti, sicut igne examinatur argentum; induxisti nos in laqueum, posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro. [Ps 65:10-11]

38And showing that the faithful one ought to endure all adversities [page 228] for the Lord, Scripture says in the person of those who suffer, For you we are afflicted with death all day long; we are considered sheep for the slaughter. [Rm 8:36] 39And sure in the hope of divine reward, they go on rejoicing and saying, But we overcome in all these things for him who loved us. [Rm 8:37] 40And in another place scripture says, You tried us, God, you tested us by the fire just as silver is tested by fire, you led us into a trap, you piled troubles on our backs. [Ps 65:10-11]

41Et ut ostendat, sub priore debere nos esse, sub sequitur dicens: Imposuisti homines super capita nostra. [Ps 65:12] 42Sed et praeceptum Domini in adversis et in injuriis per patientiam adimplentes, qui percussi in maxillam praebent et aliam, auferenti tunicam dimittunt et pallium, angariati miliario vadunt et duo, [cf. Mt 5:39-41] 43cum Paulo apostolo falsos fratres sustinent et persecutionem, et maledicentes se benedicunt.

41And to show us that we must be under a superior, it goes on to say, You have placed men over our heads. [Ps 65:12] 42But those who carry out the Lord’s command patiently, through adversity and injustice, when struck on one cheek also offer the other, hand over their cloak as well to the one taking away1 their shirt, and when pressed into service for a mile go two miles, [cf. Mt 5:39] 43along with the apostle Paul they bear with false brothers and persecution,2 and bless those who curse them.

Haec sententia ita construitur: Est quartus humilitatis gradus, si amplectatur duris et contrariis rebus vel etiam quibuslibet injuriis irrogatis. Quomodo? Tacita conscientia.

This sentence is composed as follows: It is the fourth step of humility to embrace difficulty, adversity and even affliction of certain injustices. In what manner? Silently.

Item tacita conscientia, i. e. sine murmuratione atque tristitia. Sunt enim alii libri, qui habent patientiam, sed non bene, quia istud verbum, quod est amplectatur, servit aliquando dativo casui, sicuti sunt duris et contrariis rebus et injuriis; quasi diceret: amplectatur duris et contrariis rebus et reliqua. Hoc etiam animadvertendum est, quia non dicit sufferat aut toleret, sed amplectatur; nos enim eam rem, quam diligimus, amplectimur, quia non solum monachus debet adversa sufferre aut tolerare, sed etiam cum gaudio ea sufferre; sed idcirco dixit amplectatur, quia in isto verbo, quod est amplectatur, demonstravit dicens, monachum in tribulatione debere gaudenter sufferre. Et ideo non dixit, ut fugiat duras aut contrarias res et injurias in ipsa obedientia, sed amplectatur illas.

Again: silently, that is, without grumbling and gloominess. There are other books, which have [only] suffering, but this is not well, because that verb, that is, embrace, governs sometimes the dative case, such as in difficulty, adversity and injustices, as if he [Benedict] were saying: let one embrace difficulty and adversity and so on. It must also be noted that because he does not say suffer or tolerate but embrace; we embrace those things we love, because a monk should not only suffer or tolerate adversity, but to endure it with joy; but for this reason he says embrace, because with that word, that is, embrace, he demonstrates that a monk should endure them joyfully. And this is why he does not say that, lest he [the monk] would shun difficulty, adversity and injustice when obedience involves them, but embrace them.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'non debet abbas duras res et contrarias et injurias imperare vel ingerere suis subditis.' Verum est, quia non debet taliter agere, eo quod hoc Augustinus dicit,15 et B. Benedictus admonet illum dicens: sive secundum Deum sive secundum saeculum sint opera; [Regula Benedicti, c. 64:17] [page 229] et tamen monachus, quia mortuus debet esse, ideo veluti mortuus ita debet in monasterio versari. Vide modo, mortuus quidem in quam partem volvitur, non murmurat, aut quidquid ei feceris, non contradicit.

Maybe someone says: the abbot should not order or pile on hardships or adversities or injustices to his subordinates. It is true that he should not act in that way, because this is what Augustine says, and Blessed Benedict admonishes him [the abbot] by saying: whether assigning godly or worldly work is in question, [Regula Benedicti, c. 64:17] [page 229] and nevertheless the monk, because he should be dead [to the world], should therefore live in the monastery as if he were dead. Just see: certainly the dead, whichever way he is turned, does not grumble, and whatever you do to him, he does not oppose.

Nam abbas nunquam debet injuriare monachum, nec stultum illum vocare propter illud, quod Dominus dicit: Si quis dixerit fratri suo: racha et reliq. [cf. Mt 5:21] Si dixerit tamen, monacho non licet, abbati aliquid dicere, sed obedire, sicut diximus. Sed in his verbis potest illum arguere dure vel durius, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 2:25] v. gr. si dure arguere illum voluerit, isto modo: quare fecisti hanc rem? Si vero durius, plus augere verba: male fecisti et non fecisti recte, et ob hoc dignus es excommunicari vel flagellari.

For the abbot should never insult the monk, and never call him a fool, for the Lord says: Whoever says to his brother: Raka [Aramaic: you worthless one],3 [cf. Mt 5:21] and so forth. But if he nevertheless says so, the monk is not allowed to say anything to the abbot, but to obey, as we have said. But with these words the abbot may reproach him hard or even harder: For example, if he wants to reproach him hard, like this: why did you do this thing? Or even harder, add more words: you did wrong, not right, and for this you deserve excommunication or flogging.

Nunc videndum est, quid sunt dura vel contrarietates. Dura sunt illa, quae ad materiem attinent rei, v. gr. sicuti est petram levare aut aliquid immensae magnitudinis portare vel agere. Contraria sunt, quae ad voluntatem attinent, si hoc, quod sibi imperatur, non sibi placuerit. Possunt quidem esse dura sine contrarietate, quia sunt multae res, quae grandes sunt et magnae magnitudinis, et tamen ille monachus bonus et voluntarius16 in obedientia, cui, quamvis durae sunt res, tamen amabiles illi fuissent ad perficiendas, si vires illi adessent. Et iterum possunt contraria sine dura esse, v. gr. quamvis leve est opus ad peragendum, tamen quia pravae voluntatis vel pusillanimitatis est, etiam levis obedientia contraria illi est. Irrogatis, i. e. illatis vel factis.

Now we must see what are difficulties and adversities. Difficulties are those which pertain to the matter of things, for example, such as lifting a boulder or moving or carrying something of immense size. Adversities are those which pertain to the will, if that what one is ordered to do, does not please oneself. There may indeed be difficulties without adversity, because there are many things, which are great and of sizeable size, and yet to a good monk and willing to obey, these things would nevertheless be lovely to accomplish, no matter how difficult they are, if he had strength. And again, there may be adversities without difficulty, for example, however easy the task is to accomplish, nevertheless because of one’s crooked mind or faintheartedness, even an easy task is an adversity for him. Afflicted, that is, caused or done.

Sequitur: 36Non lassescat vel discedat. Istud lassescat si ad corpus refertur, nullus fuit monachus, nec est, nec erit, qui hoc secundum corpus possit implere, eo quod nullus est homo, qui in ipsa obedientia, si laboriosa fuerit, non lassescat et ad tempus velit requiescere; ac per hoc necesse est, ut istud lassescat ad animam referatur, non ad corpus, quia perfectus monachus, licet lassetur corpore pro fragilitate, tamen semper mente desiderat implere.

This is followed by: 36not growing tired or running away. If by this growing tired is referred to the body, he has [never] been a monk, neither is he [now], nor [ever] will be, who could fulfill this by his body; because there is no man on his task, if it has been laborious, who would not grow tired to wish to rest for a while; because of this it is necessary, that by this growing tired is referred to the soul, not to the body, because the perfect monk, even though growing tired in the body because of its fragility, nevertheless in his mind always desires to fulfill it.

Discedat vero et ad corpus attinet et animam; nam potest lassescat [page 230] esse, si non discedat, et discedat, si non lassescat, v. gr. potest quis lassescere et non discedere, v. gr. sunt multi, quibus obedientia videtur esse dura, quamvis parva sit, tamen ne excommunicentur, non audent discedere, i. e. dimittere obedientiam. Et iterum sunt alii fratres, quibus levis est obedientia, sed tamen, quia videtur illis ipsa obedientia esse levis et non videtur alicujus magnitudinis, et, pro levitate sua dimittunt illam obedientiam et vadunt per claustra17 et in aliqua loca.

Running away, however, refers to both body and soul alike; because there could be growing tired [page 230], if not running away; and running away, if not growing tired; for example, one may grow tired but not run away; for example, there are many, whose task, no matter how small, appears difficult, but nevertheless, in order not to be excommunicated, they do not dare to run away, that is, to relinquish their task. And again there are other brothers, whose task is easy, but nevertheless, because for them the task appears easy, and does not seem to be of any greatness, because of its easiness they relinquish this task and wander around cloisters and other places.

Istud vero, quod dicit: qui perseveraverit usque in finem, [Mt 10:11] potest attinere ad lassescat et discedat. Hoc vero, quod dicit: confortetur cor tuum et sustine Dominum [Ps 26:14] attinet ad hoc, quod dixit non lassescat; et quia dixit et admonuit monachum contraria debere sustinere, voluit hoc confirmare testimoniis scripturarum divinarum; ideo haec exempla subjungere curavit dicens: 38Et ostendens, fidelem pro Domino universa etiam contraria sustinere debere, dicit ex persona sufferentium. Cum dicit,18 subaudiendum est: scriptura divina. Sufferentium, i. e. sustinentium. Propter te morte afficimur tota die, aestimati sumus sicut oves occisionis. [Rm 8:36]

But that verse which says: Anyone who perseveres all the way to the end will be saved, [Mt 10:11] could pertain to either growing tired or running away. Whereas this verse which says: Let your heart be strengthened and await the Lord, [Ps 26:14] pertains to that which said not growing tired; and because he said and admonished the monk to have to withstand adversities, wanted to confirm by the testimonies of the Divine Scripture; for that reason he took care in connecting these examples saying: 38And showing that the faithful one ought to endure all adversities for the Lord, scripture says in the person of those who suffer. [For] to says must be added: the Divine Scripture.4 Those who suffer, that is, those who endure. For you we are afflicted with death all day long; we are considered sheep for the slaughter. [Rm 8:36]

Ista vox enim est martyrum, quae loquitur ad Dominum, quia propter Deum tota die, i. e. non momentanea, sed toto tempore vitae suae morte afficiuntur, i. e. mortificantur ut oves occisionis. Bene dixit, quia, sicut ovis non resistit, ita nec martyres resistunt pro Christi nomine. Hoc etiam attinet ad monachos simpliciter viventes, ut non resistant toto tempore vitae suae duris et contrariis imperiis.

Namely, this is the voice of the martyrs, who speak to the Lord, for all day, that is, not occasionally, but all of their lives have been afflicted by death because of God, that is, they are butchered like sheep for the slaughter. He says well, because, like a sheep does not resist, so the martyrs did not resist for the name of Christ. This also goes for the monks who live a simple life, so that they would not resist difficult and adverse commands for the rest of their lives.

Sciendum est enim, quia tribus pro causis assimilavit Dominus electos suos ovi; una, sicut diximus superius: non reddere malum pro malo, [Regula Benedicti, c. 4.29] altera vero, ut adjutorium inimicis suis impendant, sicuti facit ovis, cum lanam percussoribus suis tribuit, tertia vero, ut compassionem inimicis suis de intimo corde habeant, veluti facit ovis, quae lac de visceribus suis impertit.

It should be known that for three reasons the Lord compares his elected ones to sheep; firstly, as stated above: Do not return evil for evil; [Regula Benedicti, c. 4.29] secondly, to repay their enemies with help, as does the sheep, which gives wool to its killers; and thirdly, to have compassion for its enemies from the depth of its heart like the sheep who grants milk from its flesh.

Nunc vero hoc, quod subequitur: 39Et securi de spe retributionis divinae subsequuntur [page 231] gaudentes et dicentes: sed in his omnibus superamus propter eum, qui dilexit nos, [Rm 8:36] de Domino ipsi martyres dicunt cohortantes se invicem. Cum dicit in his omnibus, subaudiendum est: mortificationibus. Superamus, i. e. usque ad mortem perseveramus.

However, now that which follows: 39And sure in the hope of divine reward, they go on [page 231] rejoicing and saying, But we overcome in all these things for him who loved us, [Rm 8:36] the same martyrs say about God, encouraging each other. When he says in all these things, this must be understood: mortifications. Overcome, that is, endure until death.

40Et item alio loco scriptum dicit: Probasti nos Deus, inquit, igne nos examinasti, sicut igne examinatur argentum, [Ps 65:11] ac si diceret: Sicut argentum purgatur igne a suis scoriis, ita et sanctum suum Dominus purgat a suis malitiis igne tribulationis vel pressurae.

40And in another place scripture says, You tried us, God, you tested us by the fire just as silver is tested by fire, [Ps 65:10] as if it were saying: As the silver is purged by the fire from its slag, thus the Lord purges his holy man from his sins by the fire of trouble or pressure.

Induxisti nos in laqueum. [Ps 65:1] Laqueum enim, quem nominat, intelligitur carcer vel aliqua strictura. Et ista omnia voces sunt martyrum.

You led us into a trap. [Ps 65:11] For a trap, or what it means, is to be understood as a prison or other confinement. And all these are voices of martyrs.

Haec etiam attinent ad monachum, quia sicut ille, qui jacet in carcere, aestimat se et intelligit pro peccatis suis intus esse retrusum, et optat etiam tempus, in quo exeat de carcere et vadat ad parentes suos et ad proprietatem suam, ita et monachus debet se aestimare in carcere esse, quia claustra monasterii velut carcer in hoc loco per laqueum intelligitur; et debet etiam exspectare tempus, in quo exeat, h. e. de corpore suo, et ire ad loca sua et ad proprietatem suam, h. e. in paradisum, quia ipse est locus proprietatis nostrae, et ad cives et ad parentes suos, h. e. angelos.

They also belong to a monk, because just like the one who lies in prison thinks about himself and understands to have been put inside for his sins, and hopes for the time when he goes out of the prison and returns to his family and his property, so the monk should think of himself as being in prison, because the enclosure of the monastery is to be understood as a prison, in this place for the trap; and he should also expect the time of his release, that is, from his body, and to go to his place and property, that is, into the paradise, which is our very place of property, and to his people and family, that is, angels.

Posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro. [Ps 65:11] Vox ista martyrum est, ac si diceret: posuisti flagellum super corpus nostrum. Potest etiam esse vox monachorum, cum monasticae disciplinae subjecti existunt.

You piled troubles on our backs. [Ps 65:11] This is the voice of the martyrs, as if it were saying: you have placed the scourge over our bodies. This could also be the voice of the monks, as they are subjected to monastic discipline.

41Et ut ostendat, sub priore nos esse debere, subsequittir dicens: Imposuisti homines super capita nostra. [Ps 65:12] Vox ista martyrum est, quia super capita sua, habuerunt principes, qui potestatem habuerunt capitum suorum. Ad monachos etiam attinet, quia tam corporis quam etiam voluntatis potestatem habent abbates.

41And to show us that we must be under a superior, it goes on to say, You have placed men over our heads. [Ps 65: 12] This is the voice of the martyrs, because they had rulers over their heads, who had their heads in their power. This pertains to monks as well, because they have abbots for power over both mind and body.

42Sed et praeceptum Domini in adversis et injuriis per patientiam adimplentes, qui percussi in maxillam praebent et aliam, et auferenti tunicam dimittunt et pallium, angariati miliarium vadunt et duo. [cf. Mt 5:39-40]

42But those who carry out the Lord’s command patiently, through adversity and injustice, when struck on one cheek also offer the other, hand over their cloak as well to the one stealing their shirt, and when pressed into service for a mile go two miles. [cf. Mt 5:39-40]

Quia vult Dominus, animum christiani paratum esse ad sustinenda mala, ideo dixit: Qui te percusserit in dexterum maxillam tuam, praebe ei et alteram [cf. Mt 5:39] neque enim convenit christiano, qui alteram vitam credit [page 232] et futurum judicium exspectat, ut ultor sui existat, maxime cum Dominus dicat: Mihi vindictam, et ergo retribuam. [Apc 22:21]

As the Lord wants the soul of the Christian to be prepared to suffer evil, he says thus: If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other as well [cf. Mt 5:39]; for it does not suit a Christian, who believes in the other life [page 232] and awaits future judgment, to become his own avenger, especially when God says: Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back. [Apc 22:21]

Mihi vindictam, subaudiendum est: relinquite; et ego retribuam, et hic subaudiendum est: bonis bona, malis mala, quia utriusque retributor est Deus, i. e. bonorum et malorum; bonis enim retribuit remunerationem aeternae felicitatis, malis vero meritum, quo digni sunt.

Vengeance belongs to me should be understood: let it be, and I will pay them back should be understood: good to those who are good, evil to the wicked, because God gives them both back, that is, good and evil; for he gives to the good the reward of eternal happiness, but to the wicked the punishment they deserve.

Verumtamen non ea intentione debet dimittere Deo, ut Deus pro se illum puniat; longe est enim ista intentio a Dei intentione. Domini intentio est, ideo tolerare malos, ut convertantur et corrigantur; istius intentio est idcirco Deo dimittere, ut ultor Deus existat, ut quia se ulcisci non potest, Deus, cui illum dimittit, quia potens est, pro se ipsum puniat; si enim malum est, prius malum inferre, utique neque bonum est, vicem reddere. In hoc enim comprobatur esse malus ille, qui vicem reddit, quia imitator mali existit; jam si malum imitaris, malus es, quia omnis, qui malum imitatur, malus est. Unde Paulus dicit: Noli vinci a malo. [Rm 12:21]

Nevertheless, one must not leave it to God in the intent that God would punish him [the wicked] on his behalf; for this intent is far from God’s intention. God’s intention is to tolerate the wicked so that they might change and correct themselves; one’s intent is to leave it to God so that God would appear as an avenger, since because he cannot avenge himself, God, to whom one leaves it, because he is powerful, would deliver punishment on his behalf; for even if it is wicked to do evil first, it is neither useful nor good to avenge. For by this it is confirmed that he who avenges is evil, because he becomes the imitator of evil: for if you imitate evil, you are evil, because everyone who imitates evil is evil. Of which Paul says: Do not be conquered by evil. [Rm 12:21]

Ille enim vincitur a malo, qui vicem reddit, et ille vincit malum, qui vicem non reddit versa vice. Homines enim tunc se putant esse victores, quando vicem reddunt, et tunc se putant esse victos, quando vicem non reddunt. In Christi enim militia non est ita, sed tunc sunt milites Christi victores, cum laesi vicem non reddunt. Quid est enim: Si quis te percusserit in maxillam tuam, praebe illi et alteram, nisi ut ita habeas praeparatum et voluntarium animum ad sufferendum, ut ille, qui te percusserit, si voluerit te percutere iterum, tu bono et patienti animo malitiam ipsius sufferas; nutriendus est, enim animus christiani et docendus, tempore pacis mala proximorum sufferre patienter, ut tempore persecutionis possit pro Christo animam in mortem daro. Si enim tempore pacis non didicerit, mala proximorum sibi illata patienter sufferre, tempore persecutionis non poterit dare animam pro Christo in mortem.

For he who avenges is conquered by evil, but he who does not avenge the wrong conquers evil [himself]. For people think they are winners when they avenge, and think they have been won when they do not avenge. But in the army of Christ there is no such thing, for the soldiers of Christ are winners, when they do not avenge when injured. For what is: If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other as well, if not that if you have a ready and willing mind to suffering, so that if the one who strikes you would want to hit you again, you will suffer his evil with a good and patient mind; for the soul of a Christian must be brought up and taught to suffer patiently the evils of his neighbors in time of peace, so that in time of persecution he can give his life in death for the sake of Christ. For if he did not learn in peaceful times to suffer patiently the evils caused by his neighbor, he could not give his life in death for the sake of Christ in the time of persecution.

Et quoniam Dominus vult paratum esse animum Christiani non solum ad sustinenda mala proximorum, verum etiam ad damna rerum patienter toleranda, idcirco subjunxit: et ei, qui [page 233] tecum voluerit judicio contendere et tunicam tollere, remitte ei et pallium, [cf. Mt 5:40] ostendens, quantum sit; fugienda omnis lis et altercatio, quia sicut per maxillam designatur omnis injuria, ita per tunicam omnis lis et altercatio ostenditur. Verbi gratia, si quis adversator et probator patientiae sive impatientiae nostrae voluerit a nobis aliquid nostrum tollere et de nostro jure in suum jus transferre, nos non solum debemus illi relinquere ea, quae ille improbe petit, sed etiam illa, quae ipse non petierat, dimittere; judicio enim contendere est: per judicium velle auferre. Dicit enim Augustinus:19 Judicio contendere est quia, quod per judicium aufertur, non ea vi putatur auferri, cui vindicta debeatur. [Augustine, De sermone Domini in monte I, c. 20, 66, CCSL 35, p. 76]

And because God wants the soul of a Christian to be prepared not only to suffer evil of the neighbors, but indeed also tolerate patiently the loss of [worldly] goods, he has ordained thus: If anyone [page 233] wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak5 as well, [cf. Mt 5:40] showing how much there is to be done: to avoid every dispute and altercation, for as every injury is signified by the cheek, every dispute and altercation is referred by the cloak. For example, if some opponent and tester of our patience and impatience would want to take something of ours from us and transfer from our ownership into his, we should not only relinquish him that which he dishonestly asks, but also give what he has not asked for; for suing by the law means: wanting to take away something by law. For Augustine says:6 if any man will sue you at the law, because what is taken away by means of a judicial sentence is not supposed to be taken away with such a degree of violence as that punishment is due. [Augustine, De sermone Domini in monte I, c. 20, 66, CCSL 35, p. 76]7

Nutriendus est animus christiani, tempore pacis patienter damna rerum sibi illata aequanimiter tolerare, ut tempore persecutionis valeat omnia mundi pro Christo despicere; et si tempore pacis non toleraverit patienter parva danma rerum temporalium, tempore persecutionis non poterit pro Christo omnia mundi contemnere.

The soul of a Christian is to be brought up to tolerate patiently and calmly the loss of goods in peaceful times, so that in time of persecution he could despise everything in the world for the sake of Christ; and if in peaceful times he will not have tolerated patiently small losses of worldly goods, he cannot look down upon everything in the world for the sake of Christ in time of persecution.

