• Header 1
  • Header 2
  • Header 3


[Ms P, fol. 156vPaulus Diaconus]

Ch. 64

Translated by: Hildegund Müller

Sequitur: 1In abbatis ordinatione illa semper consideretur ratio, ut hic constituatur, quem sibi omnis concors congregatio secundum timorem Dei, sive etiam pars quamvis parva congregationis saniore consilio elegerit. 2Vitae autem merito et sapientiae doctrina eligatur, qui ordinandus est, etiamsi ultimus fuerit in ordine congregationis et reliqua.

He says next: 1In appointing an abbot, this procedure must always be kept in mind: the one installed should be one whom the entire community chooses, in harmony and the fear of God, or else the part of the community, however small, of sounder judgment. 2The one to be appointed should be chosen for merit of life and wisdom of teaching, even if he has the last rank in the community.

Forte quaerit aliquis, quare S. Benedictus hoc capitulum in primordio non scripsit. Cui respondendum est: Bene in hoc loco hoc capitulum scripsit, nec aliter etiam debuit facere, qui imprimis scripsit de illo vel pro illo, cum dixit: Ausculta o fili, praecepta magistri, [Regula Benedicti, prologue.1] eo, quod discipulum admonuit, ut obediret magistro. Deinde totum corpus comprehendit, cum de generibus vel vita monachorum dixit; ait enim: Ad coenobitarum fortissimum genus adjuvante Christo veniamus. [Regula Benedicti 1.30] Post vero quasi caput hujus corporis constituit, cum de abbate dixit, qualis debeat esse [Regula Benedicti, c. 2], tam in se, quam in exterioribus. Post vero de instrumentis bonorum operum dixit. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 4] Deinde de duodecim gradibus humilitatis dicit; [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 7] post autem de officiis divinis, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 8-20] deinde de judiciis, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 23-30] postmodum autem qualiter suscipiantur novitii, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 58] deinde de ordine congregationis. [Regula Benedicti, c. 63]

You may ask why Saint Benedict did not write this chapter at the beginning (of his Rule). The answer is: It is a good thing that he put this chapter in this place, and he should not have done differently, since he wrote in the first place about the abbot and in the interest of the abbot when he said: Listen, o son, to the commands of the master. [Regula Benedicti, prologue.1] For there he admonished the student to obey the master. Afterwards he encompassed the whole body (of the monastic congregation), when he was speaking about the kinds and the life of monks. For this is what he said: Let us now with the help of Christ come o the strongest kind of monks, the cenobites. [Regula Benedicti, c. 1.30] But after this, he established a head for this body, so to speak, when he was talking about the abbot, what sort of a man he should be [Regula Benedicti, c. 2] both with regard to his own character and to his dealings with the outside world. Again, after that, he discussed the instruments of good works. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 4] After that, he discussed the twelve grades of humility, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 7] then the Divine Offices, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 8-20] judgments, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 23-30] afterwards, how novices should be received, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 58] then the order in the congregation. [Regula Benedicti, c. 63]

Deinde ordinato capite cum corpore suo, quia non potest aliter, ut istud caput, i. e. abbas non moriatur, ideo nunc de restauratione capitis, i. e. abbatis congruo loco hoc capitulum constituit. Dicit enim: In abbatis ordinatione illa semper consideretur ratio, ut hic constituatur, quem sibi omnis concors congregatio secundum timorem Dei - subaudiendum est: elegerit - sive etiam pars quamvis parva congregationis saniore consilio elegerit. Notandum vero est, quia tres distinctiones in hoc loco fecit S. Benedictus : primam, cum dixit si omnis concors congregatio cum timore Dei elegerit.

Now he has a body with a head assigned to it: but since it is impossible that this head, that is, the abbot, does not die, he now dedicates this chapter, in its fitting place, to the question of how this head, that is, the abbot, should be replaced. For this is what he says: In appointing an abbot, this procedure must always be kept in mind: the one installed should be one whom the entire community chooses, in harmony and the fear of God – understand: chooses1 –, or else the part of the community, however small, of sounder judgment. Note that Saint Benedict in this place made three distinctions. The first occurs when he said: the entire community chooses, in harmony and with2 the fear of God.

Et bene dixit cum timore Dei; quia et est mala concordia sine timore Dei, sicut inferius dicturus est, [page 584] cum dicit: 3Quod si etiam omnis congregatio vitiis suis, quod quidem absit, consentientem personam pari consilio elegerit, 4et vitia ipsa aliquantulum in notitiam episcopi, ad cujus dioecesim pertinet locus ipse, vel ad abbates aut christianos vicinos claruerint, 5prohibeant pravorum praevalere consensum, sed domui Dei dignum constituant dispensatorem, 6scientes pro hoc se recepturos mercedem bonam, si illud caste et zelo Dei faciant, sicut econtrario peccatum, si negligant

And he did well to say with the fear of God, because there also is an evil harmony without the fear of God; which is something he will discuss later, [page 584] when he says: 3If, God forbid, the entire community in common counsel chooses a person who condones its vices, 4and these vices somehow come to the attention of the bishop in whose diocese the monastery is located or to neighboring abbots and Christians, 5they should prevent the plotting of the perverse from prevailing, instead setting up a worthy steward of the house of God, 6knowing that they will receive a good reward for it, provided they do it purely and with zeal for God, and if, on the contrary, they neglect this duty, it is a sin.