Sequitur: et quicunque te angariaverit mille passus, vade cum eo alia duo. [Mt 5:42]

This is followed by: And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with him. [Mt 5:42]

Sunt enim quidam, qui ita intelligunt: Vade cum eo aliud, ut sint duo; alii autem ita intelligunt: Vade cum eo alia duo, ut sint tria. [cf. Augustinus, op. cit., c. 19, 61, CCSL 35, p. 70-71] Quia enim Dominus opus Christiani non vult esse necessarium et coactum, sed devotum et spontaneum, ideo subjunxit: et quicunque angariaverit te mille passus, vade cum eo alia duo, [Mt 5:42] ac si diceret: Si coacte et invite aliquid fecisti, debes illud, quod invite fecisti, spontaneo animo et devoto postea operari, quod magis ad praeparationem mentis quam ad ostentationem operis attinet. Si enim gratum est Deo nostrum opus, quod patienter agimus, gratissimum est etiam illud, quod nostra perficimus devotissima voluntate, quia sicut per maxillam omnis injuria, et per tunicam omnis [page 234] ablatio ostenditur, ita etiam per angariationem miliarii omne opus coactum designatur. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 66, CCSL 35, p. 76]

For there are those, who understand it like this: Go with him another [mile], making it two; and there are others, who understand it like this: Go two more with him, making it three. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,61, CCSL 35, p. 70-71] But as the Lord does not want the work of a Christian to be coerced and against one’s will, but dedicated and willing, he has therefore ordained: and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with him, [Mt 5:42] as he would want to say: If you have done something under coercion and against your will, thereafter you have to work for the one who coerced you to do this dedicatedly and willingly, which refers more to the readiness of mind than to the display of work. For if the work which we do patiently pleases the God, most pleasing is the work which we follow through with a most dedicated mind, for as any injury is illustrated by the cheek, and any [page 234] loss by the cloak, likewise any coerced work is designated by the forced march of the mile. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c.20,66, CCSL 35, p. 76]8

Ternarius enim numerus pro perfectione ponitur in scripturis divinis propter honorem sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, seu et propter caetera, quae in ternario numero in divinis libris inveniuntur consistere, sicut aliud, ubi dicitur: fides, spes et caritas. [1 Cor 13:13] Quia Dominus volens perfectionem praeparationis mentis manifestare, idcirco tria exempla posuit, unde ad cumulum ejusdem perfectionis praeparationis perveniri possit. In tertio etiam exemplo tria posuit; in multis enim exemplaribus latinis non invenitur dextera, sed tantum maxilla, in exemplaribus autem graecis, quibus major fides accommodanda est, dextera invenitur. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 66]

For the number three is given for perfection in the Divine Scripture for the glory of holy and undivided Trinity, and for other things, which can be found existing in threes in the Divine Scripture, as for instance another, which says faith, hope and charity [1 Cor 13:13]. For the Lord, wishing to show an example for the perfection of the readiness of mind, has set three examples, from which the peak of the same perfection can be reached by preparation. In the third example he has set three; in many Latin exemplars, [the word] right cannot be found, but only cheek; on the other hand, in Greek exemplars, to which greater trust should be placed, right can be found. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 66]9

Nunc autem videndum est, quid Dominus voluerit spiritaliter significare hoc, quod dicit: Si quis te percusserit in dextera maxilla, praebe illi et alteram. Et est sensus: verbi gratia si sumseris sententiam ex divinis libris et ibi percussus fueris ab haeretico, debes alteram sententiam illi opponere, quam non possit superare, sed magis ab illa convincatur. Dominus enim in tantum vult nos esse doctos, ut tamdiu possimus haeretico sententiam de scripturis divinis opponere, quousque ille convincatur. Sive alio sensu: ut si quis te percusserit in dextera maxilla, praebe illi et alteram, i. e. si plagas exteriori homini, h. e. corpori tuo quibuslibet intulerit, debet interior homo, i. e. animus tuus praeparatus esse ad illi ignoscendum. Item aliud sensus: si quis te percusserit in dextera maxilla et reliqua, quem sensum Augustinus nobilitatem, quae secundum Deum et quae secundum saeculum est, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 67] exponit, quae latius in inferioribus exponemus.

But now we must find out what the Lord would wish to mean spiritually by this, which says: If someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well. The meaning is [this]: for example, if you have taken a sentence from the divine books, and struck by a heretic, you should present him another sentence, which he cannot disprove, but is more likely be disproven by it. For the Lord wants us to be educated insomuch that we can oppose a heretic with sentences of the Divine Scripture until he is disproven. Or, in another sense: If someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well, that is, if you are tormented on the outward man, that is, your body suffers from something, the inward man, that is, your soul, should be ready to ignore him. Even another sense: If someone strikes you on the right cheek, and so forth, which sense Augustine explains as rank, which can be according to God or according to the world, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, p. 67]10 which we have explained more widely later.

Sequitur: et ei, qui tunicam tuam vult tollere, remitte ei et pallium, i. e. si praedicator vel doctor tuus quaesierit a te confessionem peccatorum tuorum, quae in te intrinsecus latent, tu [autem] non solum illa occultiora peccata illi confitere, verum etiam et ea, quae extrinsecus opere [page 235] patrasti, illi manifesta. Alter vero sensus est: si quis tunicam tuam voluerit tollere, et reliqua; verbi gratia si quis voluerit animam tuam pro Christo tollere, tu [vero] remitte illi et pallium, i. e. non solum trade illi hanc vitam, quae in hoc sensu potius per animam intelligitur, verum etiam corpus tuum ad occidendum pro Christo illi tribue.

This is followed by: If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your cloak as well, that is, if a preacher or your teacher asks you a confession of your sins, which hide inside you, you [on the contrary] should not only confess him these hidden sins, but also those, which you have openly caused [page 235] and are known to him. Whereas another sense is: If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, and so forth; for example, if someone wants to take your life for Christ, let him have your cloak as well, that is, not only give him your life, which in this sense should be understood more as your soul, but give also your body to him to be slain for Christ.

Sequitur: et quicunque te angariaverit mille passus, vade cum eo alia duo; [Mt 5:42] verbi gratia si quislibet infidelis, vel qui necdum ad scientiam pervenit, coeperit tecum iter carpere in aliquo libro scripturarum divinarum, et ille mentionem unius personae, i. e. Patris tibi fecerit, debes illum ducere tamdiu per campum divinarum scripturarum, donec illi insinues proprietatem Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, ut fiat totius sanctae et individuae Trinitatis cognitio, in qua omnis spes et salvatio nostra consistit.

This is followed by: And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two with him; [Mt 5:42] for example if some unbeliever, or someone who has not yet gained knowledge, started to make his way with you into some book of the Divine Scripture, and he mentioned you one person [of the Trinity], for example, the Father, you should guide him through the fields of Divine Scripture as long until you introduce the properties of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, so that knowledge emerges of the holy and undivided Trinity in its entirety, wherein lies our every hope and salvation.

Quia diximus superius, per maxillam dexteram nobilitatem Dei, et per sinistram nobilitatem seculi designari, investigandum est, qualiter nobilitas Dei sive saeculi spiritaliter significetur. Quid est enim maxilla, nisi facies? Quia enim non potest dici facies dextera vel sinistra, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 67] ideo translative pro facie, quam voluit intelligi, maxillam dexteram vel sinistram Dominus posuit; per faciem enim cognitio intelligitur, quia ideo dicta est facies quasi effigies, eo quod ibi homo figuratur, i. e. cognoscitur, et per cognitionem nobilitas intelligitur, qua noscitur. Et quia per faciem cognitio intelligitur, manifestat Paulus, cum dicit: [cf. Augustine, op. cit., p. 66] Toleratis enim, si quis vos in servitutem redigit, si quis devorat, si quis accipit, si quis extollitur, si quis in faciem vos caedit. [2 Cor 11; 20-21; Augustine, loc. cit.] Caedere enim in faciem est contemni vel despici.

As we said before, by the right cheek is referred to rank according to God, by the left rank of the world, it needs to be investigated what is meant spiritually by rank according to God or to the world. For what is a cheek, if not a face? Because one cannot say left or right face, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c.19,58, CCSL 35, p. 67]11 therefore interchangeable for face, which would mean, the Lord offered his right cheek or left; as by face is understood as likeness, for therefore the face [facies] is called almost like effigy [effigies], because thereby a man is given an appearance, that is, by which he is recognized; and recognition is to be understood as rank that is known.

Et quia in faciem caedere despici, contemni intelligitur, ostendit idem Paulus, cum subjungit: [cf. Augustine, loc. cit.] secundum ignobilitatem dico; [2 Cor 11:21; Augustine, loc. cit.] quod quidem non ideo dicit apostolus, ut illos non sustinerent, sed ut se magis, qui eos sic diligeret, ut se ipsum vellet pro eis impendi. Sed quoniam facies non potest dici, sicut diximus, dextera et sinistra, et tamen nobilitas et secundum Deum [page 236] et secundum hoc saeculum potest esse, [Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, pp. 66-67] investigandum est, quae sit nobilitas Dei et nobilitas saeculi.

And that face must be understood recognition, is demonstrated by Paul, when he says: [cf. Augustine, op. cit., p. 66]12 You put up with anyone who makes you his slaves, devours what you have, takes what is yours, orders you around, or, or slaps your face. [2 Cor 11;20-21; Augustine, loc. cit.] For to slap one’s face means contempt or despise. And that slapping of one’s face should be understood as despise or contempt, Paul himself reveals, when he adds: [cf. Augustine, loc. cit.]13 I am ashamed to admit it, [2 Cor 11:21; Augustine, loc. cit.] the Apostle did not intend this to mean that they should not bear with those men. Rather, he meant that they should bear with him, since he loved them so much that he was willing to be expended for them. However, the face cannot be designated as the right face and the left, but high rank can be either according to God [page 236] or according to the world, [Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, pp. 66-67]14 [therefore] it must be investigated, what is rank of God and rank of the world.

Nobilitas secundum Deum est fides christiana aut aliquid, quod ad religionem pertinet divinam; nobilitas saeculi est aliquis honor vel officium saeculare, v. gr. ut si quis in te persequitur Christum vel fidem tuam, tu debes ostendere honorem saeculi, quem habes, et sicut in te persequitur Christum vel fidem tuam aut religionem sanctitatis forte, quam habes, quae intelligitur per nobilitatem Dei, tu debes illi praebere honorem vel officium saeculare, quod intelligitur per nobilitatem saeculi, ut, sicut in te contemnitur Christus, ita etiam nobilitas tua saecularis despiciatur, sicut Paulus legitur fecisse.

Rank according to God is the Christian faith or anything that pertains to the divine religion; rank of the world is any honor or secular title, for example, if you are persecuted by someone for Christ or your faith you should reveal those honors of the world which you have, and likewise, as you are persecuted for Christ or your faith, or maybe for the sanctity of the religion which you have, which is understood as rank according to God, you should show him an honor or a secular title, which is understood by rank of the world, so that when Christ is despised in you, also your worldly rank is despised, as Paul is read to have done.

Cum enim torqueretur, civis romanus sum, dixit. [cf Act 22:27-28; Augustine, op. cit., c. 19. 58, CCSL 35, p. 67] Ille enim, cum vidit, in se persequi Christum, ostendit etiam dignitatem saeculi, ut sicut in se despiciebatur Christus, ita et saecularis suus honor, qui per civem romanum intelligitur, despiceretur. Non enim natione sed honore civis romanus erat, eo quod captus a romanis fuerat et nutritus ab illis et ab ipsis etiam romanis Paulus honorem consecutus fuerat. Verumtamen non ea intentione quis debet pro Christo honorem suum ad contemnendum praebere, ut penitus liberetur, sed ut, si ad tempus liberatur pro salute aliorum, tamen paratus sit semper mori pro Christo, sicut etiam ipse Paulus fecit, qui, si ad tempus liberatus est causa salutis aliorum, tamen pro Christo mortem subiit.

For when he was tortured, he said: [I am] a Roman citizen. [cf. Act 22:27-28; Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, p. 67] For, when he saw that Christ was persecuted in him, he revealed him also his worldly dignity, so that like they despised the Christ in him, they would also despise his worldly honor, which is understood by [the words] Roman citizen. For he was not a Roman citizen by birth but by honor, he who was captured by Romans and brought up by them and by the same Romans Paul had been awarded the honor. Indeed, no one should offer his honor to be despised upon for Christ in the intention to be freed within, but for, if he is freed for the sake of others for some time, nevertheless should be always prepared to die for Christ, as even Paul himself did, who, even though freed for some time for the sake of the salvation of others, nevertheless suffered death for Christ.

Nam poterat tunc dicere Paulus: Paratum cor meum, Deus, paratum cor meum. [Ps 56:8; Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 68] Quod si secundum literam velis intelligere, i. e. ad ostentationem operis, et non secundum spiritalem intelligentiam, i. e. ad praeparationem mentis, videtur Paulus apostolus hujus praecepti praevaricator existere, qui tempore persecutionis suae non videtur hoc Domini praeceptum implevisse. Ita enim legitur: Princeps autem sacerdotum Ananias praecepit astantibus sibi percutere os Pauli. Tunc Paulus ad eum dixit: Percutiet te Deus, paries dealbate! Et tu sedens judicas me secundum [page 237] legem, et contra legem jubes me percuti? Et qui astabant dixerunt: Summum sacerdotem Dei maledicis? Dixit autem Paulus: Nesciebam, fratres, quid princeps est sacerdotem; scriptum est enim: Principem populi tui ne maledicas. [Act 23: 2-5; cf. Augustine, loc. cit.]

For then could Paul say: My heart is committed, God, my heart is committed. [Ps 56:8; Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, p. 68] If you want to understand this to the letter, that is, to the display of the deed, and not to the spiritual sense, that is to the preparation of the mind, Apostle Paul appears to have been guilty of breaking this precept, who in the time of his persecution does not appear to have fulfilled God’s orders. For it is read: Then the high priest Ananias ordered the men standing near him to strike him on the mouth. At this Paul said to him: “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! How can you sit there and judge me according to [page 237] the law and yet in violation of the law order me struck?” The men standing near him asked: “Do you mean to insult God’s high priest?” Paul answered, “I didn’t realize, brothers, that he is the high priest. After all, it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’” [Act 23:2-5; cf. Augustine, loc. cit.]

Ecce enim non solum non implevit, verum etiam verba maledictionis videtur intulisse. Sed Paulus plenissime noverat, quod hoc Dominus non ad demonstrationem operis sed ad praeparationem mentis praeceperit. Idcirco non in ostentationem operis sed in praeparationem mentis implevit, quia non solam alteram maxillam praebuit, verum etiam totum corpus suum pro Christo in mortem tradidit. Nam qui majora legitur implesse, constat et minora cum majoribus implere. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 59, CCSL 35, p. 69] Et quid mirum, si Paulus hoc non secundum literam implevit, cum etiam ipso Dominus, qui hoc jusserit, in ostentatione operis minime implevit, de quo legitur: quae coepit ipse Jesus facere et docere. [Act 1:1] Sic enim habes: Haec autem cum dixisset, unus assistens ministrorum dedit alapam Jesu dicens: Sic respondes principi? [Io 18.22] Respondit Jesus: Si male locutus sunt, testimonium perhibe de malo; si autem bene, quid me caedis? [Io 18:23; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, 68-69]

For he did not only act thus, but also seems to have cast words of insult. But Paul knew most perfectly that the Lord had not ordered this for the display of the deed but for the preparation of the mind. That is why he did not fulfill it for the display of deed but for the preparation of the mind, because he did not only offer his other cheek, but also his entire body for Christ in death. For who is known to have fulfilled great deeds, is known to have fulfilled lesser ones among the great. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,59, CCSL 35, p. 69] And no wonder if Paul did not fulfill this to the letter, when even Lord himself, who commanded this, did not fulfill it in display of the deed, of which can be read: everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning. [Act 1:1] You have thus: When he said this, one of the officers standing nearby slapped Jesus on the face and said: “Is that any way to answer the high priest?” [Io 18:22] Jesus answered him, “If you have said anything wrong, tell me what it was. But if I have told the truth, why do you hit me?” [Io 18.23; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, 68-69]

Ecce non solum non praebuit alteram maxillam Dominus, verum etiam verba rationis intulit, qua non debuisset percuti. Et quamquam Dominus hoc secundum literam non impleverit, tamen secundum praeparationem mentis implevit, qui pro totius humani generis salute manibus impiorum corpus suum ad flagellandum et crucifigendum tradere dignatus est. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 69] Quia enim omnia implevit, istud parvissimum excipi non potest. Apparet manifeste, quia non ad ostentationem operis Dominus hoc jusserit implendi,20 cum nec Dominus nec Paulus nec ullus sanctorum secundum literam legitur implesse, quod Dominus et Paulus et omnes sancti inveniuntur secundam praeparationem cordis perfecisse.

Look: not only did the Lord not offer his other cheek, but also words of reason why he should not have been hit. And although the Lord did not fulfill this to the letter, but fulfilled it in the sense of preparation of the mind, he who deigned to render his body for the salvation of the whole of mankind into the hands of the impious to be scourged and crucified. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, p. 69]15 Because he fulfilled all, this most minute [detail] cannot be held an exception. For it appears manifest, because Lord did not command that this should be fulfilled for the display of the deed, when neither the Lord nor Paul nor anyone of the holy men is read to have fulfilled it to the letter, what Lord and Paul and every one of the holy men is known to have fulfilled in the sense of preparation of the heart.

Nunc suboritur quaestio, cur Paulus, sicut superius diximus, videtur maledixisse? Dicit enim principi Ananiae: Percutiet te Deus, paries dealbate! cum ipse nobis praeceperit: Benedicite persequentibus vos; [page 238] benedicite et nolite maledicere. [Rm 12:14; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 21, 71, CCSL 35, pp. 79-80] Videtur enim sibimetipsi Paulus contrarius esse, cum aliis [enim] praecipit, non maledicere, et ipso maledictionis verba intorsisse suis persecutoribus videtur. Sed tamen si sobrie considerentur haec verba, magis [enim] prophetia in illis quam maledictio intelligitur; [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, p. 68] hoc enim genus locutionis saepissime in scripturis divinis reperitur, maxime in psalmis et prophetis. Sancti enim, cum haec verba proferunt, non maledicentis voto dicunt, sed pleni spiritu prophetiae cognoscentes, futurum interitum illorum immutabilem esse, illum praenuntiant et praedicunt, esse quandoque venturum. Non enim optant, ut veniat illis, quibus loquuntur malum, sed pronuntiant, quia veniet super illos malum.

Now arises the question, why Paul, as we said before, appears to have cursed? For he said to high priest Ananias: God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!, whereas he himself admonished us: Bless those who persecute them. [page 238] Keep on blessing them, and never curse them. [Rm 12:14; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 21,71, CCSL 35, pp. 79-80] It can be seen that Paul himself was contrary to what he admonished others, never to curse, himself hurling words of curse. But nevertheless these words are considered so moderate that they must be understood more by way of prophecy than curse; [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, p. 68]16 for this manner of addressing can often be found in the Divine Scripture, even in the Psalms and Prophets. For the holy men, when they set forth these words, did not say them in order to curse, but feeling in full spirit of prophesy that their future deaths were immutable, they foretold and proclaimed them, seeing them coming. For they did not wish that evil would happen to those whom they spoke of but proclaimed that evil would come unto them.

Etiam ipsa litera hoc, quod Paulus maledicere videtur, non sinit maledictum esse, sed prophetiam, quia non optativo modo protulit, sed indicativo; ita enim habes: Percutiet te Deus, paries dealbate: non enim dicit percutiat. Iterum etiam ipsa verba subsequentia indicant, Paulum non maledixisse. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 22, 72, CCSL 35, pp. 90 Ait enim: Nescivi fratres, quia princeps est sacerdotum; scriptum est enim: Principem populi tui non maledices. [Act 23:5; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 68] Ubi ostenditur, quia non maledicentis animo dixerit. Quodsi maledicentis animo dixisset, non talia verba tranquilla, sed plena ira diceret. [cf. Augustine, loc. cit.] Similiter etiam Alexandro videtur maledicere; ait enim: Alexander aerarius multa mala fecit mihi; reddet illi Dominus secundum, opera sua. [2 Tim 14; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 22, 73, CCSL 35, p. 80]

Also those words, which Paul is seen as cursing, were not meant to be a curse, but prophecy, because he did not use the optative, but the indicative: therefore you have: God will strike you, you whitewashed wall, for he does not say: May God strike you. Furthermore, the following words demonstrate that Paul was not cursing, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 22,72, CCSL 35, pp. 80-81]17 for he says: “I didn’t realize, brothers, that he is the high priest. After all, it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’” [Act 23:5; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19,58, CCSL 35, p. 68] There it is shown that he did not say it with a slanderous mind. For if he had said it in a slanderous mind, he would have not used such peaceful words, but ones full of hatred. [cf. Augustine, loc. cit.]18 In the same way he can be seen to curse Alexander, as he says: Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will pay him back for what he did. [2 Tim 14; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 22,73, CCSL 35, p. 83] In the same way he does not say in the optative mood may [the Lord] pay [him] back, but in the indicative mood [the Lord] will pay [him] back. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 22,72, CCSL 35, p. 80]

Similiter etiam in hoc loco non optativo modo reddat, sed indicativo modo dixit reddet. Hic suboritur alia quaestio: Cur Paulus astantibus dixit de Anania: Nescivi fratres, quia princeps est sacerdotum; scriptum est: Principem populi tui non maledices, cum antea ipsi Ananiae dixerat: Percutiet te Dominus, paries dealbate! Tu sedens judicas me secundum legem, et contra legem jubes me percuti? Videtur mentiri. Ac si diceret: 'Non istum scio principem, sed illum unum scio principem omnium, quem in me persequimini, Christum; nam istum non scio principem, qui afforis21 videtur tenere locum judicis, intus est plenus iniquitate [page 239] et malitia.' Unde etiam illi digne Paulus dixit: Percutiet de Dominus, paries dealbate! paries enim dealbatus intus est luteus, foris autem candidus, ac si diceret: sicut parietem dealbatum te cognosco, h. e. sicut diximus, quamquam te foris videam locum judicii tenere, intus tamen plenum iniquitate cerno. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 19, 58, CCSL 35, p. 68]

From this springs up another question in succession: Why Paul said to the men standing near him about Ananias: “I did not realize, brothers, that he is the high priest. After all, it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about the ruler of your people,’” when he himself had said just before to Ananias: God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! How can you sit there and judge me according to the law and yet in violation of the law order me struck?” He would appear to be lying. And if he said: “I do not know that ruler, but only one ruler of us all, whom you persecute in me, the Christ; for I do not know that ruler, who appears to hold the seat of a judge, for inside he is full of unevenness [page 239] and ill will.” About whom Paul also said fittingly: God will strike you, you whitewashed wall, as a whitewashed wall is dirty on the inside but pure white on the outside, as if he had said: I know you to be like a whitewashed wall, this is, like we have said, when I saw you from the outside I saw you hold a seat of justice, while from the inside I know that you are full of unevenness. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c.19,58, CCSL 35, p. 68]19

His autem verbis non excluduntur ecclesiasticae disciplinae, quia magistri ecclesiarum, etsi flagella suis subditis inferunt, non causa invidiae vel odii faciunt; et hoc quia ita est, in patribus possumus cognoscere. Patres enim cum filios suos flagellant, quos per aetates odire non possunt, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 63, CCSL 35, p. 73] non causa odii, sed salutis illorum eos flagellant; nam si viderint, quoslibet volle occidere suos filios, parati sunt, pro suis filiis, quos flagellant, mori. Et sicut non periculosum hoc esse in patribus scimus, hoc etiam in magistris non periculosum esse cognoscimus, quia illi, sicut diximus, non odii causa aut etiam sui causa ulciscendi cupiditatem, sed causa salutis illorum facere student; nam pro illis non solum tanta, verum etiam plura ei, majora parati sunt sustinere. Hi tamen haec possunt exercere absque periculo, qui omne odium et omnem invidiam a cordibus suis expellunt, et tunc, cum ita fecerint, inveniuntur imitatores divinae aequitatis, qui ait: Ego, quos amo, arguo et castigo. [Apc 3:19] Et iterum: Castigat Deus omnem filium, quem recipit. [Hbr 12:6; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 63, CCSL 35, p. 72] Et iterum: Servus, qui non cognoverit voluntatem domini sui et fecerit digna plagis, vapulabit paucis; et, servus, qui cognoverit voluntatem domini sui et fecerit digna plagis, vapulabit multis. [cf. Lc 12:47-48; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 63, CCSL 35, pp. 72-73]

The ecclesiastical disciplines are not excluded of these words, for even if masters of the churches brought the whip upon their subordinates, they would not do it because of envy or hate; and that this is how it is, we may learn from [the example of] fathers. For when fathers whip their sons, whom they cannot hate because of their youth, [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,63, CCSL 35, p. 73]20 they do it not because of hate, but for their own good; for if they were to see that someone would want to kill their sons, they would be prepared to die for their sons whom they are whipping. And as we know that this is not dangerous with the fathers, we also learn that this is not dangerous with the masters, because they, as we have said, they try to do it, not for the reason of hatred or for the lust for revenge, but for the reason of their own good; for they are ready to suffer for their sake not only as much but even more. Nevertheless they can do this without risk, because they expel all hate and envy from their hearts, and upon doing so, they become imitators of divine equity which says: I correct and discipline those I love. [Apc 3:19] And again: For the Lord disciplines [the one he loves and he punishes] every son he accepts. [Hbr 12:6; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,63, CCSL 35, p. 72] And again: The servant who knew what his master wanted but didn’t prepare himself or do what was wanted will receive a severe beating. And the servant who did things deserving a beating without knowing it will receive a light beating. [cf. Lc 12:47-48; cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,63, CCSL 35, pp. 72-73]

Et quid mirum, si sancti flagella ingerunt, cum etiam legantur mortem intulisse in libris maxime veteris Testamenti, sicuti Elias, qui trecentos viros manibus suis occidit et centum igne occidit cum principibus suis... cum principibus suis,22 et Moyses, et Phinees et Matathias et caeteri sancti leguntur mortem intulisse; et in novo Testamento Petrus et Paulus invenitur similiter fecisse. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 64, CCSL 35, 73-74.] Mors enim est separatio animae a corpore sive migratio de hoc saeculo praesente ad [page 240] futurum. Mors autem per se nec bona est nec mala, sed propter adjacentes alias res dicitur aut bona, aut mala esse. Mala enim dicitur esse, sicut est illud: Mors peccatorum pessima; [Ps 33:22] bona autem dicitur, sicut est illud: Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus. [Ps 15:6] Sancti enim pro duobus modis mortem inferunt malis. Primo modo, quia cognoscunt, malos augere vivendo peccata, ideo mortis sententiam in illos inferunt, ut, qui nolunt recedere vivendo a peccatis, saltem per mortem desistant peccare, ne si auxerint vivendo peccata, augeant sibi tormenta perpetua. Altero vero modo inferunt mortem sancti, quia cognoscunt, malos mortem timere, et ob hoc morte condemnant alios, ut viventes, cum vident alios morte esse condemnatos, timore mortis perterriti desistant peccare. Si enim sancti, qui in veteri testamento mortem intulerunt malis, non reprehenduntur, sed magis laudantur, cur apostoli, qui non recepti sunt a civitate, reprehenduntur a Domino, cum peterent ignem de coelo? [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 64, CCSL 35, p. 74]

And no wonder, if holy men wielded whips, when it is read in the books of the Old Testament that they also even inflicted death, like Elijah, who killed three hundred men with his own hands and a hundred with fire with their leaders, and Moses, Phineas and Mattathias and other holy men are read to have caused death; and in the New Testament Peter and Paul can be found to have done the same. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,64, CCSL 35, pp. 73-74]21 For death is the separation of soul from body or migration from this present world to the next. For death in itself is neither good nor evil, but because of other adjoining things is said to be either good or evil. For it is said to be evil, like this: Evil will kill the wicked; [Ps 33:22] but on the other hand, it is said to be good, like this: In the sight of the Lord, the death of his faithful ones is valued. [Ps 15:6] For the holy men brought death upon the wicked in two ways. In the first way, because they recognized that if let live, the wicked will grow in sin, therefore they brought the sentence of death upon them so that they who did not want to stand back from sin while alive, at least in death would cease to sin, for if they increased their sins by staying alive, they would increase their eternal punishment. In the other way the holy men delivered death because they knew that the wicked fear death, and because of this they condemned others [to death], so that the living ones, when they see others condemned to death, they will refrain from sinning, thoroughly terrified by the fear of death. For if the holy men, who in the Old Testament brought death to the wicked, were not reproached, but more likely praised, then why the Apostles were reproached by the Lord, when they asked fire from the sky when they were not permitted entry to a town? [cf. Augustine, op.cit., c.20, 64, CCSL 35, p. 74]22

Legitur enim: Misit nuntios ante, conspectum suum et euntes intraverunt in civitatem Samaritanorum, ut pararent illi, et non receperunt cum, quia facies ejus erat cuntis Jerusalem. Cum vidissent autem discipuli ejus Jacobus et Joannes, dixerunt: Domine, vis, dicimus, ut ignis descendat de coelo et consumat illos? Et conversus increpavit illos et dixit: Nescitis, cujus Spiritus estis; filius hominis, non venit, animas perdere, sed salvare. [Lc 9:52-56] Vel quid est, quod non petras vel aliud quid elementi petierunt, sed ignem? Idcirco ignem petierant, quia cognoverant, Eliam igne centum cum principibus suis occidisse. Sed quam vis opera illius cognoverant, tamen intentionem ipsius, qua hoc fecisset, nescierant. Dominus enim idcirco eos reprehendit, quia non ea intentione ipsi petierant, qua Elias petiit; Elias enim zelo Dei hoc fecerat, apostoli autem non zelo Dei, sed causa ulciscendi, quia non recepti erant.

For it is read: “[So] he sent messengers on ahead of him. On their way they went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. But the people didn’t welcome him, because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw this, they said: “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from the heaven to destroy them, as Elijah did?” But he turned and rebuked them, and said: you do not know what spirit you are of; for the Son of Man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.23 [Lc 9:52-56] But what is that they did not ask for rocks or some other substance, but fire? They asked for fire for the reason because they knew that Elijah slew a hundred men with their leaders with fire. But although they knew his deeds, they did not know his intentions for what he had done them. For the Lord reproached them because they had not asked for it for the same reason as Elijah; for Elijah did it for the zeal of God, whereas the apostles not for the zeal of God, but for the sake of revenge, because they were not welcomed.

Sed tamen apostoli nescientes intentionem Eliae, ideo istud petebant, quia, quamvis Spiritum Sanctum acceperant, tamen ejusdem Spiritus Sancti virtute non erant referti. Decimo vero die post ascensionem Domini acceperunt plenitudinem Spiritus Sancti [page 241] et cognoverunt intentionem Heliae et caeterorum sanctorum, qua intentione mortem malis intulissent. Coeperunt etiam simili modo postea mortem malis inferre, sicuti legitur Petrus fecisse Ananiae et Saphirae, uxori ejus, quos propter fraudem pretii, quod defraudaverat,23 morte condemnavit. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 64, CCSL 35, p. 74]

But nevertheless the apostles, ignorant of Elijah’s intentions, asked for it for the reason that even though they had accepted the Holy Ghost, they nevertheless had not been brought back into the virtue of the same Holy Ghost. For on the tenth day after the ascension of the Lord they accepted the Holy Ghost in its entirety [page 241] and came to know the intentions of Elijah and other holy men for bringing death upon the wicked. In the same way, they began to deal death to the wicked, as it is read that Peter did to Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, whom he condemned to death because of the fraud of the money which they tried to defraud. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c.20, 64, CCSL 35, p. 74]

Paulus autem secundum quorundam sensum de quodam incestore dicit: [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 65, CCSL 35, p. 74] Tradite (tradere) hujusmodi hominem angelo Satanae in interitum carnis, ut spiritus salvus sit in die domini nostri Jesu Christi.24 [1 Cor 5:5; cf. Augustine, loc. cit.] Omnis enim laesio, qua iterum laeditur quis, aut minor est priore aut aequalis aut major.

On the other hand, according to a certain verse, Paul says about an incestuous man: [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 65, CCSL 35, p. 74]24 Hand this man over to the [angel of] Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 Cor 5:5; cf. Augustine, loc. cit.] For every injury, when inflicted again, is either lesser than the former or equal to it or greater.

Per hoc, quod jubetur, percutienti dexteram maxillam praebere sinistram, intelligitur illa laesio, quae minor est, quia dextera maxilla carior habetur, quam sinistra. Et per hoc, quod jubetur, auferenti tunicam dimittere pallium, illa percussio intelligitur, quae aequalis est, quia pallium aequali quantitate est cum tunica; quodsi pallium tunicam praecellat, tamen parum praecellit. Item per angariationem unius milliarii, in qua praecipitur ire duo, intelligitur illa percussio, quae major est. Per percussionem dexterae intelligitur omnis injuria, quae injuste fit; per ablationem autem tunicae intelligitur omnis ablatio, quae ingeniose et callide efficitur. Item per angariationem milliarii intelligitur omnis operatio, quae injuste jubetur. Item omne genus laesionis aut non restituitur aut restituitur aut ex utroque conficitur, i. e. et potest restitui, et non potest restitui. Per percussionem dexterae intelligitur illa laesio, quae restitui non potest; nam quam quam propter satisfactionem furoris repercutiat ille, qui percussus est, tamen ab illo percussio sibi illata non aufertur. Item per praebitionem pallii intelligitur illa laesio, quae restitui potest, verbi gratia si auferatur equus aut possessio aut domus aut aliquid possessionis, potest reddi. Item per angariationem milliarii intelligitur illud genus laesionis, quae restitui potest et non potest, v. gr. si aliquod opus alicui injuste injungitur faciendi,25 [page 242] potest ille, cui injunctum est, si velit, ut illud opus, quod ipse alii fecit, sibi operetur; vel si ita noluerit, potest aliquid pro eodem opere recipere. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 66, CCSL 35, pp. 75-76] In his ergo omnibus generibus injuriarum Dominus docet, patientissimum et misericordissimum et ad plura perferenda paratissimum animum christiani esse debere. [Augustine, op. cit., c. 20, 66, CCSL 35, p. 76]

In this sense, when it is told to offer the left cheek to the one who strikes you on the right, this is understood as a lesser injury, because the right cheek is held dearer than the left. In this sense, when it is told to give the cloak to the one who takes your shirt, this blow is understood as equal, because a cloak is of the same quantity as a shirt; for even though a cloak may surpass a shirt [in quality], it nevertheless does so only by little. Likewise with the forced march of one mile, when it is urged to go two, this blow is understood as greater. Likewise every kind of injury is either restored or not restored or combination of both; that is, it both can be restored and cannot be restored. By the stroke to the right cheek it is understood as an injury which cannot be restored; for even though he who was struck would strike back in order to satisfy his anger, this would not undo the first stroke. Likewise by the giving of the cloak is understood as an injury which can be restored, for example, if a horse or some property or a house or some other property were taken from you, it can be given back. Likewise by the forced march it is understood that kind of injury which both can be restored and cannot be restored, for example, if some work is unjustly imposed upon someone, [page 242] the one who was imposed, if he wanted, could take for himself the [results of the] work, which he had done for the other, for himself; or, if he did not want thus, he could receive something for the same work. [cf. Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,66, CCSL 35, pp. 75-76.]25 In all these classes of injuries, therefore, the Lord teaches that the disposition of a Christian ought to be most patient and compassionate, and thoroughly prepared to endure more. [Augustine, op. cit., c. 20,66, CCSL 35, p. 76.]26

In hoc vero loco, ubi dicitur: angariati milliario vadunt alia duo, ista debet esse discretio: cum enim mitteris foras in obedientia et forte inveneris aliquem in ipsa obedientia, et dixerit tibi, ut dimittas obedientiam tuam et eas cum illo, tu [autem] habe voluntatem, cum illo ire, [et] tamen non debes ire pro obedientia abbatis. Si autem compulerit, ut eas, tunc debes ire.

However, in the place, where it is said: when pressed into service for one mile, they go two, there should be discretion: for when you are sent out on a task and perchance encounter someone while on this task, and he tells you to abandon your task and go with him, and you [moreover] want to go with him, you nevertheless should not go for the obedience of the abbot. But if you are forced, then you should go.

Sequitur: cum Paulo apostolo falsos fratres sustinent et persecutiones, et maledicentes se benedicunt. Si enim Paulus apostolus falsos fratres et persecutiones sustinuit, qui dilectus Deo fuit et praedicator gentium, quanto magis tu debes sustinere falsos fratres et persecutiones, et maledicentes te benedicere?

This is followed by: With the Apostle Paul, they bear with false brothers, endure persecution, and bless those who curse them. For if Apostle Paul, who was dear to God and the preacher of the peoples, bore with false brothers and persecution, how much more you should endure false brothers and persecution, and bless those who curse you?

Milliarium enim mille passibus terminatur et dictum milliarium, quasi mille adium, habens pedum quinque millia; [Isidore, Etymologiae XV, c. 16, n. 2] nam passus quinque pedes habet.

For a mile is completed in a thousand paces, and is called “mile” (milliarium), as if it were a ‘thousand-length’ (mille-adium) having five thousand feet; [Isidore, Etymologiae XV, c. 16, n. 2]27 for a pace has five feet.

1. Venarde (2011, 50) translates “auferenti” here as “the one stealing”, but, considering the litigious context of Mt 5:40, also mentioned by Hildemar, I will translate it here as “the one taking away”.
2. Venarde (2011, 50) translates “sustinent” here as “support”, as his translation of the Rule, following St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 914 (http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/list/one/csg/0914), p. 44, omits “et persecutionem”, which the copyist had interpreted as a later addition (cf. Venarde 2011, 250). However, since Hildemar’s version of the Rule includes this expression, I will translate “sustinent” here as “bear with” or “endure”.
3. Scriptural quotations are here mainly following the International Standard Version.
4. Note that Venarde’s translation of the Rule has already named the subject of this sentence which Hildemar is yet to disclose.
5. Here after Venarde’s translation.
6. From here on, Hildemar’s discussion follows closely to Augustine’s exposition on the Sermon on the Mount (book 1, chapters 19-22). In addition, Hildemar quotes almost all the same Scriptural passages as Augustine. The references to Augustine are cited here as follows: quotations are cited normally, paraphrases with comparison (cf.); and Scriptural quotations (also used by Augustine) primarily to the Bible and secondarily to Augustine.
7. Here quoted after: From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st Series, vol. 6, tr. W. Findlay, ed. P. Schaff (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888), rev. & ed. K. Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/16011.htm
8. Sicut per maxillam – omne opus coactum designatur: paraphrase of Augustine.
9. In multis enim — dextera invenitur: paraphrase of Augustine.
10. Nobilitatem, quae — secundum saeculum est: paraphrase of Augustine.
11. Quia enim non potest - vel sinistra: paraphrase of Augustine.
12. Per faciem enim – cum dicit: paraphrase of Augustine.
13. Caedere enim – cum subjungit: paraphrase of Augustine.
14. Here quoted after: Saint Augustine: Commentary on the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount with Seventeen Related Sermons, The Fathers of the Church, vol. 11, tr. D. J. Kavanagh (O.S.A.), (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1951, repr. 1977).
15. Et quamquam – dignatus est: paraphrase of Augustine.
16. Magis [enim] prophetia – maledictio intelligitur: paraphrase of Augustine.
17. Hoc enim genus – non maledixisse: paraphrase of Augustine.
18. Ubi ostenditur – plena ira diceret: paraphrase of Augustine.
19. Ac si diceret – plenum iniquitate cerno: paraphrase of Augustine.
20. The words cum principibus suis are duplicated in Mittermüller’s edition (p. 239), but not in all of the manuscripts, cf. eg. Paris, BNF Lat. 12637, f. 64v (http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9066143x).
21. Paulus autem – ut spiritus salvus sit: paraphrase of Augustine.
22. Quia enim non potest — vel sinistra: paraphrase of Augustine.
23. Missing part of the verse (Lc 9:55-56) supplemented here from New American Standard Bible.
24. Idcirco ignem petierunt – de quodam incestore dicit: paraphrase of Augustine.
25. Item omne genus laesionis – pro eodem opere recipere: paraphrase of Augustine.
26. Here quoted after Findlay, op. cit.
27. Here quoted after: The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, tr. S. A. Barney et al., Cambridge University Press 2006, XV.xvi.2, 316.


[Ms P, fol. 65rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 148r; Ms E1, fol 71v; Ms E2, fol. 96v]


Translated by: Michael Klaassen

44Quintus humilitatis gradus est, si omnes malas cogitationes cordi suo advenientes vel mala a se absconse commissa per humilem confessionem abbati non celaverit suo.

44The fifth stage of humility is the point at which, through humble confession, he does not hide from his own abbot all the evil thoughts which come to his heart or the evils committed by himself in secret.

Aptum enim et congruum ordinem tenuit B. Benedictus et in hoc loco, cum dicit, quintum gradum esse, peccatorum et cogitationum confessionem esse faciendam, quia, dixerat rem grandem atque valde arduam in eo, quod prius dixerat, primum gradum esse, si timorem Dei et reliqua habuerit monachus, eo quod iste timor servilis trahit hominem ad monasterium, quia cum homo timet poenam perpetuam, venit ad monasterium; ista sana est conversio.

St. Benedict has maintained an appropriate and sensible progression also in this place when he says that it is the fifth stage in which confession of sins and thoughts must be made because he had said that the first stage, which he spoke about earlier, was a serious matter and very difficult in itself, when a monk has the fear of God and so on, to the point that that humble fear draws a man to the monastery. Because when a man fears eternal punishment he comes to a monastery; this is a healthy conversion.

Nam sunt multi, qui non causa timoris poenae,23 sed causa [page 243] necessitatis victus aut potus vel timoris24 veniunt ad monasterium, et quamvis istorum conversio non est sana, i. e. recta, [sed] tamen quandoque miserante Domino fit recta, i. e. incipit a timore et vadit per hos gradus usque ad dilectionem.

For there are many who, not because of the fear of punishment, [page 243] but because of the fear for the necessity of food or drink come to the monastery. And although the conversion of those sorts of people is not healthy, or correct, still sometimes it becomes correct through the compassion of God, that is, it begins from fear and moves through these stages to love.

Et iterum sunt alii, qui non causa timoris poenae perpetuae aut necessitatis aut alicujus rei, sed solius dilectionis Dei,25 quia, sicuti in seculo sunt boni, ita pro amore Dei veniunt ad monasterium.

What is more, there are others who come to the monastery not because of fear of eternal punishment or of survival or of some other thing, but only because of their love of God, since, just as there are good people in the world, thus they come to the monastery out of love of God.

Deinde post timorem subjunxit abrenuntiationem propriarum voluntatum, et postmodum inde subjunxit obedientiam et ipsam obedientiam grandem rem et arduam dixit, cum dicit duris et contrariis rebus, et reliqua. Ideo subjunxit istum quintum gradum humilitatis, ubi de confessione dicit, ut, si aliquid propter magnitudinem rei, quam dixit, excessus fuisset,26 in hoc gradu confiteretur, quasi diceret S. Benedictus: quia rem magnam et arduam dixi, ideo dico nunc de confessione, ut, quod in magnis aut arduis constitutus murmurando aut negligenter agendo excessit, confessione sanetur.

Then, after fear, he commands next the renunciation of one's own wishes and then he commands obedience, and that obedience he says is a serious and difficult thing when he says, “in hard and difficult circumstances” and so on. And so he commanded this fifth stage of humility where he speaks about confession so that, if he has crossed the line in some way because of the magnitude of the thing which he said, he confesses at this stage. It is as though Benedict were saying, “because I said that it (obedience) was a great and difficult thing, I now speak of confession so that that which he has done wrong when placed in great and difficult circumstances by grumbling or acting carelessly, may now be healed through confession.”

Nunc videndum est, quare cum dixit malas, non dixit etiam bonas? Ideo non dicit bonas, quia difficile videtur, si de bonis dixisset, eo quod sunt multi monachi, qui valde sunt solliciti erga servitutem Dei et erga studium spiritale et erga bonas cogitationes, ut, in quantum humana fragilitas sinit, paene omnes cogitationes suas bonas habeant. Deinde, sicut dixi de istis talibus, qui solliciti sunt erga bonas cogitationes, ut omnes cogitationes bonas comprehenderent et eas spiritali patri nuntiarent, altero modo ideo non dixit omnes bonas, quia sunt multi, qui adeo sunt in contemplatione Dei positi et tam bonas cogitationes vident, quas nullomodo possunt verbis explicare, quia, sicut dixi, quamquam vestigia videant, tamen non possunt narrare.

Now we must understand why, when he said “evil thoughts” he did not also say “good thoughts.” He does not say “good thoughts” because it seems a difficult thing, if he had spoken about good (thoughts), since there are many monks who are so zealous towards the service of God and spiritual zeal and good thoughts that, in as much as human fragility allows it, they consider almost all their own thoughts good. Next, just as I said - about those sorts of people who are so zealous towards good thoughts that they gather their good thoughts and announce them to a spiritual father - in another sense he did not say “all good thoughts” because there are many who are so dedicated to the contemplation of God and see good thoughts which cannot be put into words because, just as I said, although they see the traces, they are still unable to describe them.

Iterum videndum est, quare cum dixit malas cogitationes, praemisit omnes? Impossibile videtur. Non est impossibile, [page 244] quia superius reddidit sollicitum B. Benedictus monachum, ut non reciperet malas cogitationes, ubi dixit: 18Nam ut sollicitus sit erga cogitationes suas perversas, dicat semper utilis frater in corde suo; tum immaculatus ero [Ps 18:14] et reliq. Bene dixit, ut non recipiat cogitationes malas, quia, cum in deliberationem non exeunt malae cogitationes, tunc non recipiuntur. Non credidit, ullum monachum adeo recepisse malas cogitationes, ut eas numerare non potuisset.

Now we must understand why, when he said “evil thoughts” he added “all.” It seems impossible. [page 244] But it is not impossible because in a passage above St. Benedict made the monk attentive that he not admit evil thoughts when he said: 18Therefore, in order that he may be careful about his own evil thoughts, let the practical brother always say in his heart: Then I shall be without blemish [Ps 18:14] and so on. It is well that he said, “that he not receive evil thoughts” since, when evil thoughts do not pass into deliberation, they are not then “received.” He did not believe that any monk had “received” so many evil thoughts that he would be unable to enumerate them.