Secundam distinctionem fecit, cum dicit sive etiam pars quamvis parva saniore consilio elegerit. Tertiam vero distinctionem fecit illam, quam praediximus, cum dicit quod si etiam omnis congregatio vitiis suis, quod quidem absit, consentientem personam pari consilio elegerit, et reliq.

He made the second distinction when he said: or else the part of the community, however small, of sounder judgment. The third distinction he made is the one we have mentioned before, when he said If, God forbid, the entire community in common counsel chooses a person who condones its vices, and so on.

Hoc notandum est, quia in hoc loco, quod dicit quamvis parva, subintelligitur: si media pars congregationis saniore consilio, sive etiam pars major congregationis saniore consilio elegerit, illis consentiendum est, qui saniori, i. e. meliori consilio eligunt.

Note that when he says here however small is is to be understood that whatever part of the community chooses the abbot with sounder judgment, be it a medium-size part or a even a large one, those are the ones we should agree with, who use sounder judgment in their choice, that is, better judgment.

Quid est parva congregatio? Verbi gratia, si quinquaginta monachi sunt, qui malum abbatem eligunt, et sunt duo boni fratres, qui meliorem abbatem eligunt, istis duobus consentiendum est et non illis quinquaginta. Similiter si centum sunt, qui negligentem abbatem eligunt, et tres sunt, qui meliorem abbatem eligunt, illis tribus consentiendum est et non illis centum. Similiter si ducenti vel trecenti aut etiam quingenti, et fuerint tres aut quatuor vel quinque boni, qui meliorem eligunt, istis tribus vel quatuor aut quinque fratribus consentiendum est et non illis ducentis vel trecentis aut quingentis.

What is a small community?3 For example, if there are fifty monks who choose a bad man for their abbot and two good brothers who choose a better one, we should give our consent to the two and not to the fifty. Similarly, if there are a hundred who choose a careless man for their abbot and three who choose a better man, we have to give our consent to the three and not to the hundred. In the same way if there are two hundred or three hundred or even five hundred, we have to give our consent to the three or four or five brothers and not to the two hundred or three hundred or five hundred.

Et bene dixit etiamsi ultimus fuerit in congregatione, quia in tali electione nullatenus ordo servari debet. Verbi gratia, si fuerit talis, qui per triginta annos fuerit in monasterio et non fuerit dignus, et alter fuerit, qui uno anno habitavit in monasterio et fuerit dignus, iste est eligendus, qui uno anno habitavit in monasterio studiose et diligenter, et non ille, qui per triginta annos tepide et negligenter habitavit in monasterio.

And he does well to say: even if he has the last rank in the community, because in this kind of choice, we should by now means attend to hierarchy. For example, if there is someone who has been in the monastery for thirty years and has always been worthless, and there is another one who has dwelt in the monastery for one year an has been worthy, we should choose the one who has dwelt in the monastery for one year with zeal and diligence and not the one who has dwelt in the monastery for thirty years and has always been lukewarm and uninterested.

Hactenus B. Benedictus dixit, qualiter eligatur abbas. Nunc vero subjunxit, quae persona eligatur, [page 585] cum dixit: vitae autem merito et sapientiae doctrina eligendus est, qui ordinandus est, etiamsi ultimus fuerit in congregatione.

Up to this point, Saint Benedict had discussed how the abbot should be chosen. Then he moved on to the question which kind of person should be chosen, [page 585] when he said: The one to be appointed should be chosen for merit of life and wisdom of teaching, even if he has the last rank in the community.

Attendendum est, quia duo dixit B. Benedictus habere illum, qui eligendus est ad abbatem consecrandum, i. e. vitam et sapientiam. Notandum est enim, quia si inveniri potest, qui ista duo habeat, i. e. sapientiam et vitam bonam, ipse est eligendus; si vero non fuerit inventus, qui ista duo habeat, sed divise.

Consider that Saint Benedict said that the person who should be chosen to be appointed abbot should have two qualities, namely, his way of life and his wisdom. Note that if someone can be found who has both of these two, that is, wisdom and a good way of life, that person should be chosen; but if no one can be found who has both of those, but only someone who has them separately.