Altero modo ideo praemisit omnes, quia non de omnibus cogitationibus dixit, quae vadunt et veniunt, sed de illis dixit, quae in corde consistunt et habitant, et propterea dixit cordi suo advenientes. Sed iste secundus sensus nobilior est primo.

And he added “all” in another sense, because he did not speak about all thoughts, which come and go, but he spoke about those which remain and dwell in the heart. And for this reason he said “coming into his heart.” Now, that second sense is better than the first.

Nunc autem summopere pensandum est, qualiter intelligendum sit hoc, quod hic dicit: omnes cogitationes suas cordi suo advenientes vel mala a se absconse commissa per humilem confessionem abbati non celaverit suo, et: in inferiori capitulo dicit: Si animae vero peccati causa fuerit lateris, tantum abbati aut spiritalibus senioribus patefaciat, qui sciant curare sua et aliena vulnera non detegere et publicare. [Regula Benedicti, c. 46.5] Valde videtur sibi contrarius in eo, quod hic dicit abbati, et inferius dicit abbati et senioribus spiritalibus. Sunt alii, qui intelligunt, quia cogitationes malas possit monachus ant abbati aut senioribus spiritalibus patefacere, prout vult, opus autem malum a se absconse commissum solummodo abbati debeat confiteri. Et sunt alii, qui dicunt: 'Non est verum, quia in inferiori capitulo dicit: aut abbati aut senioribus spiritalibus tam cogitationes quam opera.' Deinde respondent isti, qui dicunt, ut opus solummodo abbati confiteatur quis: 'Non est verum, quia in illo capitulo inferiore solummodo de cogitationibus dicit et non de opere, sicut et vos dicitis.' Et iterum respondent illi: 'Si illic solummodo de cogitationibus sit intelligendum, quare ei27 dixit in isto quinto gradu cogitationes?' Deinde respondent illi: 'Non est contrarium, quia istae cogitationes et causa latens peccati in unum congruunt, eo quod mos est [page 245] ss. scripturarum, latentem causam pro cogitationibus ponere.

But now, finally, we must investigate in what way this ought to be understood, when he says: “he does not hide from his abbot all the evil thoughts coming into his heart or evils committed by himself in secret.” And in a later chapter he says, “If the soul has some hidden cause of sin, let him confess only to his abbot or spiritual superiors, who know how to take care not to uncover and speak publicly about their own and others' hurts.” [Regula Benedicti, c. 46.5] Indeed, it seems a contradiction that here he says “to his abbot” and later on he says “to the abbot and spiritual superiors.” There are some who understand this to mean that a monk is able, as he wishes, to make known his evil thoughts either to his abbot or to his spiritual superiors, but that he ought to confess an evil deed committed in secret to his abbot alone. And there are others who say, “That is not so, for he says in a later chapter: 'both thoughts and deeds either to the abbot or spiritual superiors.'“ Then those who say that someone should confess a deed only to the abbot respond, “That is not so, because in that later chapter he is speaking only about thoughts and not about a deed, as you claim.” And they, in turn, reply, “If we are to understand only 'thoughts' in that place, why did he says 'thoughts' in this fifth stage?” Then they reply, “There is no contradiction because those thoughts and the hidden cause of sin come together into one, because it is the custom of [page 245] holy scripture to use the term 'secret cause' instead of 'thoughts.'

V. gr. porrexisti aut dedisti alicui non habens licentiam dandi aliquid, sine licentia absconse: quid agendum est tibi pro hac negligentia?' Tu respondes mihi: 'Confiteor hoc aut abbati aut spiritali fratri.' Quare? quia B. Benedictus dicit inferius: Si animae vero peccati causa fuerit latens, tantum abbati aut senioribus spiritalibus patefaciat. Dico tibi: 'Non dicit tibi B. Benedictus de opere commisso, sed de cogitationibus, quia de operibus commissis et absconsis in isto quinto gradu dicitur; ait enim: Quintus humilitatis gradus est, si omnes cogitationes et reliqua.' Respondet:28 'Bene dixi, quia in inferiori capitulo de cogitatione et de opere dicit; nam si solummodo ibi de cogitationibus causa latens est intelligendum, quare hic in isto quinto similiter de cogitationibus etiam dicit?' Respondit:29 'Bene B. Benedictus de cogitationibus in isto quinto gradu dicit, quia cogitatio est peccatum latens secundum morem scripturae divinae; mos est enim scripturae divinae, de peccato, quod in cogitationibus fit, latens peccatum dicere.' Tres quippe mortuos Dominus suscitavit, filiam archisynagogi adhuc in domo jacentem, resuscitavit juvenem, filium viduae, extra portam elatum, resuscitavit Lazarum quadriduanum. Intueatur quisquam animam suam; si peccat, moritur, peccatum enim mors animae est. [cf. Augustinus, In Evangelium Ioannis Tractatus 124, c. 49.3] Per filiam autem archisynagogi intelligitur illud peccatum, quod in cogitatione fit, de qua cogitatione in isto quinto gradu et in inferiori capitulo,30 ubi dicitur si causa latens peccati, unum significans. Per illum vero mortuum, qui est elatus extra portam, significat peccatum perpetratum in opere, sed absconse commissum, unde in hoc quinto gradu dicitur vel mala a se absconse commissa. Et per Lazarum in monumento significat illud peccatum publice cominissum, de quo dicitur: is autem frater, qui gravioris culpae noxa tenetur et reliqua. [Regula Benedicti, c. 45.1]

For example, you offered and gave something to someone when you had no permission to give it, without permission and secretly. What must you do for this misstep? You answer me: 'I confess it either to the abbot or a spiritual brother.' Why? Because St. Benedict says below, 'If the soul has a hidden cause of sin, let him confess it only to the abbot or spiritual superiors.' I say to you that St. Benedict is not speaking to you about a committed act, but about thoughts, because he speaks of committed and hidden deeds in the fifth stage, for he says, 'The fifth stage of humility is when all thoughts' and so on.” He replies, “I spoke correctly that he speaks in the following chapter about thought and deed, for if 'a hidden cause' is to be understood there only about thoughts, why here in this fifth chapter does he speak in the same way about thoughts?” He replies, “St. Benedict speaks correctly about thoughts in the fifth stage because a thought is a hidden cause, according to the custom of holy scripture, for it is the custom of holy scripture to name a sin which occurs in thoughts 'a hidden cause.' The Lord raised up three dead people: the daughter of the chief of the synagogue, still lying in her bed; he raised up the young man, the some of the widow who had been carried out of the door; and he raised up Lazarus on the fourth day. Let anyone look to his own soul; if he should sin, he dies, for sin is the death of the soul. [cf. Augustinus, In Evangelium Ioannis Tractatus 124, c. 49.3] Now, in the daughter of the chief of the synagogue is understood that sin which occurs in thought, about which thought (he speaks) in this fifth stage and in the chapter below, where it is said, “if there is a hidden cause of sin,” indicating one thing. But in that dead man who was carried outside the door, it signifies a sin committed in deed, but done secretly by him, which is what is meant in this fifth stage”or evils committed by him in secret.” And in Lazarus in the tomb it signifies that sin committed in public, about which it is said, But that brother, who is held by the sickness of a more grievous fault and so on. [Regula Benedicti, c. 45.1]

Nunc videndum est, quare, cum dicit [page 246] confessionem, praemisit humilem? videlicet pro duobus modis; uno enim modo dixit humilem, quia vult, ut ita sordide debeat illas nuntiare et manifestare abbati, sicut cogitavit; nam sunt multi, qui causa suae turpitudinis nolunt illas cogitationes ita sordide manifestare abbati, sed palliant illas verbis et cooperiunt et dicunt: ideo haec fecimus, ne ille31 prior vereatur audire. Isti tales nesciunt recognoscere suam turpitudinem et mittunt in illum priorem, ne videantur ei turpia dicere. Et iterum sunt alii, qui, sicut cogitant sordide, ita illas sordide dicunt abbati, et tamen optant, ut ille abbas non intelligat, quia ideo dicunt, non ut ille credat eos tales cogitationes cogitare, sed causa humilitatis putet illos dicere. Isti tales et illi superiores non per humilem confessionem confitentur peccata sua, cum isto modo confitentur. Item sunt alii, qui sicut sordide cogitant, ita sordide manifestant abbati suo et ita volunt, ut abbas intelligat, sicut ipsi manifestant sordide; isti sunt perfecti.

Now we must investigate why, when he says [page 246] confession he calls it humble. Clearly in two ways. In one way he said “humble” because he means that he ought to announce and reveal those thoughts to the abbot just as basely as he thought them. For there are many who, because of their own disgracefulness, do not want to reveal those thoughts to the abbot, but they cloak them with words, and cover them over and say, “I have done this lest my superior be afraid when he hears it.” These sorts of people do not know how to recognize their disgracefulness and they put the blame on the superior,1 lest they seem to say foul things to him. And again there are others who say those thoughts to the abbot as basely as they think them, and yet they hope that the abbot does not understand that they speak this way not so that he might believe that they think such thoughts, but that he might think that they speak out of humility. These sorts of people and those mentioned above do not confess their sins “through humble confession” when they confess in this way. And then there are others who reveal their thoughts to the abbot just as basely as they thought them. And they wish that the abbot understand just as they reveal them. These are perfect.

Item sunt alii, qui sicut sordide cogitant, ita sordide manifestant et volunt etiam plus dicere, quam possunt, eo quod tales cogitationes malae aliquando ita sordidae veniunt, quae verbis explicari non possunt, et volunt etiam, ut non solum intelligat ita abbas, sicuti manifestant, verum etiam volunt, ut plus intelligat; isti tales plus sunt quam perfecti. Item altero modo humilis confessio est, quae cum lacrimis aut suspiriis fit.

And then there are others who reveal as basely as they think, and want to say even more than they are able because such evil thoughts sometimes are so base that they cannot be explained with words. And they also wish not only that the abbot understand just as they reveal, but they also wish that he understand more. These sorts are more than perfect. Likewise, in a second way, a confession which occurs with tears and sobs is humble.

Sequitur: 45Hortat nos de hac re scriptura divina dicens: Revela Domino viam tuam et spera in eo. [Ps 36:5] Quia voluit B. Benedictus, ut credatur illi de confessione priori suo facienda, ideo haec exempla subjungere studuit. Nunc videndum est, quare propheta dixit Revela Domino viam tuam, cum Domino omnia nuda et aperta sint? Non ideo dixit Revela viam tuam, i. e. actionem et cogitationem, ut ille per tuam revelationem cognoscat, cum scriptum est, sicut superius dictum est de illo: scrutans corda et renes Deus, [Ps 7:10] sed ideo dicit Revela Domino viam tuam, i. e. [page 247] poenitentiam actuum vel cogitationum tuarum Domino manifesta, hoc est, emendationem peccatorum tuorum Domino revela, i. e. coram Domino praeterita plange et lugenda non committas. Revela, i. e. demonstra aut aperi, quasi diceret: ut sicut ille cognovit peccatum tuum, ita etiam cognoscat per poenitentiam emendationem tuam.

There follows: 45Holy scripture urges us about this matter saying: Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in him. [Ps 36:5] Since St. Benedict wished that he be trusted in the matter of making confession to a superior, he desired to append these examples. Now we must ask why the prophet said, Reveal your way to the Lord, when to the Lord all things are bare and opened? He did not say, “Reveal your way,” that is, “your action and your thought,” so that he might understand through your revelation, when it is written, just as was said above about him, God who sees minds and hearts, [Ps 7:10] but rather he says “Reveal your way to the Lord,” that is to say, [page 247] “make known to the Lord your penitence for your actions and thoughts,” that is, “reveal to the Lord the correction of your sins,” that is, “lament past (sins) before the Lord, and do not be guilty of (sins) which must be lamented.” “Reveal,” that is, “point out or open up,” as if he were saying, “just as he has understood your sin, let him likewise understand your correction through penitence.”

Sequitur: et spera in eo. Quid est: spera in eo? Subandiendum est: misericordiam de peccatis tuis, quae confiteris; noli desperare confiteri, sed spera de remissione peecatorum tuorum in Domino. Propheta autem subsequitur dicens: et ipse faciet, — subaudiendum est: misericordiam tibi de peccatis tuis.

There follows: “and hope in him.” What does “hope in him” mean? We must understand in this passage “(hope for) pity for your sins, which you confess; do not despair of confession, but hope for the remission of your sins in the Lord.” Now the prophet follows this up saying, “and he himself will do it.” We must understand “(hope for) pity for your own sins.”

Sequitur: 46Et item dicit: Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus, quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus. [Ps 117:1] Nosse enim debemus, quia confitemini aequivocum est, i. e. et in laude et pro confessione peccatorum ponitur. Pro laude, ut est illud: Confiteor tibi Pater, Domine coeli et terrae et reliqua. [Lc 19:21] Hic confiteor pro laude ponitur, ac si diceret: laudo, te, Pater, Domine coeli et terrae. Pro confessione vero peccatorum ponitur, sicuti est illud: Confitemini alterutrum peccata vestra. [Iac 5:15] Ponitur etiam pro credulitate, ut est illud: Confiteor unum baptisma [Necean Creed]; et Paulus dicit: Corde creditur ad justitiam; ore autem confessio fit ad salutem. [Rm 10:10] In hoc enim loco pro confessione peccatorum ponitur, quasi interrogasset prophetam dicens: 'Quare debeo confiteri?' Ille autem respondens dicit: 'quoniam bonus.' Iterum quasi interrogasses illum: 'Quomodo est bonus?' Ille autem respondens dicit: 'quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.' Saeculum quod nominat, de praesenti saeculo dicit, quia in praesenti saeculo misericordia ejus; in futuro vero tantum judicium, sicut alibi ipse propheta dicit: Misericordiam et judicium cantabo tibi Domine. [Ps 100:1]

There follows: 46and he says likewise, Confess to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy is in the world. [Ps 117:1] For we ought to know that “confess” is equivocal, that is, it is used both in praise and in the confession of sins. For praise it is used as follows: “I confess to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” and so on. [Lc 19:21] Here “I confess” is used for praise, as if he were saying, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” But for confession of sins it is used as follows: “Confess your sins to one another.” [Iac 5:15] It is also used for belief, as follows: “I confess one baptism,” and Paul says, “One believes with the heart for justification, but confession for salvation comes from the mouth.” [Iac 5:15] In this place it is used for confession of sins, as if he had asked the prophet saying, “Why ought I to confess?” And he says in response, “Since He is good.” Again as if you had asked him, “How is he good?” And he says in response, “Since his mercy is in the world.” When he names “the world” he speaks of the present world, since his mercy is in the present world, but in the future there is only judgment, as elsewhere the prophet says, “I will sing to you, Lord, of your mercy and judgment.” [Ps 100:1]

Sequitur: 47Et item propheta ait: Delictum meum cognitum tibi feci et injustitias meas non operui. [Ps 31:5] Delictum et injustitias pro uno ponitur. Non operui, i. e. non abscondi, non celavi; nam ille abscondit peccatum, qui nec peccatum suum punit, nec vult, ut Deus puniat illud. [page 248]

There follows: 47and the prophet also says, I have made my offense known to you, and I have not covered my injustices. [Ps 31:5] “Offense” and “injustices” are used in the same way. “I have not covered” means “I have not concealed” or “I have not hidden.” For that man conceals his sin who neither punishes his sin nor wishes that God punish it. [page 248]

Sequitur: 48Dixi: Pronuntiabo adversum me injustitias meas Domino, et Tu remisisti impietatem cordis mei. [Ps 31:5] Quid est dixi? i. e. statui, deliberavi. Quid est pronuntiabo? i. e. annuntiabo vel manifestabo; adversum me, h. e. contra me, quasi diceret: 'Tantae es tu Deus pietatis, ut ante dimitteres peccatum meum mihi, quam ego facerem confessionem; ego enim non adhuc feci, sed tantum statui, me facere confessionem, et Tu dimisisti peccatum meum mihi.'

There follows: 48I have said, I will proclaim my injustices to the Lord in opposition to myself, and You have restored the impiety of my heart. [Ps 31:5] What does “I have said” mean? It means, “I have ordained” or “I have determined.” What does “I will proclaim” mean? it means, “I will announce” or “I will disclose.” “In opposition to myself” means “against myself” as if he were saying, “You are a God of such great faithfulness that you would forgive me my sin before I make confession. For I have not yet done it, but have only decided to make a confession, and you have forgiven my sin.”

1. Mittelmüller reads “mittunt in illum priorem”, but Montecassino 1880 reads “mittunt culpam in illo Priore”. The translation follows the latter reading.


[Ms P, fol. 66rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 152r; Ms E1, fol. 73v; Ms E2, fol. 99r]


Translated by: Belle Tuten

49Sextus humilitatis gradus est, si omni vilitate vel extremitate contentus sit monachus, et ad omnia, quae sibi injunguntur, velut operarium malum se judicet et indignum 50dicens sibi cum propheta: Ad nihilum redactus sum et nescivi. [Ps 72:22]

49The sixth step of humility is that a monk be content with all lowliness and meanness, and judge himself to be a poor and worthless worker in all the tasks given to him, 50saying to himself with the Prophet: I am reduced to nothing and I know nothing [Ps 73:22]

Postquam B. Benedictus docuerat superius, in ipsa obedientia dura et contraria debere sustinere monachum, et non lassescat vel discedat, deinde in quinto gradu dixit, omnes cogitationes cordi suo advenientes et absconse a se malum commissum debere abbati suo confiteri, recte nunc dicit, sextum humilitatis gradum esse, si monachus contentus est omni vilitate et extremitate, quia adeo est ille mortificatus, si in ipsa obedientia dura et contraria sustinet et non lassescat vel discedat, et si omnes cogitationes suas vel mala sua opera a se absconse commissa abbati suo confitetur, ut possit Domino juvante omni vilitate et extremitate esse contentus; nam nequaquam poterit omni vilitate vel extremitate esse contentus, nisi prius non erubuerit peccata sua confiteri.

After the blessed Benedict wrote above [in the fourth step] that a monk ought to sustain hardship and adversity in obedience itself and not grow tired or run away, he said in the fifth step that a monk ought to confide to his abbot all the thoughts that come to his heart and anything wicked he has done in secret from him. Now he rightly says the sixth step of humility is that if a monk is content with all lowliness and meanness so that he is thereby mortified, if he sustains hardship and adversity in obedience itself and does not grow tired or run away, and if he confesses to his abbot all his thoughts and all the evil things he does in secret, then he can, God willing, be content with all lowliness and meanness. For he can in no way be content with all lowliness and meanness unless first he has not been ashamed to confess his sins.

Nunc videndum est, quid sit vilitas vel extremitas. Vilitas attinet ad cibum vel potum et vestitum, calciamentum, ad lectum vel etiam ad habitationem; istud enim vel, quod interposuit inter vilitalem et extremitatem, simpliciter pro 'et' ponitur. Ideo dixit omni, ut non solum in uno loco sit extremus, hoc est ultimus, sed in omni loco, hoc est in choro standum,32 in capitulo, in refectorio et in ceteris aliis locis.

Now it should be seen what “lowliness” (vilitas) and “meanness” (extremitas) are. “Lowliness” concerns food, drink, clothing, shoes, bed and even dwelling; this or (vel) that he placed between lowliness and meanness is simply in place of “and.” Therefore he said all, meaning that it should not be only in one place, that is, the last place, but in all places, that is, standing in the choir, in the chapter house, in the refectory and in all other places.

Possunt etiam multi viles [page 249] esse et non extremi. Item possunt esse extremi et non viles, v. gr. possunt quidem viles esse cibo, potu et vestimento contenti, sed tamen honorati volunt esse in ordine. Isti tales non sunt perfecte mortificati. Et iterum possunt alii esse extremi, sed non possunt esse viles; isti tales non sunt perfecte mortificati; v. gr. si abbas jusserit praeposito, ut sedeat in ultimo loco, et ille cum tristitia ierit, praevaricator hujus praecepti est, et quia praevaricator hujus praecepti est, perfectus monachus non est. Et bene dixit: omni vilitate vel extremitate, quia animum comprebendit et corpus, i. e. sicut in corpore existit vilis vel extremus, ita debet esse et in mente. Nam si in corpore videtur vilis et extremus et non in mente, jam non est monachus, sed hypocrita.

Many people can be lowly but not mean. It is also possible to be mean and not lowly. For example, certain lowly monks can be content in food, drink and clothing, but nevertheless wish to be honored in rank. Such as these are not perfectly humbled. And again, others may also be mean, [page 249] but not lowly; these are not perfectly humbled. For example, if the abbot commands the prior to sit in the last place, and he goes forth with sadness, he is breaking the command, and because he does so, he is not a perfect monk. And [Benedict] also rightly said in all lowliness and meanness because he included the spirit and the body, that is, as [a man] is low and mean in the body, he should also be so in his soul. For if one seems lowly and mean in body but not in spirit, then he is not a monk but a hypocrite.

Sequitur: et ad omnia, quae sibi injunguntur, velut operarium malum se judicet et indignum. Vide modo, non dixit quaedam, sed omnia. In hoc loco, cum dixit omnia, non excludit aliquid, sed in omnibus obedientiis, hoc est tam honestis quam vilissimis, tam maximis quam minimis; etiamsi secessum jubeatur mundare aut aliquid rustice operari, ita se debet aestimare, sicut ille, qui a furca redimitur vel a periculo mortis. Cum aliquid imperatur a domino suo, qui eum redemit, non audet dicere suo domino, se nolle, si aliqua vilissima opera imperat agere, obaudire: ita non debet monachus abbati suo dicere: quia nolo, vel: non debeo hoc agere, cum aliquid imperatur, etiam si vilissimum opus sit, quod exercere imperatur, sed velut inilignum se debet aestimare ad talem obedientiam agendam, i. e. non esse dignum tali obedientia, sed pejore et viliore.

It goes on: and judge himself to be a poor and worthless worker in all the tasks given to him. See now that he did not say “certain tasks” but all. In this place, when he said all, he did not exclude anything, but included all obedience, both honorable and lowly, the greatest or the least. Even if he is ordered to clean the privy or do something like a peasant, [a monk] should consider himself as one who is redeemed from the gallows or the peril of death. When anyone receives an order from his lord who has redeemed him, he does not dare to say to his lord that he does not want obey, even if he orders him to do very menial labor. Likewise, a monk should not say “No” or “I should not have to do that” when someone gives him an order, even if the work he is ordered to do is very menial, but ought to consider himself unworthy of such obedience, that is, worthy not of such a task, but a worse and more lowly one.

Sequitur: dicens sibi cum propheta: Ad nihilum redactus sum et nescivi. Et cum dicit dicens sibi, subaudiendum est: suo cordi, h. e. illi cogitationi, quae surgit in corde suo: non debes talem obedientiam exercere, quia valde vilis est et rustica haec obedientia; meliorem enim obedientiam debes tu agere. Haec autem vox, qua dicitur: ad nihilum redactus sum, non solum ad monachos, sed etiam ad omnes homines attinet, quia homo, postquam expulsus [page 250] est de paradiso et missus in hoc exilium, ad nihilum redactus est; non enim dico, ad nihilum redactus esse per substantiam, sed quia bonum perdidit, quo in paradiso fruebatur cum angelis, quasi ad nihilum redactus est, et ideo, cum aliquid boni agit, debet ad memoriam revocare bonum, quod merito suo in paradiso perdidit, et malum, quod justo judicio Dei in hoc exilio invenit, dicens sibi cum propheta: Ad nihilum redactus sum et nescivi, h. e. tibi Deus mens gratias ago, quia hoc bonum, quod ago, non meo merito, sed tuo dono atque misericordia facio; nescivi enim cum dicit, subaudiendum est: precari vel rogare, ut ad hoc bonum faciendum pervenirem. Ad monachos etiam attinet, sicut diximus, in eo, cum so aestimant omni vilitate vel extremitate debere esse contentos, quia pro Christi nomine susceperunt quasi ad nihilum esse redacti, ac si diceret aliis verbis, cum sibi vilissima obedientia injungitur, sicut diximus superius.

It goes on: saying to himself with the prophet, I am reduced to nothing and I know nothing. And when he says saying to himself, it is to be understood “to his heart,” that is, to this thought, which arises in his heart: “You should not have to do that task, because it is so very lowly and common (rustica); you should do better work.” The other phrase, which says I am reduced to nothing, applies not just to monks but to all men, because man, after he was expelled [page 250] from paradise and sent into this exile, is reduced to nothing. I do not say, though, reduced to nothing in substance, but because he lost the blessing he enjoyed in paradise with the angels, it was as if he were reduced to nothing. And therefore, when he does anything good, he ought to remember the blessing he lost in paradise by his own merit and the evil which by the just judgment of God he found in this exile, saying with the prophet: I am reduced to nothing and I know nothing. That is, he ought to say, “I give thanks to you, my God, because this good that I do, I do not by my merit but by your gift and your mercy.” When he says I know nothing, it means to pray and ask that I might reach this good thing that should be done. This pertains to monks, as we have said, in this way, when they think they should be content to with all lowliness and meanness, because they have undertaken to be reduced as if to nothing in the name of Christ, and if [a monk] were to say in other words, when he was ordered to the most lowly of tasks, [it is] as we said above.

Sequitur: 50ut jumentum factus sum apud te, et ego semper tecum. [Ps 72:23] Quis hoc dicit? Purpuratus hoc dicit, in solio sedebat, qui hoc dicit, in eminentiori loco sedebat, qui hoc dicit, rex erat, qui hoc dicit; David enim, quamqmam rex erat, tamen Dei jumentum se esse aestimabat, eo quod Deum sessorem habebat, quia ad illius nutum terrena disponebat. Et bene dixit : et ego semper tecum, i. e. ubi Tu me ducis, tecum sum. In hoc enim loco, cum David rex se aestimabat jumentum Dei esse, cognoscitur, quia, sicut Augustinus dicit, aliquando solet esse superbia sub pediculis et sub cilicio, et econtrario humilitas sub genimis et vestibus regiis.

It follows: 50I became a beast of burden before you and I am always with you. [Ps 72:23] Who says this? A ruler says this. He sat on the throne, he who says this; he sat in a very high place, he who says this; he was a king, he who says this. But David, although he was a king, nevertheless considered himself to be God’s beast of burden, because God was seated on him, because he had given earthly matters to his command. And he rightly said, and I am always with you, that is, “Where you lead me, I am with you.” In this place, when King David considered himself God’s beast of burden, it is understood that, as Augustine says, sometimes there is a pride under lice and a hairshirt, and on the contrary, humility under jewels and royal vestments.

Bene hoc attinet ad monachos, quia jumentum, quo ducitur a suo domino, vadit et non resistit; si non dederit ei manducare, non queritur illud, et si ligaverit illud suus dominus usque ad mortem, ibi permanet: ita et monachus sicut jumentum debet esse suo abbati, sicut S. Benedictus dicit, h. e. quo illum duxerit suus abbas, non debet resistere, sed ire, et quamcumque obedientiam illi injunxerit, debet suscipere, et non debet murmurare, et ad libitum, h. e. voluntatem sui abbatis debet per omnia [page 251] agere. Deinde debet gratias agere Deo dicens: 'Gratias Tibi ago, Deus, quia me tuum jumentum facere dignatus es, eo quod Te habeo sessorem et rectorem et in Tua vice habeo super me abbatem, praepositum, decanum et reliquos.' Et ego semper tecum, subaudiendum est sum; jumentum enim si sine rectore vadit, et in ruinam et in praecipitium vadit, ego autem si Te habuero rectorem, non vado iu praecipitium. Vide modo, quanti monachi sunt in monasterio; ecce sunt centum monachi, et de his centum monachis quaere tibi, si potes, unum talem invenire, qui per omnia, ad nutum abbatis sui existat et sicut jumentum vadit ad nutum sessoris sui. Et hoc animadvertendum est, quia pro omnibus, quae in istis gradibus continentur, si ille monachus non villi; agere, debet constringi et regularem disciplinam suscipere propter illud, quod inferius dicit B. Benedictus: aut si in aliquo contrarius cxistens sacrae regulue etc. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 23:1]

This applies well to monks, because a beast of burden goes where it is led by its master and does not resist; if he does not give it anything to eat, it does not complain, and if its master ties it up to the point of death, it stays there. This is the way a monk ought to be like a beast of burden to his abbot, as St. Benedict says, that is, where his abbot leads him, he ought not to resist but go, and whatever task he orders him to do, he ought to undertake and not murmur; that is, he ought to do the pleasure, that is, the will of his abbot in [page 251] all things. Then he should give thanks to God saying, “Thanks be to you, God, for you have deemed it worthy to make me your beast of burden, so that I have you as a rider and guide and I always have the abbot, prior, deacon and the others over me in your place.” And “I am” is to be understood with always with you; for if a beast of burden goes along without a guide and falls into ruin and a precipice, if I have you as my guide, I do not go into the precipice.” Look now how many monks there are in a monastery. Here are one hundred monks, and of these one hundred monks, see if you can find one among who lives at his abbot’s will in all things and goes forth like a beast of burden at the command of his rider. And this ought to be observed: if a monk does not wish to do all the things that are in these steps, he ought to be constrained and undergo regular discipline for it, which St. Benedict describes below: or is contrary in any way to this holy rule, etc. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 23.1].


[Ms P, fol. 66vPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 154v; Ms E1, fol. 75r; Ms E2, fol. 101r]


Translated by: Jesse D. Billett

51Septimus humilitatis gradus est, si omnibus se inferiorem et viliorem non solum sua lingua pronuntiet, sed etiam intimo cordis credat affectu, 52humilians se et dicens cum propheta: Ego autem sunt vermis et non homo, opprobrium hominum et abjectio plebis. [Ps 21:7]

51The seventh step of humility is that [a monk] not only declare with his tongue that he is lower and meaner than all, but also that he believe it with the inward disposition of his heart, 52humbling himself, and saying with the prophet: But I am a worm, and not a man; a reproach of men, and an outcast of the people. [Ps 21:7]

Quia B. Benedictus jam superius dixerat, sextum gradum humilitatis esse, 49omni vilitate vel extremitate contentum debere esse monachum, recte nunc septimum humilitatis gradum esse, se omnibus inferiorem vel viliorem non solum sua lingua pronuntiare debere, sed etiam intimo cordis affectu credere debere, quia sicut in ostensione operis ostendit se vilem et extremum, ita etiam intimo affectu cordis credat, non lingua sua solummodo pronuntiet, esse inferiorem et viliorem propter Deum. Inferiorem, i. e. deteriorem merito suo. Bene ac vigilanter addidit in hoc loco S. Benedictus intimo cordis affectu, ut ne quis pro vana gloria se facere vilem et extremum velit.

For blessed Benedict had already said that the 49sixth step of humility is that a monk ought to be content with the lowest and most menial treatment, and it logically follows that the seventh step of humility is that a monk ought not only to declare with his tongue that he is lower and meaner than all, but also ought to believe it with the inward disposition of his heart. For just as he shows himself worthy of the lowest and most menial treatment by how he carries out the work assigned to him,1 so also let him believe with the inward disposition of his heart, and not merely declare with his tongue, that he is lower and meaner [than all] before God. Lower, that is, deserving worse [than all]. In this place holy Benedict rightly adds with the inward disposition of his heart, lest anyone should wish to make himself mean and base for the sake of vain glory.

Nunc videndum est, quomodo possit monachus se inferiorem et viliorem omnibus credere. Difficile hoc videtur in eo, cum sunt alii monachi mortificati et perfecti et e contrario sunt [page 252] alii mali homines, v. gr. adulteri, homicidae, fures et; reliq. Quomodo ergo possunt isti boni se aestimare inferiores et viliores illis malis? Vere possunt, si ista consideraverint, i. e. judicia Dei incomprehensibilia et finem suum et illorum malorum, necnon etiam peccata latentia in se et bona latentia in malis.

Now we must see how a monk can believe that he is lower and meaner than all. This seems like a difficult thing when, on the one hand, there are some monks who are dead to sin (mortificati) and are mature, while on the other hand, there are [page 252] others who are bad men: adulterers, for example, murderers, thieves, and such like. How therefore can the good men reckon themselves to be lower and meaner than those bad men? Truly they can, if they will consider the incomprehensible judgements of God, and their own end and the end of those wicked men, and likewise also the hidden sins within themselves and the hidden good things in the bad men.

Judicia quippe Dei considerent, quia sunt multi, qui fuerunt mali et in fine comprobati sunt boni, sicut Paulus apostolus, et e contrario multi visi fuerunt boni et in fine inventi sunt mali, sicut Judas et ceteri alii; judicium enim Dei attinet ad finem, et hoc est terribile, cum multi videntur mali, et destinati sunt boni, et iterum multi videntur boni, qui destinati sunt ad mortem. Haec judicia admirabatur David, cum dicebat: Venite et videte opera Domini, quam terribilis in consiliis! ubi? super filios hominum. [Ps 65:5]

Just let them consider the judgements of God: for there have been many who have been bad and who in the end have been approved of as good, like the apostle Paul; and on the other hand, there are many who have seemed to be good and who in the end have been found out as bad, like Judas, and others besides. For the judgement of God concerns itself with the end [of a man]; and this is a fearful thing, since many seem to be bad that are [in fact] destined for good, and again many seem to be good that are [in fact] destined for death. David wondered at these judgements when he said: O come and see the works of the Lord, how terrible he is in his counsels! where? over the sons of men. [Ps 65:5]

In eo, sicuti diximus: Dei judicio occulto boni designantur merito aliquo, quod non comprebendi potest, ad mortem, et mali occulto judicio Dei sua misericordia praedestinantur ad vitam. Deinde debet monachus considerare finem suum et finem illorum bonorum,33 ne forte videantur esse boni et in fine inveniantur mali; et ipse quidem monachus illorum malorum finem consideret, quamvis illi sint mali, forte in fine inveniuntur boni. Et iterum latentia peccata sua; forte in se sunt mala latentia, quae, quamvis sibi sint incognita, tamen Deo patent. Et iterum debet considerare bona, quae forte in illis sunt latentia, quae, quamvis sibi sint incognita, tamen Deo patent. Ista judicia Dei David dicit esse incomprehensibilia, eo quod comprehendi, i. e. intelligi, quare ista fiant, minime possunt.

So, as we have said, in the secret judgement of God, good men, for some fault or other that cannot be perceived, are marked for death; and bad men, in the secret judgement of God, are predestined, in his mercy, to life. And after [considering this], a monk ought to consider his own end, and the end of those [seemingly] good men, whether perchance they should seem to be good but in the end be found out as bad. And let the same monk consider, too, the end of those [seemingly] bad men: however bad they may be, perhaps in the end they are found out as good. And again [let him consider] his own hidden sins: perchance there are bad things hidden in himself, which, however much they are unknown to him, nevertheless lie open to God.2 And again he ought to consider the good things that perchance are hidden in those [bad men], which, however much they are unknown to him [or to them?], nevertheless lie open to God. David says that these judgements are incomprehensible,3 which is to say, that the reason why such things should be done cannot be comprehended, that is, understood.

Istud vero, quod dicit: Ego sum vermis, et non homo, [Ps 21:7] vox Christi est. Bene Christus vermi comparatur, i. e. assimilatur, quia, sicut vermis non nascitur de coitu, sed de sola terra, [cf. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XII, x. 5.1] ita et Christus non natus est de coitu viri et feminae, sed de sola Beata et semper Virgine Maria. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in psalmos 21:7, CCSL 38, p. 125] Et non homo, ac si dicat ipse Christus: 'De virgine natus sum, non de coitu, sicut homo; et non sum peccator, quia [page 253] de virgine genitus sum, et non homo, i. e. sicuti homo, qui in iniquitatibus conceptus est et in peccatis natus.' [cf. Ps 50:7]

Now when he says: I am a worm, and not a man, [Ps 21:7] this is the voice of Christ. Christ may fittingly be compared, that is, considered as similar, to a worm, for a worm is not born as the result of sexual congress, but from the earth alone, [cf. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XII, c. 5.1] just as Christ was not born from the sexual congress of a man and a woman, but from the blessed and ever-virgin Mary alone. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in psalmos 21:7, CCSL 38, p. 125]4 And not a man: it is as if Christ should say, ‘I was born of a virgin, not from sexual congress as a man is; and I am not a sinner, [page 253] because my generation was of a virgin; and I am not a man – that is, I am not like a man that is conceived in iniquities and born in sins.’ [cf. Ps 50:7]

Sequitur: opprobrium hominum et abjectio plebis. Et hoc ad Christum bene, attinet, quia Christus [enim] pro salute nostra oppiobrium fuit hominum et abjectio plebis. Tunc autem fuit opprobrium hominum, quando ei Judaei pro nimia despectione exspuebant in faciem; et tunc fuit abjectio plebis, quando projecerunt et abjecerunt eum Judaei dicentes: Jesum crucifige et Barrabam nobis dimitte. [cf. Lc 23:18; Mt 27:21-22]

It goes on: a reproach of men, and an outcast of the people. And this, too, pertains well to Christ, for he became for our salvation a reproach of men, and an outcast of the people. He became a reproach of men when, in proportion with their exceeding contempt, the Jews spat in his face; and he became an outcast of the people when the Jews threw him down and cast him out, saying, Crucify Jesus, and release to us Barabbas. [cf. Lc 23:18; Mt 27:21-22].

Hoc etiam bene attinet ad monachos, quod dicit: Ego sum vermis; in creaturis enim nulla creatura excelsior angelo, et nulla vilior et inferior vermi. Monachus enim sicuti vermem debet se semper aestimare, hoc est, sicut in creaturis rerum nihil est extremius, sicut vermis, ita et monachus omnibus hominibus se esse viliorem et inferiorem aestimare et credere debet. Et non homo, i. e. alicujus honoris, sicuti homo, quasi diceret: 'vilior et inferior omnibus sum, sicuti vermis, et non sum alicujus honoris et dignitatis, veluti homo.' Opprobrium et despectionem plebis se esse credat, i. e. ita vilissimum et indignissimum, sicuti res, quae despicabilis valde est et nullis honoranda.

When he says, I am a worm, it pertains also to monks. For among creatures there is no creature higher than an angel, and none meaner and lower than a worm. A monk should always judge his own value to be that of a worm, which is to say that, just as among created things nothing is so utterly base as a worm, so a monk must judge and believe that he is meaner and lower than all. And not a man: that is, ‘I do not have the nature of something of honour, as a man has’; as if he were saying, ‘I am meaner and lower than all like a worm, and I do not have the nature of something worthy of honour, even as a man has.’ [A monk] ought to believe that he is a reproach and a thing despised of the people, that is, that he is very mean and unworthy, like a thing that is truly contemptible and by no means to be honoured.

Sequitur: 53Exaltatus sum et humiliatus et confusus. [Ps 87:16] Exaltatus in eo, quod honoratus fui in saeculo per superbiam atque jactantiam; humiliatus nunc sum, quia subditus sum abbati et aliis fratribus; et confusus sum, quia verecundor et erubesco de peccatis, quae gessi. Quod monachus debet dicere.

It goes on: 53I was lifted up, and humbled, and put to confusion. [Ps 87:16] I was lifted up in that I was honoured in the world through pride and boasting. I have been humbled, because I have put myself under the abbot and the other brethren. And I have been put to confusion, because I am ashamed and blush at the sins that I have committed. This is what a monk ought to say.

Sequitur: 54Bonum mihi, quod humiliasti me, ut discam mandata tua. [Ps 118:71] Ista enim vox afflictorum est et oppressorum; illi enim dicunt Deo: 'Gratias agimus tibi, Deus, quia cum incolumes fuimus, non discebamus mandata tua; nunc vero afflicti cognoscimus peccata nostra et discimus mandata tua.' Ad monachos vero attinet in eo, quod monachi, quia sub potestate aliorum consistunt, quasi afflicti sunt et dicunt ipsi: 'Gratias agimus tibi Deus, quia, cum fuimus in saeculo, non cognoscebamus nec discebamus mandata tua; nunc autem in potestatem aliorum redacti et in monasterio [page 254] positi, audiendo, legendo, exempla bona videndo discimus mandata tua.'

It goes on: 54It is good for me that you have humbled me, so that I may learn your commandments. [Ps 118:71] This is the voice of the afflicted and the oppressed; for these say to God: ‘We give thanks to you, O God: for when we were untroubled, we did not learn your commandments; but now that we have been afflicted, we recognize our sins and learn your commandments.’ And this truly pertains to monks, because monks place themselves under the power of others and are therefore like the afflicted. And they say: ‘We give thanks to you, O God: for when we were in the world, we neither recognized nor learned your commandments; but now, having been brought under the power of others and [page 254] placed in the monastery, by hearing, reading, and seeing good examples we are learning your commandments.’

In hoc loco animadvertimus, quia B. Benedictus aliquantulum recessit a sensu divinarum scripturarum et aliquantulum reversus est ad eundem sensum divinae scripturae. In eo recessit, quia afflicti, quorum ista vox est, ab aliis sunt afflicti, et quamvis pro Christi nomine sustinent illas passiones, veluti sunt martyres et caeteri afflicti, tamen non sic videntur sponte afflicti, quomodo monachi. Monachi autem sponte redacti sunt in monasterio atque missi. Et in eo loco videtur S. Benedictus concordari cum sensu divinarum scripturarum, quia, sicut afflicti martyres referunt gratias Deo, sicut jam diximus, ita et monachi referunt dicentes: 'Gratias tibi agimus, omnipotens Deus, quia tuo instinctu et te inspirante venimus in monasterium et ibi, sicut jam diximus, discimus mandata tua.'

In this place we notice that blessed Benedict has both departed a little from the meaning of the divine scriptures, and also turned back again a little to the meaning of the same divine scripture. He has departed from it here, because the afflicted, in whose voice these words were spoken, are afflicted by other people. Very many persons endure suffering for the name of Christ, such as the martyrs and the rest of the afflicted. Nevertheless, these do not seem to be afflicted by a free choice (sponte), as monks are. By their free choice, monks are brought and sent into the monastery.5 But in this place holy Benedict also seems to agree with the meaning of the divine scriptures, because – just as the afflicted martyrs return thanks to God, as we have said – in the same way monks also return thanks, saying, ‘We give you thanks, almighty God, that through your instigation and continuing inspiration we have come into the monastery, and there,’ as we have said, ‘we learn your commandments.’

1. Lit. ‘in the manifestation of [his] work’ (in ostensione operis). The sixth step of humility concerns the monk’s willingness to perform tasks befitting a slave. See the notes to the translation of Regula Benedicti, c.7.49 in RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in Latin and English with Notes, ed. T. Fry (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1981).
2. Hildemar seems to have a sense of the distinction that will later be made by scholastic theologians between conscientia (our choosing of right and wrong actions) and synderesis (the seat of moral knowing). If the synderesis is corrupt, then following the conscience will still lead one to commit sins, unknown to the agent.
3. The word does not occur in the psalms. The author probably has in mind Rm 11:33: ‘quam inconprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius’.
4. Medieval commentators interpreted this verse in many different senses. Hildemar is probably following Augustine, Enarrationes in psalmos, XXI/2, CCSL 38, 125 (CSEL 93/1B, 55); the same interpretation is found in St. Ephraem Syrus, Hymns on the Nativity, NPNF 2nd ser., XIII, 223. On the sexless generation of vermines, see Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XII, c. 5.1.
5. Or ‘brought into the monastery and sent [out of it]’. On the ‘sending’ of monks, see Regula Benedicti, c. 51.1 and 67.1.


[Ms P, fol. 67r – Paulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 156v; Ms E1, fol. 76r; Ms E2, fol. 102r]


Translated by: Jesse D. Billett

55Octavus humilitatis gradus est, si nihil agat monachus, nisi quod communis monasterii regula vel majorum cohortantur exempla.

55The eighth step of humility is that the monk should do nothing except what the Rule of the common monastery1 or the examples of the elders commend.

Hactenus B. Benedictus docuit praecepta moralitatis,34 quantum ad mortificationem interioris hominis, h. e. animae pertinet; nunc autem quia plus non potuit inferiorem hominem insequi, h. e. constringere, vertit se ad exteriorem hominem docendum et docet illum agere, quod communis monasterii regula cohortatur, vel quod hortantur majorum exempla.

Up to this point, blessed Benedict has taught only those precepts of morality that pertain to the mortification of the inner man, that is, of the soul. But now, because he could not pursue or restrain the inner man any further than he has done already, he turns his attention to instructing the outer man, and he instructs him to do what the rule of the common monastery commends, or what the examples of the elders encourage.

Unde congruum ordinem tenuit in hoc loco, cum prius dicit de mortificatione animae et postmodum subjunxit de honesta actione corporis dicendo: si nihil agat monachus, nisi quod cummunis monasterii regula et reliqua. Nam in primo et in secundo et in tertio, et quarto, quinto, sexto atque septimo gradu interiorem hominem maxime docuit; ideo dixi, nunc exteriorem hominem in isto gradu octavo docere, quia B. Benedictus in hac regula adeo constrinxit interiorem hominem ad mortificationem, ut non possit ultra mortificari, exteriorem autem [page 255] hominem non adeo constrinixit, eo quod in aliis regulis sanctorum Patrum plus constringitur, sicut ipso S. Benedictus dicit: licet legamus, vinum omnino monachorum non esse. [Regula Benedicti, c. 40.6]

In doing so, he has observed a fitting order in this place, first speaking of the mortification of the soul and afterwards adding something about the decent conduct of the body, saying that the monk should do nothing except what the rule of the common monastery, and the rest. For in the first and in the second and in the third, and the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh step, he has above all instructed the inner man. For that reason I have said that now, in this eighth step, he instructs the outer man. For in this Rule blessed Benedict has restrained the inner man unto mortification to such an extent that it could not be mortified any further. But he has not restrained the outer [page 255] man to the same extent, seeing that in other Rules of the holy Fathers it is restrained even more, as holy Benedict himself says: We read that wine is altogether not permitted for monks [Regula Benedicti, c. 40.6].2

Similiter de vestimentis et vigiliis major constrictio in illis invenitur. Deinde ut monachus nihil ad suum libitum faciat in exteriore homine, si plus aliquid velit, ad sanctorum exempla eum dirigit, quasi diceret: aut agat, quod haec regula communis monasterii docet, aut certe, si plus velit agere in suo corpore, i. e. si plus districtius velit vivere, faciat, quod majorum cohortantur exempla.