V. gr. si inventus fuerit talis frater, qui vitam bonam habuerit et tamen non habuerit sapientiam, et iterum invenitur alter frater, qui vitam bonam non habuerit, et tamen habuerit sapientiam, ille eligendus est magis, qui vitam bonam habet, quamvis non habeat sapientiam, quam ille, qui sapientiam habet et non bonam vitam. Si autem talis fuerit illa persona, quae vitam bonam habet et tamen non est affabilis, ut aliis possit prodesse, sicut solent multi esse, eo quod non sunt affabiles nec zelum habent, et iterum est alter, qui sapientiam habet et potest aliis prodesse eo, quod est affabilis et zelans, et quamvis ejus vita sit fragilis, tamen non multum est mala, iste est potius eligendus, qui, quamvis ejus vita sit fragilis, tamen non multum est mala, si sapientiae doctrina affabilis est, ut aliis proficiat. Si autem iste, qui, quamvis sapiens sit, tamen ejus vita multum est mala, ille eligendus est, qui vitam bonam habet, quamvis non sit ita doctus, ut aliis proficiat.

For example if a brother can be found who has a good way of life, but does not have wisdom, and if, on the other hand, another brother can be found who does not have a good way of life, but has wisdom, we should rather choose the one who has a good way of life, even though he does not have wisdom, than the one who has wisdom, but not a good way of life. But if there is such a person who does have a good way of life, but on the other hand is not eloquent4 enough that he can benefit others – as is the case with many people, because they are not eloquent and do not have zeal – and on the other hand if there is another one who possesses wisdom and can benefit others, because he is eloquent and zealous, and even if his life is prone to temptation,5 it is not all that bad, we should rather choose the one whose life, while prone to temptation, is not all that bad, if he is friendly and possesses the teachings of wisdom, so that he can benefit others. However, if there is one who may be wise, but his way of life is very bad, we should choose one who has a good way of life, even if he is not learned enough to benefit others.

Dioecesim, i. e. parochiam. Aliquatenus, i. e. aliquo modo. Caste, i. e. sine corruptione vanae gloriae vel praemiorum. Sicut enim merces est, si hoc malum sine vana gloria aut praemio prohibent, ita e contrario peccatum est, si negligant.

Diocese: that is, parish (parochia).6 Somehow, that is, in some way.7 Purely, that is, without the blemish of vainglory or corruption. For while on the one hand it merits a reward if they avert this evil without being vainglorious or corrupt, it is on the other hand a sin, if they neglect to do so.

Bene dicit si illud caste et zelo Dei faciant; cum dicit illud, subaudiendum est: bonum, i. e, ut bonus ordinetur abbas, non malus. Ac per hoc ut merces sit illis, qui pro bono ordinando abbate laboraverint, ideo dicit: scientes pro hoc se recepturos mercedem bonam, si illud caste et zelo Dei faciant - quasi diceret: scient, se pro hoc labore a Deo mercedem recepturos, si hoc pro Dei amore laboraverint et sine ullius muneris retributione. Caste enim attinet ad hoc, ut sine corruptione fiat, i. e. [page 586] sine permixtione vanae gloriae aut alicujus muneris vel retributionis. Zelo Dei attinet ad amorem Dei; zelus Dei est amor perficiendi Dei praecepta. Talis enim sensus est in hoc loco, cum dicit caste et zelo Dei, qualis est in illo loco, ubi dicit propheta: Beatus qui excutit manum suam ab omni munere [Is 33.15]

He aptly says provided they do it purely and with zeal for God. When he says it, understand ‘this good deed’, that is, that a good man be apointed abbot, not an evil one. And because of this, namely, that those who toil for the appointment of a good abbot be rewarded, he says: knowing that they will receive a good reward for it, provided they do it purely and with zeal for God, by which he means: they know that they will receive a reward from God, if they toil in this for the love of God and without receiving gifts for it. For purely refers to the fact that this should happen without corruption, that is [page 586] without the influence of vainglory or whatever gift or payment. With zeal for God refers to the love for God; zeal for God is the loving desire8 to fulfill God’s commands. The meaning of purely and with zeal for God here is similar to the words of the prophet Blessed is he who keeps his hand from all bribes”. [Is 33:15]

Quem sensum B. Gregorius exponit in evangelio, ubi Dominus dicit: Gratis accepistis, gratis date: [Mt 10:8] Praesciebat namque nonnullos [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: hoc ipsum donum accepti Spiritus in usum negotiationis inflectere, et miraculorum signa ad avaritiae obsequium declinare. Hinc est enim quod Simon Magus, per impositionem manus edita miracula conspiciens, percipere donum Spiritus sancti pecunia voluit, [cf. Act 8:18-19] scilicet ut deterius venderet quod male comparasset. Hinc de templo redemptor noster flagello de resticulis facto turbas ejecit, cathedras vendentium columbas evertit. [cf. Io 2:15; Mt 21:12; Mc 11:15] Columbas quippe vendere est impositionem manus qua Spiritus sanctus accipitur, non ad vitae meritum, sed ad praemium dare.