These Rules likewise contain a greater restriction in matters of garments and vigils. Consequently, so that the monk might do nothing in the outer man according to his own liking, he directs him to the examples of the saints, as if he had said, ‘Either let him do what this Rule of the common monastery teaches, or indeed, if he wishes to do more in his own body, that is, if he wishes to live more strictly, then let him do what the examples of the elders commend.’

Hoc etiam animadvertendum est, quia, si attentius consideras, bene, postquam dixerat, omnibus se credere debere monachum inferiorem et viliorem, [et] post subjunxit, ut nil agat, nisi quod communis monasterii regula vel majorum cohortantur exempla, quia ille, qui ita est mortificatus, ut omnibus intimo cordis affectu credat se esse inferiorem et viliorem, nullam sectam nihilque aliquid novi agit. Et in hoc, quod dicit nihil, nihil excludit, ut aliquid monachus ad suum libitum faciat; nam majorem vim negandi habet istud, quod dicitur: nil agat, quam si diceret: non agat. Nam istud enim communis genitivus casus est, respondet monasterii, h. e. communis monasterii.

Something else should be noticed. If you consider more attentively, [you will see] that after having said already that a monk ought to believe that he is lower and meaner than all, he is right to add that he should do nothing except what the Rule of the common monastery or the examples of the elders commend: for anyone who is mortified in this way, such that he believes with the inward disposition of his heart that he is lower and meaner than all, will follow no mode of life — or anything at all — that is novel. And when he says nothing, he excludes nothing that would permit a monk to do something according to his own liking. For what he says, namely, that he do nothing, has a greater force of refusal than if he had said ‘that he not do’. This word common is in the genitive case, and it goes with the word monastery, that is, of the common monastery.

Nunc videndum est, de qua regula dicat, cum multae regulae inveniantur, quae observantur in diversis monasteriis, v. gr. Columbani, Basilii et aliorum? Non enim videtur de illorum dixisse regulis, sed de hac regula dicit, quam ipse S. Benedictus conscripsit, vel de his, quae secus se, i. e. juxta se dereliquit, et (quae) per hanc regulam possunt intelligi; nam sunt multae res, quae per hanc regulam intelliguntur, quamvis non pleniter et aperte inde regula dicat; v. gr. dicit regula de hebdomadariis coquinae: In diebus autem solemnibus usque ad missam sustineant. [Regula Benedicti, c. 35.14] Vide modo, regula non dicit, ut in die Dominica missa cantetur, sed per hoc, quod dixit: usque ad missam sustineant, datur intelligi, missam praecepisse celebrari. Et hoc maxime in judiciis et vestimentis potes intelligere. In judiciis enim, cum dicit: si quis frater contumax aut superbus aut murmurans et reliqua. [Regula Benedicti, c. 23.1] Similiter intelligendum est in [page 256] omnibus spiritalibus culpis.

Now we must see which Rule he is speaking about, since there are many Rules to be found that are followed in various monasteries — for example, [the Rules] of Columbanus, of Basil, and of others. For it does not seem that he was speaking about these Rules by other [authors]. Rather, he speaks of this Rule, which holy Benedict himself committed to writing, or of these things that were alongside him, that is, next to him, that he has omitted but which may be understood from the Rule. For there are many things that are implied in the Rule, even though the Rule may not speak about them fully or openly. For example, the Rule says about the weekly servers in the kitchen: But on solemn feast days let them wait until Mass3 [Regula Benedicti, c. 35.14]. Now see: the Rule does not say that Mass should be sung on Sunday; but when it says let them wait until Mass, it is given to be understood that it has commanded that Mass be celebrated. You can discern this especially in [passages referring to disciplinary] judgements and garments. For in [the matter of] judgements, when it says if any brother is stiff-necked or proud or grumbling, and the rest [Regula Benedicti, c. 23.1], [the disciplinary procedure there described] must likewise be understood [to apply] in [page 256] all [cases of] spiritual faults.

Nunc videndum est, quae sunt exempla majorum, quae suos auditores post adimpletionem istius regulae docet agere. Illa enim sunt exempla, de quibus in ultimo capitulo dicit, i. e. regula Basilii, collationes Patrum atque instituta monachorum, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 73.5] quia haec, quamvis non plus interiorem hominem, quam haec regula, sicut diximus, constringunt, tamen exteriorem hominem plus constringunt, sive etiam aliorum majorum, quorum vitam sacra scriptura manifestat.

Now we must see what the examples of the elders are, which he teaches his hearers to perform after they have accomplished everything in this Rule. The examples are those of which he speaks in the final chapter, that is, the Rule of Basil, the Conferences of the Fathers, and the Institutes of Monks [cf. Regula Benedicti, c.73.5]. For even though, as we have said, these do not restrain the inner man any more than this Rule, they do nevertheless restrain the outer man more. Or else [the phrase refers to the examples] of other elders, whose manner of life is shown in holy scripture.

Et item subjunxit: ut nihil agat monachus, nisi quod communis monasterii regula et cetera. Et ideo dixit communis monasterii, quia unitatem vult. Majorum exempla sanctorum Patrum sunt, de quibus superius diximus. Sed sciendum est, quia hoc, quod dicit majorum exempla, duobus modis intelligi potest; aut enim dixit causa humilitatis, sicut fecit de officiis; ibi enim definivit valde bene de officiis, et postea dicit: cui forte haec distributio psalmorum displicuerit, et reliqua; [Regula Benedicti, c. 18.22] ita et in hoc loco fecit. Ille enim dixit de mortificatione interioris hominis, quod nec plus nec melius potest inveniri, sicut diximus, et tamen dicit majorum exempla, quia consuetudo sanctorum est, plenissime et sanissime definire causam, et tamen dicunt: si melius potest quis reperire, et hortantur, ut faciat.35

And he further adds that the monk should do nothing except what the Rule of the common monastery, and the rest. He said of the common monastery because he desires unity. The examples of the elders are those of the holy Fathers, of which we spoke earlier. But it must be realized that when he says the examples of the elders, this may be understood in two ways. On the one hand, he may have said it for the sake of humility, just has he did in regard to the offices. For in that place he arranged very well how the offices [ought to be performed], but afterwards he says, If this arrangement of psalms should happen to displease anyone, and the rest [Regula Benedicti, c. 18.22]. He is doing the same thing also in this place. For, as we have said, nothing further or better can be discovered concerning the mortification of the inner man than what he has already said. And yet he says the examples of the elders, because it is the custom of saints that, when they have exhaustively and indisputably settled a matter, they nevertheless say, ‘If there is someone who can explain this better...’ and advise that such a one should do so.

Altero vero modo dixit majorum exempla, quia, quamvis valde interiorem hominem mortificare studuit, quod nullo modo plus possit, tamen exteriorem non ita constrinxit, sed concessit sua necessaria illi, quasi diceret: 'quod si quis Domino juvante ita fuerit mortificatus in interiore homine, sicut dixi, et voluerit exteriorem hominem suum constringere plus, quam ego, i. e. ut non bibat vinum vel non manducet coctum, quod ego concessi, tunc faciat majorum exempla.'

There is a second sense in which he says the examples of the elders. Although he has truly applied himself to the mortification of the inner man, so that he could by no means say more, nevertheless he has not restrained the outer man to the same extent, but has rather allowed it its own needs. It is as if he had said, ‘If anyone, with the Lord’s help, has been mortified in the inner man in the way that I have described, and wishes to restrain his own outer man more than I have required — that is, by not drinking wine or not eating cooked food, which I have allowed — then let him do according to the examples of the elders.’

Item animadvertendum est etiam nunc, quia in hoc loco, in quo dicit B. Benedictus: si nihil agat monachus, nisi quod communis monasterii regula vel majorum cohortantur exempla, varie a variis intelligitur. Sunt enim alii, qui dicunt, in isto octavo gradu dixisse B. Benedictum, non in [page 257] monasterio monachum debere agere majorum exempla; sed ad eremum ire et ibi adjuvante Domino majorum exempla peragere. Et iterum sunt alii, qui dicunt: 'Non est verum, eum ad eremum dixisse monachum ire et ibi peragere majorum exempla, sed in monasterio, quia primum capitulum, in quo de eremitis dicit, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 1.3-5] narratio est, ultimum vero capitulum, in quo dicit: Regulam autem hanc descripsimus et reliqua, [Regula Benedicti, c. 73.1] humiliantis est, et iste octavus gradus docentis est.' Iterum e contrario respondent alii: 'Verum est, quod dicimus, quia in eremo peragere monachum dixit S. Benedictus et non in monasterio, eo quod, quamvis verum sit capitulum primum narrantis, tamen iste octavus gradus et ultimum capitulum concedentis est, non docentis, nec humiliantis est, sicut vos dicitis.' Iterum e contrario respondet alia pars: 'Quomodo potest hoc esse verum, ut in eremum dicat S. Benedictus ire monachum, cum alibi dicat: sciens se lege regulae constitutum, quod ei non liceat ex illa die egredi de monasterio nec collum excutere de subjugo regulae [Regula Bendicti, c. 58.15-16]; et iterum: Promittat de stabilitate sua et conversione morum suorum et obedientiam coram Deo et Sanctis ejus. [Regula Benedicti, c. 58.17] Et iterum: Officina vero, ubi haec omnia diligenter operemur, claustra sunt in monasterio et stabilitas in congregatione. [Regula Benedicti, c. 4, 78] Et iterum: ut ab ipsius nunquam magisterio discedentes in ejus doctrina usque ad mortem in monasterio perseverantes passionibus Christi per patientiam participemur. [Regula Benedicti, prol.50] E contrario respondet alia pars: 'Nos cum ad eremum imus, non facimus contra regulam, quia auctoritas est, sicut jam diximus, in istis duobus capitulis, i. e. in octavo gradu et in ultimo capitulo; nec de monasterio egredimur, quia ad singularem pugnam [Regula Bendicti, c. 1.5] properamus, cum ad eremum imus, et ista minora in illis majoribus comprehendimus, si eremiticam vitam duxerimus; et ob hoc isti melius dicunt, qui causa meliorationis intelligunt ex ire.

Further, it must also now be noticed that this passage, where blessed Benedict says that the monk should do nothing except what the rule of the common monastery or the examples of the elders commend, is understood differently by different people. For there are some who say that in the eighth step blessed Benedict has said, not that the monk ought to do [what] the examples of the elders [commend] [page 257] in the monastery, but that the monk should go into the wilderness, and there, with the Lord’s help, perform the examples of the elders [by becoming a hermit, as they did]. And again there are others who say, ‘It is not true that he said a monk ought to go into the wilderness and there perform the examples of the elders, but rather [that he should do so] in the monastery. For the first chapter, when it speaks of hermits [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 1.3–5], is just relating information. The final chapter, where it says We have written this Rule, and the rest [Regula Benedicti, c. 73.1], uses conventional language of humility.4 But this eighth step [of humility] is actively teaching.’ Again, on the other hand, the first group replies, ‘What we have said is true: holy Benedict has said that a monk performs5 [the examples of the elders] in the wilderness, not in the monastery; because although the first chapter is relating information, both this eighth step [of humility] and the final chapter are neither actively teaching nor using conventional language of humility, as you say, but are rather making concessions.’ Again, on the other hand, the second group replies, ‘How can it be true that holy Benedict says a monk should go into the wilderness, when in another place he says, let him know that he is governed6 by the law of the Rule, that from that day he is not allowed to leave the monastery or pull his neck out from under the yoke of the Rule [Regula Benedicti, c. 58.15–16]. And again: He shall promise his stability, a monastic way of life, and obedience before God and his saints [Regula Benedicti, c. 58.17]. And again: The workshop where we are diligently to do all these things is the enclosure of the monastery and stability in the community [Regula Benedicti, c. 4.78]. And again: so that never departing from his teaching, but persevering in his doctrine in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ [Regula Benedicti, prol.50].’ On the other hand, the first group replies, ‘When we go into the wilderness, we do not act against the Rule, for it gives us permission to act this way in the eighth step and in the final chapter. Nor in hastening to single combat7 [with the devil] [Regula Benedicti, c. 1.5] do we [really] go out of the monastery when we go into the wilderness: if we have led an eremitic life, in [pursuing] those greater things we also retain these lesser things [of community life]. And for this reason these speak better, who understand that “going out” is for the sake of improvement.’8

1. As he goes on to explain, Hildemar parses communis as a genitive. Most translators read it as a nominative: ‘what the common rule of the monastery and the examples of the elders commend’.
2. Cf. the saying of Abba Poemen in Vitae patrum, 5.4.31 (quoted in RB 1980, ed. Fry, p. 241).
3. Hildemar has silently altered the text of the Rule from missas to missam to make it agree with his interpretation (he quotes it correctly as missas in his commentary on c. 35.14, Mittermüller, p. 400). Like Smaragdus (tr. Barry, p. 393), Hildemar assumes that this refers to the principal conventual Mass of the day. What Benedict himself meant is not clear. In Regula Benedicti, c. 17, missas appears several times in apparent reference to prayers offered at the end of the several daily offices, not the Mass (Vogüé and Neufville, La Règle de Saint Benoît II, 568 n. 14).
4. In the final chapter, Benedict famously describes his work as ‘this little Rule for beginners’ (c. 73:8) and recommends as further guides to ‘perfection of monastic life’ the scriptures, the works of John Cassian, monastic biographies, and the Rule of Basil. In commending works that celebrate the Desert Fathers, was Benedict implying that monastic perfection could be found only in the eremitical life? Hildemar notes a possible objection to this view: Benedict was just using conventions of modesty and not giving his real opinion.
5. For peragere (‘perform’, ‘attain’), we should perhaps read pergere (‘proceed’, ‘continue’), as in the ‘Warnefrid’ and ‘Basilius’ versions of the commentary: ‘the monk continues in wilderness’.
6. Hildemar’s text of c. 58:15 reads sciens se, where the textus purus and other traditions read, more naturally, sciens et (‘Let him know also that it is laid down by the law of the Rule...’).
7. An interesting textual problem presents itself. Instead of the quotation from the Rule ad singulare pugnam, the ‘Warnefrid’ version reads ad singulare certamen (‘to single contest’). The ‘Basilius’ version (Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Perg. Aug. 203, fol. 158v) reads simply ad singulare. Might both the ‘Hildemar’ and ‘Warnefrid’ versions depend on an original text that, like ‘Basilius’, was defective at this point, and which they corrected independently?
8. It is hard to tell whether the last sentence is part of the argument attributed to the ‘first group’ or Hildemar’s own opinion. It could be translated more strongly: ‘these are more correct who understand that one leaves the monastery for the sake of improvement’. By contrast, Hildemar clearly favours cenobitic monasticism as the ideal, and so he may see ‘going out’ (exire) as a spiritual, not a physical, action. But he seems genuinely unsure whether Benedict has in fact left the door open for mature monks to discern a vocation to the life of a hermit. (See M. A. Schroll, Benedictine Monasticism as Reflected in the Warnefrid-Hildemar Commentaries on the Rule, pp. 185–8.) Hildemar’s comments on c. 1:3–5, where Benedict describes hermits favourably, are non-committal: he is more interested in explaining that the virtues necessary for such a vocation are heroic and difficult to maintain without the support of a monastic community.


[Ms P, fol. 68rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 158v; Ms E1, fol. 77r; Ms E2, fol. 104r]


Translated by: Isabelle Cochelin

56Nonus humilitatis gradus est, si linguam ad loguendum prohibeat monachus et taciturnitatem habens usque ad interrogationem non loquatur, 57monstrante scriptum: Quia in multiloquio non effugietur peccatum, [Prv 10:19] 58et: Quia vir linguosus non dirigetur super terram. [Ps 139:12]

56The ninth step of humility is that a monk should hold his tongue and, keeping silent, not speak until asked to, 57since Scripture shows that in loquacity there is no escape from sin [Prv 10:19] 58and a blabbermouth wanders aimless over the earth. [Ps 139:12]

Quia B. Benedictus, sicut diximus, in septem gradibus docuit interiorem hominem et in octavo misit exteriorem ad communis monasterii regulam aut majorum exempla, nunc in isto nono gradu incipit docere compositionem exterioris hominis ab isto nono usque in undecimum gradum. Jam in duodecimo utrumque docet, i. e. interiorem et exteriorem, quia dicit: 62non solum corde sed etiam corpore.

Because, as we said, the blessed Benedict has taught the inner man in the seven [first] steps and, in the eighth, referred the outer [man] to the rule of the common monastery or the examples of the elders, now, in this ninth step, he starts teaching the disposition of the outer man from this ninth to the eleventh step. In the twelfth, he teaches both, that is the inner and the outer, since he says: not only in his heart but also with his body.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Quare prius docuit interiorem et postmodum exteriorem, cum aptum fuisset, ut exterior homo prius doceretur et postmodum interior, eo quod major est interior quam exterior.' Cui respondendum est: 'Quamquam hoc esset aptum, tamen aptcius fuit, sicut fecit, eo quod exterioris hominis compositio sine interioris doctrina nil valet: nam per interioris hominis doctrinam exterior noster homo componitur.'

Perhaps someone says: “Why did he first teach the inner and then the outer, when it would have been suitable that the outer man be taught first and then the inner, since the inner is superior to the outer?” To this should be answered: “Even though this would have been appropriate, what he did was more appropriate because the disposition of the outer man is worth nothing without the wisdom of the inner.”

Summopere enim animadvertendum est, quare B. Benedictus dicat nunc usque ad interrogationem non loquatur. Si enim, sicuti sonat, ita intelligatur, videtur difficile esse, eo quod nec fuit, nec est, nec erit, qui possit hoc observare, ut tantum tunc fuisset locutus, cum interrogatus fuisset, maxime cum ipse superius dicat: Si qua requirenda sunt a priore, cum omni humilitate et subjectione reverentiae requirantur. [Regula Benedicti, c. 6:7] Et iterum in quinto gradu humilitatis dicit: 46si omnes cogitationes malus cordi suo advenientes vel mala a se absconse commissa per humilem confessionem abbati suo non celaverit [Regula Benedicti, 7.44].

Moreover, it should be observed with the greatest care why the Blessed Benedict says not to speak until asked to. If indeed it should be understood literally, this would be difficult since there has not been, there is not, and there will not be anyone who can ascertain that he spoke only when asked, especially since [Benedict] himself says above: if anything is asked of a superior, it should be asked with all humility and reverent submission. [Regula Benedicti, c. 6.7] And again, in the fifth step of humility he says: that in humble confession one reveals to his abbot any wicked thoughts entering into his heart and any wickedness done in secret. [Regula Benedicti, c. 7.44]

Nam videtur sibi esse contrarius ipse S. Benedictus, cum in isto nono gradu dicit, ut usque ad interrogationem non loquatur, et superius dicit, sicut jam dictum est, ut necessaria sui corporis monachus requirat sine interrogatione prioris, et iterum confessionem peccatorum suorum sive cogitationum dicit faciendam esse abbati. Non est contrarius, sed discretum doctorem requirit; discretus enim doctor intelligit in hoc loco, quia, sicut compellit prior, cum te interrogat, ut loquaris, ita etiam te compellit necessitas, ut velis nolis necessitatem tuam loquaris. Ac per hoc, cum dicit Non loquatur usque ad interrogationem, subaudiendum est etiam: usque ad necessitatem, quasi [page 259] diceret aliis verbis: non loquatur, nisi usque ad interrogationem prioris sive usque ad necessitatem animae suae et corporis sui sive necessitatem proximi sui. Ideo dixi proximi, quia scriptum est: Diliges proximum tuum, sicut teipsum. [Mt 19:19] Ac per hoc si ita debeo diligere proximum meum, sicut meipsum, ita ergo debeo loqui necessitatem proximi mei, sicut et meam tam animae quam corporis.

The blessed Benedict seems, therefore, to contradict himself when he says in this ninth step not to speak until asked to, and he says prior to this, as already mentioned, that the monk should ask for his bodily necessities without being asked by a superior,  and, again, he says that the confession of one’s sins or thoughts must be done to the abbot. He does not contradict himself, but requires a discerning teacher: indeed, a discerning teacher understands in this passage that, as a superior compels you to speak when he asks you to, in the same way, necessity compels you, willing or unwilling, to speak out your needs. And because of this, when he says not to speak until asked to, it is also implied: but for necessity; as if [page 259] he were saying in other words: not to speak except until asked to by a superior or by the needs of one’s soul or one body’s, or the needs of one’s neighbour. I said of one’s neighbour because it is written: Love your neighbour as yourself [Mt 19:19]. And if, because of this, I should love my neighbour as myself, I should also speak for my neighbour’s needs, as for mine, whether of the soul or of the body.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Quare necessitatem corpoream fratris requirere debeo sicut meam?' Si enim debeo peccatum fratris quasi meum dolore et tam quam meum per meam exhortationem debeo emendatum esse gaudere, ergo pro amore fraternitatis debeo etiam pro necessitate fratris suggerere abbati. V. gr. suggero abbati dicens: 'Pater, talem negligentiam vidi in illo fratre; opto pro tua misericordia, ut illud emendare digneris.' Ita etiam pro necessitate fratris temporali debeo abbati suggerere, v. gr.: 'Pater, talem necessitatem vidi habere illum fratrem; nescio, utrum sponte, an pro negligentia illius, qui debet illi tribuere; vos potestis cognoscere, cur hoc patiatur.'

Perhaps someone says: “Why should I ask for my brother’s bodily needs as for mine?” If indeed I must deplore a brother’s sin as [I would] mine and I must rejoice that it is corrected by my exhortation as [I would for] mine, then, out of brotherly love, I must also signal a brother’s needs to the abbot. For instance I signal [a brother’s sin] to the abbot by saying: “Father, I noticed such-and-such negligence by that brother; I wish that, out of your mercy, you deign to correct it.” I must also signal the temporal needs of a brother to the abbot, for instance: “Father, I noticed that that brother has such-and-such needs; I do not know whether [he suffers it] freely or by the negligence of the one who must provide for him; you can know why he suffers this”.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Quomodo interrogat necessitas quemquam, quia dixisti, subaudiendum esse: necessitatis sitae et alienae tam corporis quam animae?' Vere fit; sic enim legitur Dominus dixisse ad Moysen tacentem: Cur clamas ad me? [cf. Ex 14:15] Moyses autem non clamabat, sed tacebat; sed quia necessitatem habebat, ipsa necessitas ad Dominum clamabat. Sicut enim intelligitur illa sententia, ubi dicit Dominus, de omni verbo otioso esse homines reddituros rationem, [cf. Mt 12:36] ita et hic. Vide, quia sicut illis non dicitur solummodo de omni verbo, sed addidit otiosum, ita hic intelligenda est interrogatio causae, i. e. necessitatis, non vocis.

Perhaps someone says: “How can necessity question anyone, since you said it was implied of one’s own needs or someone else’s, whether of the body or the soul?” Such is truly the case; indeed, one can read that the Lord said to the silent Moses: Why do you cry out to me? [cf. Ex 14:15] Moses was not crying out but silent; but, because he was in need, his need itself cried to the Lord. Just as this sentence is interpreted in which the Lord says that men shall render an account for every idle word [cf. Mt 12:36], so also here. See how, just as in that case it is said to them not merely for every word, but he added idle, so here the request of the cause is to be understood as the need and not the voice.

Sequitur: monstrante scriptura: In multiloquio non effugies peccatum. Istud enim multiloquium duobus modis intelligi potest; uno enim modo intelligitur secundum sensum divinarum scripturarum: In multiloquio non effugies peccatum, i. e, quia multum loqui,36 etiamsi bona sint verba, [page 260] illabitur homo in peccatum, i. e. aut in detractionem aut in aliquod aliud peccatum. Secundum vero sensum S. Benedicti intelligitur: in multiloquio non effugies peccatum, quia, si plus fuerint verba, quam oportet, i. e. quinque vel quatuor, tria vel etiam duo, multiloquium est; nam quantum plus fuerint verba, quam necessitas exigit, tantum multiloquium et majus peccatum est, et quantum minus fuerint verba, tanto minus est peccatum.

Next: since Scripture shows that in loquacity there is no escape from sin. This loquacity can be understood in two ways. In one way, it is understood according to the meaning of the divine scriptures: In loquacity there is no escape from sin, i.e. by chattering, even good words, [page 260] a man slips into sin, i.e. into slander or some other sin. And it is understood according to the meaning of St Benedict: in loquacity there is no escape from sin, because, if the words are more than needed, i.e. five or four, three or even two, this is loquacity; indeed, the greater the number of words above what necessity requires, the greater the loquacity and the greater the sin; the fewer the words, the less the sin.

Sequitur: et quia vir linguosus non dirigetur super terram. Similiter et istud, quod dicitur, duobus modis intelligitur; uno modo intelligitur secundum sensum divinae scripturae linguosus est ille, qui multa et mala verba loquitur; nam etiamsi unum solummodo verbum studio male loquendi dixerit, linguosus est. Dirigetur, i. e. prosperabitur. In qua terra iste linguosus non dirigetur? In illa quippe terra, de qua scriptum est: Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium; [Ps 26:13] nam in ista terra maxime iste linguosus dirigitur, i. e. prosperatur. Secundum vero sensum S. Benedicti vir linguosus intelligitur, etiamsi bona locutus fuerit, tamen quia multa sunt et superflua, i. e. plus quam oportet, et ipsum plus, quamvis bonum sit, linguosus dicitur. Animadvertendum est etiam, quia, sicut errat ille, qui plus loquitur, quam, oportet, quamvis bonum sit, ita etiam errat, si minus loquitur, quam oportet.

Next: a blabbermouth wanders aimless over the earth. Again, here, what is said is understood in two ways; for one, it is understood according to the meaning of the divine Scripture: the blabbermouth is the one speaking many words and wicked ones; indeed, he is a blabbermouth even if he had spoken only one word with the intent of speaking wickedly. He wanders aimless, i.e., he will not prosper. On what earth does this blabbermouth wander aimless? It is obviously the one about which it is written: I believe I see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living; [Ps 26:13] indeed, it is in this land particularly that this blabbermouth is led, i.e. prospers. But blabbermouth is understood according to the meaning of St Benedict: even if he has said good things, because it was too much and superfluous, i.e. more than necessary, however good this surplus, he is called a blabbermouth. One must also take into account that, just as he errs who talks more than needed, however good [what he says], so also errs the one who talks less than needed.


[Ms P, fol. 68vPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 160v; Ms E1, fol. 78r; Ms E2, fol. 105v]


Translated by: Matthew Gillis

59Decimus humilitatis gradus est, si non est facilis est promptus in risu, quia scriptum est: Stultus in risu exaltat vocem suam. [Sir 21:23]

59The tenth step of humility is not to be easy or ready in laughter, for it is written, The fool raises his voice in laughter. [Sir 21:23]

Facilis ac promtus quamvis possint unum esse, tamen potest etiam aliud esse facilis et aliud promptus. Nam facilis attinet ad illum, qui cito in risu movetur, promptus autem ad illum, qui intentus est risui vel paratus. Et item facilis intelligitur levis, citus; promptus autem, i. e. paratus. In hoc enim loco cum, dicit: non sit facilis ac promptus in risu, non dicit, ut monachus nunquam rideat, sed non sit facilis ac promptus in risu, quia scriptura divina non prohibet, hominem hilaritatem spiritalem habere, cum [page 261] ait: Hilarem enim datorem diligit Deus. [2 Cor 9:7] Et iterum: Jucundus homo, qui miscretur et commodat. [Ps 111:5] Et rursum: Sermo bonus super datum optimum [Sir 18:17] et reliq. Quod dicit: Stultus in risu exaltat vocem suam, i. e. ridendo exaltat vocem, sicuti laici faciunt, qui granditer rident, h. e. cachinnant; sciendum est enim, quia sunt multi, qui, quam quam in voce non exprimant sonum in risu, tamen, si in corde superfluam laetitiam habuerint,37 apud Deum magnus risus est.

Although easy and ready can be one thing, nevertheless it can also be one thing to be easy and another to be ready. For easy pertains to someone quickly moved to laughter, while ready pertains to someone eager or prepared for laughter. Easy is also understood as capricious, impetuous; ready, however, is understood as prepared. For when in this passage, he says: not to be easy or ready in laughter, he does not say let a monk never laugh, but let him not be easy or ready in laughter, for divine scripture does not prohibit a person from having a jovial spirit, such as when [page 261] it says: For God loves a cheerful giver. [2 Cor 9:7] And likewise: Delightful is the person who has compassion and accomodates. [Ps 111:5] And again: Good conversation surpasses the best gift [Sir 18:17] and so on. As far as it says: The fool raises his voice in laughter, it means he raises his voice in laughing just as lay people do when they laugh boisterously or guffaw; in fact, the passage must be understood this way, since many, who possess an abundance of happiness in their heart but do not express the sound of their voice in laughter, bring about a great laughter in the presence of God.


[Ms P, fol. 68vPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 161r; Ms E1, fol. 78v; MS E2, fol. 106r]


Translated by: Jesse D. Billett

60Undecimus humilitatis gradus est, si, cum loquitur monachus, leniter et sine risu, humiliter cum gravitate, vel pauca verba et rationabilia loquatur et non sit clamosus in voce, 61sicut scriptum est: Sapiens verbis innotescit paucis.

60The eleventh step of humility is that when a monk speaks, he should do so gently and without laughter, humbly and with seriousness: let him speak few and reasonable words, and let him not be loud of voice, 61as it is written: A wise man is known by his few words.

Leniter etenim est, cum ita loquitur quis, ut solummodo ille audiat, cui loquitur. Sed nunc videndum est, quomodo potest quis loqui ita, ut nemo audiat, nisi ille, cui loquitur? Cum frater in medio claustro38 est, et ego ab illo longe existo, aut forte loquor surdo, ecce illi nequaquam ita possum loqui, ut alius non audiat. Istud enim testimonium, quod subjungit nunc, i. e. sapiens verbis innotescit paucis, non respicit ad id, quod dicit: non sit clamosus in voce, sed ad illud, quod dicit: pauca et rationabilia verba, et istud, quod dicit: non sit clamosus in voce, respicit ad illud, quod dicit leniter.

Now, gently means that when someone is speaking, he speaks in such a way that only the person to whom he speaks is able to hear him. But now we must see how it is that someone can speak in such a way that no one can hear him but the person to whom he speaks. When a brother is in the middle of the cloister,1 and I am somewhere far away from him, or if I happen to be speaking to a deaf man, you see that I am by no means able to speak to him in such a way that no one else may hear. This quotation that he adds, A wise man is known by his few words, does not pertain to what he has just said (let him not be loud of voice) but rather to what he said earlier: few and reasonable words. And the phrase let him not be loud of voice corresponds to an earlier word: gently.

Si enim talis fuerit obedientia, quam ego dimittere possum, debeo ad illum ire, aut ille, si potest, debet ad me venire. Quodsi non possum ad illum ire, aut ille ad me non potest venire, ita debeo illam vocem temperare, ut ille audiat, cui loqui volo, et ultra non procedat, deinde si alius audierit, tamen leniter loquor, quia necessitate talis locutio efficitur. Similiter et si surdo locutus fuero cum necessitate, et ipse mihi magna voce responderit, ego tamen leniter loquor, quia necessitate coactus talia taliter loquor. Similiter etiam si alii locutus fuero, qui [page 262] hebes est, cui si causa intelligendi granditer locutus fuero, leniter loquor.

Isn’t obedience something that I should actually be able to discharge? I ought to go over to [the brother who is far away from me], or he, if he is able, ought to come over to me. But if I am not able to go to him, and he is not able to come to me, then I ought to moderate my voice so that it can be heard by the one I wish to speak to, but will not go any farther. Then, if someone else should happen to hear it, I am nevertheless speaking gently, because speech of this kind is occasioned by necessity. Likewise, if I have of necessity spoken to a deaf man, and he answers me with a loud voice, I have nevertheless spoken gently, for I have been compelled by necessity to speak in such a way to such a person. Likewise, also, if I have spoken to someone who [page 262] is feebleminded and had to speak to him loudly for the sake of being understood, I still speak gently.

Et hoc animadvertendum est, quia in omni locutione debeo inspicere submissum genus locutionis et temperatum atque vehemens. Submisso genere locutionis loqui debes, cum de parvis rebus loqueris, veluti cum de ambulatione loqueris fratri. Item temperato genere locutionis debes loqui in mediocribus causis, v. gr. cum de jejunio alicui loqui debes jam in isto loco, quia jejunium majus est quam ambulatio; hic temperato genere locutionis loqui debes. Item vehementi genere locutionis loqui debes illi, cui de caritate oportet te loqui, quia caritas major est caeteris superioribus virtutibus; idcirco vehementi genere locutionis debes loqui, quia, sicut causa exigit, ita debes locutionem formare et multiplicare. Non enim dicimus, ut vocem magnam facias in locutione, sed quia non potest in minoribus et in majoribus aequaliter intelligi, eo quod in majoribus et in maximis causis necessaria sunt plura verba et in minoribus pauciora.

And now it must be noted that on every occasion of speaking I ought to consider [whether to use] a soft manner of speech, a moderate, or a strong. You ought to speak with the soft manner of speech when you speak about things of little importance, as when you speak with a brother about going for a walk. You ought to use the moderate manner of speech to speak about matters of medium importance. For example, if you are obliged to speak to someone about fasting, then surely in this case you ought to speak in the moderate manner, since fasting is more important than walking. You ought to speak with the strong manner of speech if it is incumbent on you to speak to someone about charity, for charity is greater than the other higher virtues. For this reason you ought to speak with the strong manner of speech, because you ought to shape and multiply your speech as befits the subject matter. We do not say that you should [always] use a great voice in speaking, but rather that [one manner of speaking] cannot be understood equally well in both lesser and greater matters; because in the more important and most important matters, more words are necessary, but in lesser [matters], fewer [words suffice].

Sequitur: pauca verba et rationabilia loquatur. Pauca enim attinent ad id, ut tantum debeas loqui, quantum causa exigit, de qua dicis, quia, sicuti jam diximus, erras, si minus aut plus, quam oportet, locutus fueris. Rationabilia autem attinent ad id, quod vera et bona debeas loqui, i. e. sapienter et eloquenter, et ob id rite servandum, cum utrumque praeceptum sit: pauca et rationabilia verba loquatur, et non sit clamosus in voce. Nam qui utrumque non valet, dicat sapienter, quod non dicit eloquenter. Ideo dicere debet monachus sapienter, ut non sit clamosus voce, sicut scriptum est: Sapiens verbis innotescit paucis.

It goes on: let him speak few and reasonable words. Few means that you ought to speak only as many [words] as the matter you are talking about requires. For, as we have just said, you fall into error if you speak less or more than you ought. Reasonable means that you ought to say [words] that are true and good, that is, [you should speak] wisely and eloquently, and on that account both precepts ought to be carefully observed: let him speak few, reasonable words, and let him not be loud of voice. If someone lacks ability to do both, let him say wisely what he is not able to say eloquently. Therefore a monk ought to talk wisely, so that he may not be loud of voice, as it is written: A wise man is known by his few words.

Eloquenter vero attinet ad pauca verba, quia monachus in paucis verbis debet comprehendere causam, quam dicit; sapienter autem attinet ad rationabilia, eo quod monachus bona et rationabilia verba debet loqui. Istud vero, quod dicit pauca et rationabilia verba, et istud, quod dicit non sit clamosus in voce, respicit ad illud, quod dicit leniter. Et hoc animadvertendum est, quia utrumque praecipit B. Benedictus, i. e. sapienter, et eloquenter. Sed sciendum est, quia si peccatum [page 263] est, sapienter loqui et non eloquenter, tamen minus et parvum peccatum est.

‘Eloquently’ pertains to few words, for a monk ought to frame a matter about which he is speaking in few words. ‘Wisely’ pertains to reasonable [words], because a monk ought to speak good and reasonable words. Now, both of these phrases that he uses — few and reasonable words and let him not be loud of voice — are amplifications of the earlier word gently. And it must be noticed, that blessed Benedict enjoins both [qualities], that is, wisely and eloquently. But if it is a sin [page 263] to speak wisely and not eloquently, realize nevertheless that it a lesser and little sin.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'quare hoc peccatum est, si non possum eloquenter loqui?' Cui respondendum est: 'ideo dixi, peccatum esse, quia ex primi hominis peccato hoc evenit nobis, ut non omnia sufficienter possimus loqui bona.' Et hoc est, quod sequitur: et non sit clamosus in voce, quia scriptum est: Sapiens verbis innotescit paucis. Istud enim testimonium, quod subjungit nunc, i. e. sapiens verbis innotescit paucis, non ad clamosus in voce respicit, sed ad pauca et rationabilia verba. Et istud clamosus in voce respicit ad illud, quod dicitur leniter.

Perhaps someone says, ‘Why is it a sin if I am not able to speak eloquently?’ The response is, ‘I have said it is a sin because, as a result of the sin of the first man, it has come to pass for us that we are not sufficiently able to say all good things.’ And this is the point of what follows: and let him not be loud of voice, as it is written: A wise man is known by his few words. This quotation that he now adds, A wise man is known by his few words, does not apply to the phrase loud of voice but to the phrase few and reasonable words. And loud of voice applies to the earlier word gently.

Et hoc notandum est, quia non est mirum, si praepostero ordine loquitur S. Benedictus, eo quod mos est scripturae divinae, tali genere locutionis eloqui, sicut Paulus apostolus loquitur ad Timotheum; ait enim: Manus cito nemini imposueris, neque corumunicaveris peccatis alienis, te ipsum castum custodi, jam noli aquam bibere, sed vino modico utere propter stomachum et frequentes tuas infirmitates. Quorundam autem hominum peccata manifesta sunt praecedentia in judicium, quosdam autem et sequuntur. [1 Tim 5:22-24] Rectus enim ordo iste est: manus cito nemini imposueris neque communicaveris peccatis alienis, quia quorundam hominum peccata manifesta sunt praecedentia, quosdam autem et sequuntur. Jam noli aquam bibere, sed vino modico utere propter stomachum et frequentes tuas infirmitates. Ita et in Job legitur, ubi dicit: Morientur, et non in sapientia. [Iob 4:21]

And it must be noted that it is not strange for holy Benedict to speak in a confused order like this: it is also the custom of holy scripture to express itself in a manner of this kind. It is as when Paul speaks to Timothy, saying: Impose your hands on no one quickly, neither share in others’ sins. Keep yourself chaste. Do not drink only water any longer, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent infirmities. The sins of some men are manifested and go before them to the judgement, but some other men they follow after. [1 Tim 5:22–24] The correct order of this is: ‘Impose your hands on no one quickly, neither share in others’ sins, for the sins of some men are manifested and go before them, but some other men they follow after. Do not drink only water any longer, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent infirmities.’ The same thing may be read in Job, where he says: They shall die, and not in wisdom. [Iob 4:21]

Et hoc notandum est, quia sunt multae regulae, quae habent gravitatem, nec debent habere, quia gravitas et leniter unum significant, et ideo non debet esse. Cum dicit sine risu, subaudiendum est: si potest caveri; nam superius non dicit, ut nunquam rideat monachus, sed non sit facilis ac promtus in risu.[Regula Benedicti, c. 7.59] Et bene dixi, ut subaudiri debeat: si potest caveri. Et hoc sciendum est: cum monachus in monasterio loquitur, non debet ita longo et granditer dicere alicui, ne aliis impedimentum tribuat, sed magis ad illum ire, ut non faciat illis, qui sunt [page 264] in contemplatione Dei, aliquant perturbationem, quia semper honeste et absque murmuratione39 esse debet monachus in monasterio.

And now it must be noted that there are many copies of the Rule that also include the word seriousness, but they should not do so, for the words seriousness and gently denote the same thing, and therefore it should not be there.2 When he says without laughter, we must supply the words ‘if it can be avoided’. For earlier he does not say that a monk should never laugh, but that he should not be one who laughs easily and quickly [Regula Benedicti, c. 7.59]. So I am right to say that we must supply the words ‘if it can be avoided’. And this must be known: when a monk is speaking in the monastery, he should not speak to anyone at length or loudly, lest he interfere with others. Rather, it is better that he go over to him, so that he might not cause any disturbance to those who are [page 264] in the contemplation of God. For a monk ought always to behave decently and without grumbling in the monastery.

1. For Hildemar, the ‘cloister’ can denote the whole of the monastic enclosure, not just the inner courtyard (Schroll, Benedictine Monasticism, p. 28).
2. As can be seen above, Mittermüller’s text of the Regula Benedicti, c. 7:60, includes the words cum gravitate (“with seriousness”), but the commentary text itself seems to imply that they were omitted from the copy of the Rule used by the commentator. The critical apparatus of Rudolf Hanslik (Benedicti Regula, CSEL 75) notes two copies of the Rule that lack them: his MS Y = Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, MS Sant Cugat 22 (Sant Llorenç del Munt, s. xi); and his MS Q = Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, MS Q. 66 sup. (prov. Avignon, s. x). The ‘Warnefrid’ version of the commentary seems to have been adjusted to acknowledge the presence of cum gravitate in the text of the Rule (p. 199): Et hoc notandum est, quia sunt multae regulae, quae non habent gravitatem, nec debent habere; quia gravitas et lenitas unum significat (“And it must be noted that there are many copies of the Rule that do not have the word ‘seriousness’, nor should they have it; for ‘seriousness’ and ‘gently’ signify the same thing”). The ‘Basilius’ version does not give the whole text of the ‘eleventh step of humility’ at the head of this section, so we cannot see whether it includes cum gravitate. Nevertheless, the text of the ‘Basilius’ commentary implies that it is present (Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, MS Perg. Aug. 203, fol. 162v): Sciendum enim que sunt multae regulę quae non habent grauitatem, nec debent etiam habere quia si habuerint superfluum est, quantum ad sensum attinet eo quod grauitas et leniter significant (“Note that there are many copies of the Rule that do not have ‘seriousness’, nor out they to have it, for if they had it, it would be superfluous, so far as the meaning goes, because ‘seriousness’ and ‘gently’ signify [the same thing]”).



[Ms P, fol. 69rPaulus Diaconus – 
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 163r; Ms E1, fol. 79r; Ms E2, fol. 108r]


Translated by: Bruce Venarde

62Duodecimus humilitatis gradus est, si non solum corde monachus, sed etiam ipso corpore humilitatem videndibus se semper indicet.

62The twelfth step of humility is that a monk always shows humility to those who see him, not only in his heart but also with his body.

Venit B. Benedictus ad duodecimum gradum humilitatis, in quo consummationem facit compositionis exterioris hominis atque interioris; interioris, cum dicit non solum corde, exterioris, cum dicit sed etiam corpore; nam exteriorem hominem maxime a nono gradu, interiorem a primo gradu. Et bene prius mortificationem interioris hominis docuit, et postmodum compositionem exterioris, quia ex profectu interioris hominis procedat compositio exterioris.

St. Benedict comes to the twelfth step of humility, in which he summarizes the disposition (configuration?) of the exterior and interior man: interior, when he says not only in his heart, and exterior, which he says but also with his body. For he has treated the exterior man mostly since the ninth step, the interior from the first step. Rightly he teaches first the mortification of the interior man, and afterwards the disposition of the exterior man, because the disposition of the exterior man proceeds from the progress of the interior man.

Ait enim: Duodecimus humilitatis gradus est, si non solum corde monachus, sed etiam ipso corpore, humilitatem videntibus se semper indicet. Bene prius corde et postmodum corpore dixit, quia, sicut diximus, ex mortificatione interioris hominis procedit compositio exterioris. Corde dixit propter Deum, corpore dixit propter exemplum hominibus praebendum. Corde dixit, ne Deus offendatur, eo quod Deus inspector est cordium; corpore dixit, ne homo fallatur, quia homo non valet videre qualitatem cordis, sed per continentiam corporis, quantum ad hominem attinet, interiora40 solet cognoscere. Sic etiam idem S. Benedictus superius dicit: praeparanda sunt corda et corpora sanctae praeceptorum obedientiae militatura. [Regula Benedicti, prol. 40] Et bene dixit: videntibus se semper indicet; etiam si non diceret, necesse fuerat subaudiri, quia, videntibus nos exemplum monstramus.

So he says The twelfth step of humility is that a monk always show humility to those who see him, not only in his heart but also with his body. Rightly he says first in his heart and afterwards with his body because, as we said, the disposition of the exterior man proceeds from the mortification of the interior man.1 He says in his heart on account of God, with his body on account of the example to be shown to men. He says in his heart lest God be offended, since God is the inspector of hearts; he says with his body, because man is unable to see the nature of the heart except through the restraint of the body, according to the extent that man is accustomed to understand interior matters. And so likewise St. Benedict says above Our hearts and bodies must be readied to fight for holy obedience to his instructions [Regula Benedicti, prol. 40]. And well he said always show humility to those who see him. Even if he had not said so, it would have been necessary to understand, because we show an example to those who see us.

Nunc videndum est, quare dixit semper? Ideo dixit semper, quia jugiter vult, ut tu humilitatem habeas; nam sunt multi, qui aut ex toto aut per intervallum humilitatem deserunt. Ex toto deserunt, cum a diabolo decepti peccatum mortale committunt, et cum hoc agunt, ex toto humilitatem [page 265] deserunt. Per intervallum vero, sicut diximus humilitatem deservunt, cum aliquod leve et parvum peccatum committunt; in hoc enim loco per omnia41 non deserunt humilitatem, cum statim emendantur et poenitent.

Now we need to see why he said always. He did so because he constantly wants you to have humility, for there are many who lack humility, entirely or at times. They commit mortal sins who, deceived by the devil, lack it entirely, and when they do this, they entirely lack humility. [page 265] But they practice humility at times, as we have said, when they commit some trivial and small sin; in this case, they do not lack humility in all matters, when they are at one are corrected and repent.