The meaning of this is explained by Saint Gregory commenting on the words of the Lord in the Gospel: Freely you have received; freely give [Mt 10:8], thus: For he knew in advance that some people would use this very gift of the Spirit for financial gain, and exploit miracles in the service of greed. This is why Simon Magus, perceiving that miracles were done by laying on hands, wanted to acquire the gift of the Holy Spirit for money, [cf. Act 8:18-19] , thus selling worse what he would have bought badly. This is why our saviour made a scourge out of small cords and drove the masses out of the temple and overturned the tables of the dove-sellers. [cf. Io 2:15; Mt 21:12; Mc 11:15] For to sell doves means to bestow the laying-on of hands not for the gain of life, but for money

Sed sunt nonnulli qui quidem nummorum praemia ex ordinatione non accipiunt, et tamen sacros ordines pro humana gratia largiuntur, atque de largitate eadem laudis solummodo retributionem quaerunt. Hi nimirum quod gratis acceptum est gratis non tribuunt, quia de impenso officio sanctitatis nummum expetunt favoris. Unde bene cum justum virum describeret propheta, ait: 'Qui excutit manus suas ab omni munere'. [Is 33:15] Neque enim dicit: Qui excutit manus suas a munere, sed adjunxit ab omni, quia aliud est munus ab obsequio, aliud munus a manu, aliud munus a lingua.

There are some, however, who do not receive cash money for ordination, but they bestow the holy orders out of human kindness and only ask for praise in return. Those other ones do not bestow freely what they received for free, because they ask for the currency of favor in return for the holy office. Is is fitting, therefore, that the prophet, when he described a just man, said, 'he shakes his hands from all gifts'. [Is 33:15] For he does not say “from a gift”, but rather added “all gifts”, because there is a difference between a gift of obedience, a gift of the hand and a gift of the tongue.<>/em

Munus quippe ab obsequio est subjectio indebite impensa, munus a manu pecunia est, munus a lingua favor. Qui ergo sacros ordines tribuit, tunc ab omni munere manus excutit, quando in divinis rebus non solum nullam pecuniam, sed etiam humanam gratiam non requirit.

The gift of obedience is submission granted without compulsion, the gift of the hand is money, the gift of the tongue is favor. Hence he who bestows holy orders shakes his hands from all gifts if he not only does not demand money for sacred rites, but not even the favor of men.

Sed vos, fratres charissimi, quos saecularis habitus tenet, cum quae sint nostra cognoscitis, mentis oculos ad vestra revocate. Cuncta erga vos vicissim gratis agite. Nolite operis vestri in hoc mundo retributionem quaerere, quem cum tanta jam cernitis velocitate defecisse. Sicut male acta abscondi vultis ne alii videant, ita bona ne ad humanam laudem appareant cavete. Neque mala quoque modo, nec bona pro temporali retributione faciatis. Ipsum vestri operis testem quaerite quem judicem sustinctis. Occulta nunc bona vestra esse videat, ut ea retributionis suae tempore] in publico ostendat. [Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia 4, c. 4-5, CCSL 141, pp. 30-31]

You, however, dearest brethren, who lead a secular life, cast the eyes of your minds upon your own situation when you hear about ours. Do everything towards one another for free. Do not ask for a reward for your works in this world, since you see that it vanishes so quickly. If you want your evil deeds to be hidden so that others cannot see them, take care as well that your good deeds do not become visible to provoke human praise. Do not do evil under any circumstances, do not to good for worldly rewards. See only him as witness for your acts whom you suffer as a judge. May he see your good deeds now hidden away, so that he may show them forth in public at the time of retribution. [Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia 4, c. 4-5]

Sequitur: 7Ordinatus autem abbas cogitet semper, quale onus suscepit, et cui redditurus est rationem vilicationis suae; 8sciatque, sibi oportere prodesse magis, quam praeesse. Hactenus dicit, qualiter fiat abbas. Nunc ordinatum abbatem docet [illum], qualiter agat, et mittit frenum illi, cum dicit: Ordinatus autem abbas cogitet semper, quale onus suscepit, et cui redditurus est rationem vilicationis suae et rel.

He says next: 7Once appointed, the abbot should always be mindful of what a burden he has undertaken, and to whom he will ‘render an account of his stewardship’13 and know that he should benefit the brothers rather than preside over them. Until here he has discussed how someone is made abbot. Now he instructs the person appointed abbot how to act, and he reins him in by saying: Once appointed, the abbot should always be mindful of what a burden he has undertaken, and to whom he will ‘render an account of his stewardship’ and so on.

Per hoc autem, quod dicit ordinatus autem abbas cogitet, quale onus suscepit et reliq., attendendum est, quia non dicit solummodo cogitet, sed dicit semper, i. e. non per intervallum cogitet, sed semper.

When he says Once appointed, the abbot should always be mindful of what a burden he has undertaken and so on, note that he does not just say should be mindful, but always, that is, he should not consider this now and again, but all the time.

Sciendum est enim, quia non dicit ‘honor’, sed onus, i. e. pondus. Et bene pondus dixit illum suscepisse et non honorem, quia, qui hoc pondus suscipit, non ut honoretur, suscipere illud debet, sed ut laboret et aliis proficiat, sicut ipse subjungit sciatque sibi oportere prodesse magis quam praeesse.

You must know that he does not say ‘honor’ but burden14, that is ‘load’. And he does well to say that this man has received a load, not an honor, because he who takes up this load should not do so in order to receive an honor but in order to toil and to benefit others, which is what Benedict says next: and (he should) know that he should benefit the brothers rather than preside over them.

Attendendum est, quia non dicit praeesse, sed prodesse, quasi diceret: Cognoscat abbas, ideo hoc officium suscepisse, quia oportet [illud],1 ut aliis proficiat et non praesit. Mali e contrario non se sciunt prodesse, sed praeesse, i. e. ideo accipiunt officium pastorale, ut honorati et praelati videantur, non ut aliis possint prodesse, i. e. adjutorium praebere, sed ut magis ac magis divitias et honores sibi exposcunt2 assumi.

Consider that he says benefit rather than preside,15 which means: The abbot should realize that he has assumed this office because he has to be useful for others, not preside over them. Evil people, on the other hand, do not conceive of themselves as benefitting, but of presiding, that is, they take up a pastoral office in order to show themselves off as honored persons in a superior position, not in order to benefit others, that is, give aid, but in order to demand more and more riches and honors for themselves.

Praeesse, i. e. superesse. Vilicationis suae, i. e. ministerii sui; ‘vilicus’ enim derivatur a ‘villa’, unde quidam hoc [page 587] nomen per duo ‘ll’ pronuntiant ‘villicus’ dicentes, sed hoc euphonia judicat (iudicat?), quae pro longo usu utitur in regulam. Vilicus enim proprie, sicut Isidorus dicit, villae gubernator est, unde et a villa villicus nomen accepit. Interdum autem vilicus non gubernationem villae, sed dispensationem universae domus Tullio interpretante significat, quod est universarum possessionum et villarum dispensator. [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae IX, c. 4.33]

Preside, that is, be in a superior position. Of his stewardship: that is, of his office. For the word ‘vilicus’ (‘steward’) is derived from ‘villa’. This is why [page 587] some people spell the word with two ll –villicus –, but this is decided by euphony, which is adopted as a rule because of longtime usage (?). According to Isidore, the original meaning of ‘vilicus’ is ‘steward of a villa’ which is why ‘vil(l)icus’ also got its name from ‘villa’. Sometimes, however, vilicus does not refer to the steward of a villa, but of an entire household, according to the interpretation of Tullius which is ‘steward of all the belongings and farmholds. [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae IX, c. 4.33]16

Sequitur: 9Oportet ergo eum esse doctum lege divina, ut sciat et sit, unde proferat nova et vetera. [cf. Mt 13:52]. - Bene dixit, esse abbatem doctum lege divina, quia debet cognitionem novi et veteris testamenti habere, quia, sicut dicit B. Gregorius papa, ars artium est gubernatio et doctrina animarum. [cf. Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis I, c. 1, SC 381, p. 128]3 Nam quare dixerit, illum esse doctum lege divina, manifestat, cum subjunxit dicens ut sciat et sit, unde nova et vetera proferat, quasi diceret: ut cognoscat et sit tale vasculum, unde possit nova et vetera proferre. Nam cum sit dicit, vas eum fecit; hoc est dicere: sciat per doctrinam, sit per vitam. Ille enim scit nova et vetera proferre, qui cognoscit dicere poenam perpetuam et gaudium patriae coelestis.

9Therefore it is fitting that he be learned in divine law, so that he knows how “to be a source of the old and the new.” [cf. Mt 13:52] He speaks aptly of the abbot being learned in divine law, because he has to have knowledge of both the Old and the New Testament; for, as the Holy Pope Gregory says, the art of leading and teaching souls is the art of all arts. [cf. Gregory the Great, Regula pastoralis I, c. 1] For he makes clear why he speaks of him being learned in divine law when he goes on: so that he knows and is ‘a source from which he might ‘retrieve the old and the new’, which is the same thing as ‘so that he may know and be a vessel from which he might retrieve old and new.’ For when he says is he makes him a vessel.17 This means: he should know through his learning and be through his life. For he is the man who can ‘retrieve old and new’, who knows how to discuss eternal pain18 and the joys of the heavenly realm.

Quid enim per nova nisi gaudium, et quid per vetus nisi poena intelligitur ? Quia, sicut dicit B. Gregorius, ille in sancta ecclesia doctus praedicator est, qui et nova scit proferre de suavitate regni, et vetusta dicere de terrore supplicii, ut vel poenae terreant, quos praemia non invitant. Audiat de regno, quod amet, audiat de supplicio unusquisque, quod timeat, ut torpentem animum et terrae vehementer inhaerentem, si amor ad regnum non trahit, vel timor minet4 [Gregory the Great, Homilae in Evangelia 11, c. 5, CCSL 141, p. 78]