Indicet, i. e. demonstret. Quasi interrogares: 'Ubi patet?' Ille quasi respondens dicit: 63i. e. in opere, in oratorio, in monasterio, in horto, in via, in agro, vel ubicumque sedens, ambulans vel stans inclinato sit semper capite. Ista inclinatio capitis si ex mortificatione interioris hominis non processerit, nil valet; nam multi sunt, qui inclinato capite incedunt, sed nil illis proficit illa inclinatio capitis, quia non procedit ex mortificatione hominis interioris; inclinare enim veraciter caput est, fragilem se esse aestimare, pulverem et cinerem se esse credere. [cf. Gn 3:19]

Show, that is, demonstrate. It is as if you asked “Where is it evident?” and he replied, 63in work, in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road, in the field, or anywhere, sitting, walking, or standing, his head should be bowed. If this bowing of the head does not proceed from the mortification of the interior man, it is worthless; there are many who go about with bowed head but that profits them nothing, since it does not proceed from the mortification of the interior man. To bow the head truly is to judge oneself frail and to believe oneself to be dust and ash [cf. Gn 3:19].

Sequitur: 63defixis in terram aspectibus, i. e. intentis aspectibus. Quod vero dicit inclinato sit semper capite, in isto semper subaudiendum: donec necessitas non exigit, te sursum aspicere; nam nil divina scriptura impossibile dicit. In his rebus bonis minoribus tempus est, sicut dixit Salomon: Tempus jejunandi et tempus manducandi; et subjunxit: Omnia tempus habent. [Ecl 3:1] Istas minores potes dimittere propter necessitatem, illas autem principales, quas apostolus nominat, non debes.

Next: 63his eyes fixed on the ground, this is, eyes turned. And when he says that his head should be bowed down, it should always be understood to mean that until necessity demands it, you look upwards, for divine scripture says that nothing is impossible. In these things is the time for small good deeds, as Solomon says: A time for fasting and a time for eating and adding “Everything has its time” [Eccl 3.1]. You can set aside these minor matters according to necessity, but the principle matters that the apostle names you cannot set aside.

Sequitur: 64reum se omni hora de peccatis suis existimans. Non est mirum, si B. Benedictus in isto gradu duodecimo, h. e. in consummatione perfectionis dicit, debere monachum se reum aestimare, cum Dominus in Evangelio dicit: Cum feceritis haec omnia, dicite, quia servi inutiles sumus et fecimus, quae debuimus. [Lc 17:10] Pro duabus enim causis dixit illis Dominus hoc facere, ne superbiae vel jactantiae locus daretur, et iterum, ut Deum glorificent, cujus adjutorio hoc perfecerunt, non se; nam ille pharisaeus contra praeceptum evangelioum fecit, eo quod magis se, quam Dominum glorificavit, cujus adjutorio egit illa omnia sua.

Next: 64judging himself guilty of his sins at all times. It is no wonder that Benedict says this in this twelfth step, that is, in the consummation of perfection, that a monk ought to judge himself guilty, when the Lord says in the gospel: “When you have done all these things, say ‘We are useless servants and do what we ought’”[Lc 17.10]. The Lord tells them to do these things for two reasons: lest there be any place granted for pride or boasting, and again, that they glorify God, with whose help they do this, not themselves. For the pharisee acts against God’s command because he glorifies himself more than God, whose aid drives all their doings.

Sequitur: 64jam se tremendo judicio repraesentari aestimet. Nunc videndum est, quare B. Benedictus nunc in isto gradu [page 266] consummationis perfectionis dicit: reum se omni hora aestimet, et superius dixit, primum gradum esse tinorem Dei? Cognovit enim S. Benedictus, posse cadere hominem etiam de summa perfectione, si, antequam solidatus fuerit in caritate divina, i. e. in casto timore, superbierit; ideo etiam in isto gradu duodecimo mentionem timoris fecit, quia timor servilis adeo est necessarius, ut tegat virtutem, quam operatur quis, donec transeat in castum timorem. V. gr. sicuti paries, si ante non fuerit siccatus a suo humore, et fuerit impulsus a vento, decidit; aut arbusta, si, antequam radicem fixerint in terra, percussa fuerint ab aestu caloris, arescunt: ita et homo, sicut diximus, si, antequam fuerit fortis et solidatus, rejecerit timorem servilem, cum impulsus fuerit ab aliqua aura favoris et aestu persecutionis, dejicitur et labitur. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob VIII, XL VII, c. 78, CCSL 143, p. 443]. Unde etiam per Moysen Dominus dicit: Non tondebis primogenitum ovium tuarum. [cf. Dt 15:19] Hunc quippe versiculum papa Gregorius exponit dicens: Primogenitum ovium tondere est initium nostrae bonae conversationis manifestare. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob, VIII, XLVII, c. 78, CCSL 143, p. 443]42

Next: 64and should believe himself already presented to the fearsome tribunal. Now it should be seen why Benedict now in this step [page 266] the consummation of perfection says should judge himself at all times and said above that the first step is the fear of God [Regula Benedicti 7.10]. For St. Benedict knew that man can fall even from the heights of perfection if, before he is made firm in divine love, that is, in holy fear, he is proud; therefore in this twelfth step he mentions fear, because submissive fear is necessary to protect virtue, which anyone is occupied with until he passes into holy fear. For example, just as a wall, if its dampness is not dried out beforehand, falls when pushed by the wind, or trees, before they fix their roots in the ground, are stricken by a blast of heat, dry up, so also does man, as we said, if he throws off submissive fear before he is strong and made firm, when pushed by a gust of favor or the heat of persecution, is overthrown and falls [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job VIII, XLVII, c. 78; CCSL 143, p. 443]. Concerning which the Lord said through Moses, “You will not shear the first-born of your sheep” [Dt 15:19]. Indeed Pope Gregory explains this verse, saying, “To shear the first-born of the sheep is to demonstrate the beginning of our good way of life” [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, VIII, XLVII, c. 78, CCSL143, p. 443].

Sequitur: 65dicens sibi in corde semper, quod publicanus ille evangelicus fixis in terram oculis dixit: Domine non sum dignus peccator ego levare oculos meos ad coelos. [Lc 18:13] Vide modo, quia valde necessarius est timor servilis; si enim istum publicanum elevavit et exaltavit timor servilis, quanto magis elevasset illum pharisaeum, qui bona se dixit fecisse; ille enim, quia non habuit istum timorem, ideo quadam nubecula jactantiae tactus impulsus cecidit.

Next: 65always saying in his heart what the publican in the gospel said, eyes fixed on the ground: Lord, as a sinner I am not worthy to lift by eyes to the heavens [cf. Lc 18.13]. See now that submissive fear is very necessary: if submissive fear lifted up and exalted this publican, how much more would it have elevated the pharisee, who said that he has done good works, for he, who did not have this fear, therefore touched by a puff of boasting, falls stricken.

Unde animadvertendum est, ut, qui hanc vocem dicit: Domine, non sum dignus levare oculos meos ad coelum, veraciter dicat, ea intentione dicat, qua ille publicanus dixit, quia nil valet, si ea intentione non dixerit. Nam multi sunt, qui hanc vocem dicunt, sed non illis proficit, quia ea intentione non [page 267] dicunt, qua ille publicanus dixit. Publicanus etenim dicebatur antiquitus, qui vectigalia, i. e. censum regium exigebat, sive qui publicis negotiis terrena lucra sibi cumulabat, sive etiam quod publice peccabat. [cf. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 12.227] Nam Matthaeus evangelista quia publicanus fuerit, alter evangelista manifestat, cum dicit telonearius; telon43 enim graece latine dicitur lucrum.

When it must be noted that he who speaks these words – “Lord, I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven” speaks truly and with the same intention as the publican spoke, which is worthless if he does not speak it with that intention. For there are many who mouth these words but it profits them nothing because they do not [page 267] speak with that intention with which the publican spoke. Long ago “publican” is what one was called who exacted taxes, that is, royal wealth, whether he gathered up earthly goods for himself in public affairs or because he sinned publically. [cf. Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 12.227] Another evangelist showed that the evangelist Matthew was a publican, when he said telonearius, “telon” in Greek what is called wealth [lucrum] in Latin.

Istud enim, quod dicit: Domine, non sum dignus ego peccator levare oculos meos ad coelum, duobus modis intelligi potest. Uno enim modo intelligitur, i. e. quia adeo se debet homo peccatorem et reum aestimare, ut non sit dignus, istos oculos corporeos ad istud coelum, quod est elementum visibile, elevare; altero modo intelligitur, quod melius est, quia ita se debet mens peccatricem et ream suo merito aestimare, ut non sit digna, intentionem suam dirigere ad contemplationem sanctorum, qui coeli nomine dicuntur.

What he said – “Lord, as a sinner I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven” – can be understood in two ways. The first way is that when a man can judge himself to be such a sinner and guilty that he is not worthy to lift those corporeal eyes to that heaven, which is a visible element. The second, which is better, is that the mind should judge itself sinning and guilty by its own merit so that it is not worthy to direct its intention to contemplation of holy things, which are all called by the noun “heaven.”

Hoc etiam notandum est, quia ille, qui hanc vocem, i. e. Domine, non sum dignus ego peccator levare oculos meos ad coelum, si veraciter dicit, a quatuor generibus superbiae alienus existit; nam quatuor sunt genera superbiae. Primum genus superbiae est, cum quis bonum suum, quod habet, non a Deo se credit habere, sed a se. Et iterum secundum genus superbiae, cum quis bonum, quod habet, quamvis a Deo credat se habere, tamen meritis suis. Tertium genus superbiae est, cum quis bonum, quod habet, quamvis a Deo se credat habere et non suis meritis, tamen plus caeteris se credit habere. Item quartum genus est superbiae, cum quis causa jactantiae bonum, quod non habet, dicit se habere.

This, too, must be noted: that he who says “Lord, as a sinner I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven,” if he speaks truly, is a stranger to four kinds of pride, since there are four kinds of pride. The first kind of pride is when someone believes that the goodness he has is not from God but from himself. And then the second kind of pride is someone believes that the goodness he has, although he believes it is from God, is nevertheless through his own merit. The third kind of pride is when someone believes that although the goodness he has is from God and not through his own merit, nevertheless he believes he has more of it than others. The fourth kind of pride is when someone saying boastingly that he has goodness that he does not have.

Vide modo, quomodo potest ille, qui veraciter dicit: non sum dignus levare oculos meos ad coelum, se credere bonum, quod habet, a Deo non habere? aut si a Deo credit habere, tamen meritis suis? vel certe, si a Deo credit habere et non suis meritis, tamen plus aliis? aut quomodo potest dicere habere, quod non habet, qui, sicut diximus, veraciter dicit: Domine, non sum dignus levare oculos meos ad coelum? [page 268] Notandum etenim est, quia iste pharisaeus contra praeceptum evangelicum fecit, quo dicitur: cum haec feceritis, dicite, quia servi inutiles sumus, et in eo, quod se glorificabat, in tertio genere superbiae laborabat. Nam qui dicit, plus caeteris se aliquid fecisse, videtur [enim] plus se habere dicere, eo quod gloriam Dei plus se habere credit, quam alii.

See now: how can this man who truly says “I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven” believe that the goodness he has is not from God? Or if he believes it to be from God, yet by his own merit? Or surely, if he believes he has it from God and not by his own merit, nevertheless more than others? Or how can he say he has what he does not have who, as we said, truly says, “Lord, I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven? [page 268] In fact, it must be noted that this pharisee acted contrary to gospel teaching in which it is said, “When you have done these things, say, We are useless servants” and thereby, because he glorified himself, he labored under the third kind of pride. For he who says that he has done something more than others seems to say he has more, because he believes he has the glory of God more than others.

Sequitur: 66Et iterum cum propheta: Incurvatus sum et humiliatus sum usquequaque. [Ps 37:7] Et quia superius duo proposuerat, ideo duo exempla subjunxit. Istud, quod dixit: Non sum dignus levare oculos meos ad coelum, attinet ad id, quod dixit defixis in terram oculis et reliq., et hoc, quod subjunxit: Incurvatus sum et humiliatus sum usquequaque, attinet ad id, quod dicit inclinato sit capite. Quamvis autem incurvatus sum et humiliatus sum unum significent, tamen incurvatus sum attinet ad corpus, humiliatus sum attinet ad animam. Usquequaque significat undique, i. e. ex omni parte, ex omni consideratione. Et hoc animadvertendum est, quia monachus, si talem habeat necessitatem, in qua non potest caput inclinare, sicuti est vitem putare vel laborare, in qua necessitas est caput erigere, si caput erigit, tamen mente caput inclinatum debet habere.

Next: 66And again with the prophet, “I am bowed down and humbled at every moment” [cf. Ps 37:7]. And because gave two above, he therefore added two examples. That which he said – “I am not worthy to lift my eyes to heaven” – applies to when he said eyes fixed on the ground and what he added -- “I am bowed down and humbled at every moment” – applies to when he said the head should be bowed down. Although “I am bowed down and humbled at every moment” means one thing, nevertheless “I am bowed down” pertains to the body, “I am humbled” to the soul. At every moment means completely, that is, one all sides, in every observance. And this must be understood: a monk, if he have such a need that he cannot bow his head down, as trimming a vine or working, in which it is necessary to hold up the head, if he lifts his head, nonetheless he should mentally have a bowed head.

Sequitur: 67Ergo his omnibus humilitatis gradibus ascensis monachus mox ad caritatem perveniet illam, quae perfecta foras mittit timorem,[1 Jn 4:18] 68per quam universa, quae prius non sine formidine observabat, absque ullo labore velut naturaliter ex consuetudine,44 69non jam timore gehennae, sed amore Christi et consuetudine ipsa bona et dilectione virtutum, 70quae Dominus in operarium suum mundum a vitiis et peccatis Spiritu sancto dignabitur demonstrare. Istud ergo ad omnes gradus respicit, ac si diceret: ergo si ita est, ut si per hos gradus ascendere debeat ad caritatem perfectam, istis duodecim gradibus ascensis mox, i. e. statim ad caritatem perveniet, quasi diceret: ad illam caritatem, quae perfecta foras mittit timorem.

Next: 67Therefore, once all these steps of humility have been climbed, the monk will soon reach that loving-kindness that “once perfected drives out fear,” [1 Io 4:18] 68through which all things that he practiced before in fear he will begin to do without any effort and as if naturally out of habit, 69no longer in the fear of hell but instead in the love of Christ, through both good habits and delight in virtue, 70which the Lord in the Holy Spirit will deem worthy to show his laborer now cleansed of vices and sins. This statement therefore looks back the all the steps, as if [Benedict] said, thus it is that if [a monk] can climb these steps to perfect loving-kindness, once these twelve steps have been climbed then soon, that is, immediately, he will reach loving-kindness, as if he said, that loving-kindness that “once perfected drives out fear.

In hoc enim, cum dicit illam caritatem, subintelligitur, quia ante monachus habeat castum [page 269] timorem, sed tamen non perfecte, quia superabatur a timore servili; nam in hoc potest cognoscere, quod aliquando timore servili, aliquando timore casto, quia aliquando amore Dei, aliquando timore gehennae agit bonum, i. e. lacrimas et reliq. Hanc autem caritatem martyres et apostoli, maxime prophetae habebant, qui Sancto Spiritu repleti meruerunt futura cognoscere. Utinam, o Deus, sicut illi sancti jugiter hunc castum meruerunt habere timorem, nos per intervallum timorem servilem mereamur habere!

In this place, where he says that loving-kindness, it should be understood that before a monk has holy [page 269] fear, but not yet perfected, because he is overcome by submissive fear; for here it can be understood the he does good sometimes in submissive fear, sometimes in holy fear, because sometimes in love of God and sometimes in fear of hell, that is, tears and the like. The martyrs and apostles and prophets had this loving-kindness to a great extent, those who, filled with the Holy Spirit, deserved to know the future. Oh God, would that we, with an interval of submissive fear, should merit having that holy fear unfailingly just as they merited it!

Per quam incipiet custodire velut naturaliter ex consuetudine universa, quae prius non sine formidine observabat, ac si diceret aliis verbis: Omnia, quae antea, i. e. ante perfectum amorem castum, non poterat ille monachus sine timore gehennae vel laboris custodire, postea quasi naturaliter, h. e. tanquam per naturam ex consuetudine custodiet. In hoc loco, enim dicit formidine, subaudiendum est: gehennae vel laboris.

Through submissive fear [a monk] will begin to keep to all things as if naturally by habit. If is as if [Benedict] said that all things that a monk was not able to keep to without fear of hell or work beforehand, that is, before perfected holy love, afterward he will keep to naturally, as if by nature out of habit. In this place where he says fear, it should be understood as fear of hell or work.

Bene dixit non jam timore gehennae, quia post perfectum castum amorem non per timorem gehennae, sed timore Christi et consuetudine ipsa bona et dilectione virtutum. Et bene dixit consuetudine ipsa bona, et subjunxit dilectione virtutum, quia sunt multi, qui nesciunt vim virtutis, tantum per consuetudinem agunt illas virtutes; v. gr. sunt multi, qui jejunant, et per consuetudinem est illis illud jejunium, quamvis non sapiant, ad quod bonum perducit jejunium. Nam sunt alii, qui sciunt et cognoscunt vim jejunii, eo quod ad mortificationem ducit hominem, et ideo non solum delectat illos jejunare per consuetudinem, verum etiam per dilectionem jejunii, quia cognoscunt, se ad mortificationem pervenire per jejunium.

Well he said no longer in fear of hell, because afterwards holy love is perfected not through fear of hell but in fear of Christ and through both good habits and delight in virtue. And well he said good habits and added delight in virtue, for there are many who do not know the power of virtue, and only perform virtues out of habit; for example, there are many who fast, and this fasting is habit for them although they do not know to what good fasting leads. There are others, who recognize and know the power of fasting – that it leads a man to mortification, and therefore it delights them to fast not only through habit, but also through love of fasting because they know they reach mortification through fasting.

In hoc autem loco quod dicit: Dominus jam in operarium suum mundum a vitiis et peccatis per Spiritum Sanctum dignabitur demonstrare, in illo quae subaudiendum est bona, i. e. amorem Christi et dilectionem virtutum et consuetudinem bonam, quae dignabitur demonstrare in operarium suum mundum a vitiis et peccatis. Ita construitur, i. e. mundum a vitiis et peccatis, quod Dominus dignabitur demonstrare in operarium suum mundum. Per quem mundum? i. e. per Spiritum [page 270] Sanctum vel a Spiritu Sancto, quia omnis indulgentia sive remissio peccatorum per Spiritum Sanctum fit. A quibus mundum? subauditur: a vitiis et peccatis. Ita distinguendum est. Ex consuetudine, i. e. per consuetudinem. Vitium et peccatum quamvis ad unum finem veniant, tamen peccatum pertinet ad unum, vitium autem ad consuetudinem. Explicit de XII gradibus.

And in this place when he says the Lord through the Holy Spirit will deem worthy to show his laborer now cleansed of vices and sins, it should be understood that these good things, that is love of Christ and delight in virtue and good habits, which he will deem worthy to show his laborer cleansed of vices and sins. Thus it is construed, that is, cleansed of vices and sins, the Lord will deem worthy to show his laborer. Cleansed by whom? It is through the Holy [page 270] Spirit or by the Holy Spirit, because all pardon and remission of sins is done through the Holy Spirit. Cleansed from what? From vices and sins is understood.2 So there is a distinction. From habit means through habit. Although vice and sin have the same end, nevertheless sin refers to one instance, vice to habit. Here ends the section on the twelve steps.

1. sententia (?). (Mittermüller).
2. sicut ablactatus est. Cod. Fürstzell, (Mittermüller).
3. Martenius (cap. VII. pag. 203) dubitat, utrum Hildemarus scripserit evocatio, an vocatio; at in omnibus Germaniae codicibus legitur evocatio. (Mittermüller).
4. facere. Cod. Fürstzell (Mittermüller) cernitur, inde deterius caecatur.
5. Moral. lib. 34 in cap. 41. B.Job. num.37.et homil. in Evangel. lib. 2. homil. 40 num. 8. (Mittermüller).
6. Codex Tegernseensis et Fürstenzellensis hoc loco haec exhibent: Deinde cum unusquisque angelus sive bonus sive malus gaudet de nostris bonis vel tristatur de nostris malis etc. quae primitus etiam in codice Mellicensi fuerunt, sed per rasuram emendata sunt. Cum eadem Martenius in suo commentario (cap. VII. de primo humilitatis gradu) ex pervetusto codice St. Benigni Divionensi afferat, haec lectio ipsis notariis et Hildemari discipulis imputanda erit. (Mittermüller).
7. exeant. Cod. Divion. ex Marten. (Mittermüller).
8. cavemus (?). (Mittermüller).
9. venit (?). (Mittermüller).
10. obedientiam? (Mittermüller).
11. qui, cum. (Mittermüller).
12. Anacoluthon (?). (Mittermüller).
13. Forsitan ita intelligendum sit: qui cognoscit, se per suam orationem aut meritum posse fratrem salvare, aut quod certe ipse frater per humilitatem et obedientiam suam possit salvari. (Mittermüller).
14. Morte afficimur. Codd. Tegerns. et Fürstzell. (Mittermüller).
15. voluntarius est (?). (Mittermüller).
16. claustram (?). (Mittermüller).
17. rectius: cum dicit: dicit. (Mittermüller).
18. S. Augustinus ita scripsit: Ideo forte additum est: qui voluerit tecum judicio contendere, quia, quod per judicium etc. de serm. Dom. in monte lib. 1. n. 66. (Migne tom. 34. col. 1263.). (Mittermüller).
19. implendum (?), impleri (?). (Mittermüller).
20. a foris. (Mittermüller).
21. defraudaverant? (Mittermüller).
22. facere (?), faciendum (?). (Mittermüller).
23. perpetuae (?). (Mittermüller).
24. temporalis (?). (Mittermüller).
25. scil. veniunt ad monasterium. (Mittermüller).
26. excessisset (?). (Mittermüller).
27. et? (Mittermüller).
28. Respondes (?). (Mittermüller).
29. respondeo (?). (Mittermüller).
30. scil. dicitur. (Mittermüller).
31. illa. Cod. Mellicens. (Mittermüller).
32. stans (?). (Mittermüller).
33. Omnes codices erronne: malorum. (Mittermüller).
34. mortalitatis. Cod Mellicens. (Mittermüller)
35. cf. infra cap. 18. (Mittermüller).
36. loqnendo (?). (Mittermüller).
37. Anacoluthon (?). (Mittermüller).
38. in media claustra (?). (Mittermüller).
39. impedimento. Codd. Tegerns. et Fürstzell. (Mittermüller).
40. In codicibus mendose scriptum est exteriora. (Mittermüller).
41. in hoc enim per omnia loca. cod. Mellic. (Mittermüller).
42. Ovium primogenita tondere est ab occultationis suae tegmine humanis oculis inchoantia bona nostra denudare. (Mittermüller).
43. τέλος (Mittermüller).
44. incipiet custodire. (Mittermüller).

1. Please refer this sentence to the Department of Redundancy Department, please.
2. In fact, it is explicitly stated in the Rule just quoted, you addle-pated fossil.

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