What else does new mean but ‘joy’, and old but ‘pain’? As Saint Gregory says, for he is a learned preacher in the church, who knows how to retrieve the new from the sweetness of the kingdom and how to discuss the old from the horror of punishment, so that those who are not drawn by the rewards might at least be frightened of the punishment. May everyone hear about the kingdom what he should love and about the punishment what he should fear, so that a lazy and strongly earthbound soul might at least be threatened by fear, if it cannot be drawn towards the kingdom by love. [Gregory the Great, Homilae in Evangelia 11, c. 5]

Bene dicit ut sciat et sit, quia scriptura dicit: tam doctrina quam vita clarere debet ecclesiasticus doctor. Nam doctrina sine vita arrogantem reddit; vita sine doctrina inutilem facit. Sacerdotis praedicatio operibus confirmanda est, ita ut quod docet verbo, instruat exemplo. Vera est enim illa doctrina, quam vivendi sequitur forma. [page 588] Nam nihil turpius est, quam si bonum, quod quisque sermone praedicat, explere operibus negligat; tunc enim praedicatio utiliter profertur, quando efficaciter adimpletur. Unusquisque doctor et bonae actionis et bonae praedicationis habere debet studium; nam alterum sine altero non facit perfectum, sed praecedit, justum bene agere, ut sequenter bene possit docere. Sicut in numismate metallum et figura et pondus inquiritur, ita in omni doctore ecclesiastico, quid sequatur, quid doceat, quomodo vivat. Per qualitatem igitur metalli doctrina, per figuram similitudo patrum, per pondus humilitas designatur. Qui vero ab his tribus discrepaverit, non metallum, sed terra erit. [Isidore of Seville, Sententia III, c. 36.1-3/5, CCSL 111, p. 276-277]

He says aptly so that he knows and is, because Scripture19 says: A teacher in the church must be shining both in his learning and his life. For learning without the right life makes him arrogant, and the right life without learning makes him useless. The preachings of a priest ought to be confirmed by his deeds, so that he might instruct us by his example in what he teaches with his word. For a true instruction is such that the way of life is in accordance with it. [page 588] For there is nothing more shameful than if someone neglects to fulfill in his deeds what he preaches in his words. For preaching will only uttered in a useful way if it is fulfilled in an operative way. Every teacher must be intent on good actions and good preaching; for either of the two, on its own, does not make a man perfect, but a just man20 first has to do good in order that he can consequently teach the good. As with a coin, we ask about metal and coinage and weight, in the same way with every teacher in the Church we ask about what he follows,21 what he teaches, and how he lives. Thus the quality of the metal signifies his teaching, the coinage his similarity to (i. e. imitation of) the Fathers, the weight his humility.22 Whosoever falls short of these three, will not be metal but earth. [Isidore of Seville, Sententia III, c. 36.1-3/5]

Sequitur: 9Castum, sobrium, misericordem, 10et semper superexaltet misericordiam judicio [Iac 2:13 ], ut idem ipse consequatur, istud enim, quod dicit castum - ipse castus appellatur, qui post perpetrationem sceleris se continet. Notandum est, quia si ante perpetravit illud vitium, abbas potest esse, eo quod sacrificium abbas ob hoc, quia abbas est, non offert.

He says next: 9that he be chaste, sober, merciful, and should always put mercy above justice, [Iac 2:13] in order that the same may happen to him. When he says chaste, this is how someone is called who lives in continence after having committed a crime. Note that a person can be abbot even if he committed a crime once, because an abbot does not celebrate Mass just because he is abbot.

Nam differentia est inter castitatem et continentiam, sicut dicit Cassianus in libris, qui de octo vitiis continetur,5 hoc modo: Nemo tamen ex hoc negare nos putet [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from SC 109: etiam in congregatione fratrum positos inveniri continentes: quod perfacile posse fieri confitemur. Aliud enim est continentem esse, id est ‘egkrate’, aliud castum, et ut ita dicam in affectum integritatis vel incorruptionis transire, quod dicitur ‘agnon’ quae virtus illis solis tribuitur maxime, qui virgines vel carne vel mente perdurant, ut uterque Johannes in novo testamento, in veteri quotque Helias, Hieremias, Danihel fuisse noscuntur. In quorum gradu hi quoque non inmerito reputabuntur, qui post experimenta corruptionis ad similem puritatis statum per laborem langum et industriam integritate mentis et corporis pervenerunt et aculeos carnis non tam inpugrnatione concupiscentiae turpis, quam naturae tantummodo motu sentient. Quem statum dicimus difficillime posse inter hominum turbas adprehendi. Utrum vero et impossiblie sit, unusquisque non nostra sentential expectet agnoscere, sed conscientiae suae rimetur examine.

For there is a difference between chastity and abstinence,23 as Cassian says in his books on the eight vices, as follows: Yet no one should think form this that we are denying than there are also those who are abstinent in communities of the brothers. That this is the case we freely confess. For it is one thing to be abstinent – that is, egkrate – and another to be chaste and, to put it in this way, to pass over to a disposition of integrity and incorruption, which is called hagnon. This is a virtue that is bestowed in a very special manner only on those who remain virgins in both flesh and mind, as both Johns are known to have been in the New Testament, and also Elijah, Jeremiah, and Daniel in the Old. Not unjustifiably will they also be numbered among those who, after having experienced corruption, have attained to a similar degree of purity through lengthy toil and effort and by way of integrity of mind and body, and who do not feel the strings of the flesh in the form of an onslaught of base desire but only in the form of a movement of nature. We say that this state can be attained with great difficulty by the multitude. But whether it is impossible is for each individual to know; based not on our assertion but on a thorough examination of his own conscience.

Ceterum continentes multos existere non dubitamus, qui inpugnationem carnis, quam vel raro vel cotidie sustinent, seu metu gehennae seu desiderio regni caelorum extingunt qtque conpescunt. Quos seniores sicut pronuntiant posse non penitus incentivis obrui vitiorum, ita securos et insauciatos semper exsitere non posse definiunt. Necesse est enim quemque in conloctatione positum quamvis frequenter adversarium vincat ac superet, et ipsum tamen] aliquando turbari. [Cassian, Institutiones VI, c. 4, SC 109, pp. 266-268]

We, however, do not doubt that there are many who are abstinent and who extinguish and suppress the attacks of the flesh, which they endure either infrequently or every day, out of fear of hell and desire for the kingdom of heaven. These persons, the elders, declare, are able not to be completely overwhelmed by the impulses of vice, but they also assert that they cannot ever be safe and invulnerable. For it is inevitable that, if a person is engaged in battle, he himself will sometimes be shaken even though he often conquers and overcomes the enemy. [Cassian, Institutiones VI, c. 4, transl. Boniface Ramsey, New York/Mahwah 2000, pp. 154-155]

Nunc videndum est, quare prius castum dicit S. Benedictus et non aliud? quia nullum vitium ita est Deo abominabile, quomodo immunditia corporalis, et ob hoc prius dixit, eo quod, si in aliqua immunditia corporis jacuerit, nullo modo abbas fieri debet, quia malum hoc valde Deo horribile est.

Now we have to see why Saint Benedict says chaste first and not something else. This is because no vice is as abhorrent to God as bodily impurity, and therefore he says it first, because if someone is prone to any impurity of the body, he can by no means be made abbot, because this evil is deeply abhorrent to God.

Sobrium; bene dicit sobrium, i. e. non gulosum, non vagulum; sed temperatus et modestus esse debet.

Sober: He aptly says sober, that is, not a glutton, not a wandering spirit,24 but he has to be temperate and modest.

Misericordem; bene dicit, misericordem debere esse abbatem, quia, sicut Dominus dicit: Beati misericordes, quoniam misericordiam consequuntur. [Mt 5:7] Notandum, quia misericordem oportet illum esse in cibo et potu et vestitu. Si autem in vitiis ventum fuerit et ibi [page 589] dubium fuerit, utrum poenam exerceat an misericordiam, tolerabilius est flectere ad misericordiam quam ad poenam.

Merciful: he aptly says that the abbot has to be merciful, because, as the Lord says, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. [Mt 5:7] Note that he must be merciful with regard to food, drink and clothing.25 However, if someone has arrived in sin26 and there [page 589] is doubt whether the abbot should extend punishment or mercy, it is more acceptable that he tend towards mercy than towards punishment.

Misericors enim, sicut Isidorus dicit, a compatiendo alienae miseriae vocabulum est sortitus, et hinc appellata misericordia, quod miserum cor faciat dolentis alienam miseriam. Non autem occurrit ubique haec etymologia; nam est in Domino misericordia sine ulla cordis miseria. [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae X, c. 164]

For, as Isidore says, the merciful one got his name from his feeling pain because of another person’s misery, and mercy is called thus (misericordia) because it gives a miserable heart (miserum cor) to the one who is in pain over someone else’s misery. However, this etymology does not always apply; for the Lord has mercy without any misery of the heart. [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae X, c. 164]

Quod vero dixit semper superexaltet misericordiam judicio, - quasi diceret: semper superponat misericordiam judicio, i. e. poenae; quasi diceret: semper majorem faciat misericordiam in judicio quam poenam, quia melius est, ubi offendere videtur, in misericordia offendat, sicut diximus, quam in crudelitate offendere.

When he says: (he) should always ‘put mercy above justice, he means to say: He should always prefer mercy to justice, that is, to punishment, which means: in judgment, he should always give mercy a higher standing than punishment, for it is better, if he strays, to stray by mercy, as we have said, than to stray by cruelty.

Quod enim in mensura judiciorum dandorum magis ad misericordiam flectendum sit quam ad poenam6 crudelitatem, docet Joannes, os aureum, in tractatu suo super Matthaeum, ubi Dominus dicit: Alligant autem, onera gravia et inportabilia et imponunt super humeros hominum, ipsi autem digito suo nolunt ea movere: [Mt 23:4] Quantum ad Pharisaeos quidem et scribas, de quibus loquitur, onera gravia [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from PG: et importabilia dicit legis mandata, maxime quae dederat eis Deus propter peccatum vituli adorati, quae scribae et Pharisaei docebant, suadentes populo secundum mandata vivere legis, et non venire ad facilem et delectabilem gratiam Christi. De quibus onerosis mandatis et Dominus sipra dicebat, exhortans populum Judaeorum: ‘Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego vobis requens dabo.’ [Mt 11:28] Et Petrus in Actibus apostologum dicit: ‘Et vos, quid tentatis Deum, et vultis imponere jugum super cervices discipulorum, quod neque nos, neque patres nostri portare potuimus? Sed per gratiam Christi credimus salvi fieri.’ [Act 15:10-11]

For John Chrysostom teaches in his treatise on Matthew that in measuring out judgment one should rather tend towards mercy than towards punishment [and] cruelty.27 Here, the Lord says: ‘For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them’. [Mt 23:4] With reference to the Pharisees and scribes, about whom he is talking, what he calls heavy and insupportable burdens are the rules of the law, which God imposed on them mainly because of their sin in having worshipped a calf. The scribes and the pharisees had told them to do this, and had convinced the people to live in accordance with the rules of the law, not to attain the easy and pleasant grace of Christ. The Lord, too, had talked before about those burdensome commands, when he admonished the Jewish people: “Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” [Mt 11:28] And Peter says in the Acts of the Apostles: “Now therefore, why do you tempt God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we believe to be saved.” [Act 15:10-11]

Erant enim quidam, qui onera legis quibusdam rationibus fabulosis commendantes auditoribus suis, quasi vincula super humeros cordis eorum alligabant, ut quasi rationis vinculo constricti, non rejicerent ea a se: ipsi autem nec ex modica parte ea implebant: id est, nun dicam, plena opere suo, sed nec modico tanctu, hoc est digito. Secundum consequentiam autem tales sunt etiam nunc sacerdotes, qui omnem justitiam populo mandant, et ipsi nec modice servant, videliced nun ut facientes sint justi, sed ut docentes appareant justi. Tales sunt et qui grave pondus venientibus ad poenitentiam imponunt, qui dicunt et non faciunt [cf. Mt. 23:3]; et sic, dum poena poenitentiae praesentis fugitur, contemnitur poena peccati futuri. Si enim fascem super humeros adolescentis, quam non potest bajulare, posueris: necesse habet, ut aut fascem rejiciat, aut sub pondere confrinagur: sic et homini, cui grave pondus poenitentiae ponis, necesse est, ut aut poenitentiam tuam rejiciat, aut suscipiens, dum suffere non potest, scandalizatus amplius peccet.

For there were some who recommended the rules of the law to their audience with made-up reasons and thus were binding them like fetters to the shoulders of their hearts, so they would think themselves to be bound by the fetters of reason and would not throw them off. But they themselves did not in the least fulfill these commands. What I mean is: not only did they not fulfill them completely, but they did not even touch them slightly, as if with a finger. Consequently, there are even now priests which command perfect justice from the people and do not adhere to it one tiny little bit, because they do not care to act upon it and be just, but rather to teach it and appear just. Those are the priests that impose heavy burdens on those who come to do penance, ‘who say and do not do.’ [cf. Mt 23:3] Thus while they eschew penance in the present world, they disregard the future punishment for their sin. For if you impose a bale on the shoulders of a youth, which he is not yet able to carry, he necessarily will either throw it off or will break down under it. In the same way, if you put a heavy burden of penance upone someon’s shoulders, he will necessarily either reject the penance you gave him, or he will accept it, and because he cannot tolerate it, he will stumble and sin even more.

Deinde etsi erramus, modicam poenitentiam imponentes: none melius est propter misericordiam rationem dare, quam proter curdelitatem? Ubi enim paterfamilias largus est, dispensator non debet esse tenax. Six Deus benignus est, ut quid sacerdos ejus austerus? Vis apparere sanctus? Circa tuam vitam esto austerus, circa alienam autem benignus. Audiant te homines parva mandantem, et grandia videant facientem. Talis est autem sacerdos, qui sibi indulget, et ab aliis gravia eigit: quemadmodum malus descriptor tributi in civitate. [Ps-John Chrysostom, Opus imperfectum: Homiliae in Mattheum, no. 43, PG 56, col. 877-878]

Furthermore, even if we err by imposing too light a penance: is it not better to take reponsibility for mercy than for cruelty? For where the master of the house is generous, the steward shall not be mean. If God is forbearing, why should his priest be strict? Do you want to be a saint? Be strict with respect to your own life, but forbearing with respect to the lives of others. Let people hear you command light tasks, but let them see you do arduous tasks. For a priest who is lenient towards himself and demands arduous things from others is like a bad tax official in a commonwealth. [Ps-John Chrysostom, Opus imperfectum: Homiliae in Mattheum, no. 43]

Sequitur: 10ut idem ipse consequatur. Cum dicit idem, subaudiendum est: opus misericordiae; quasi diceret: sit misericors, ut misericordiam a Domino consequatur. Quod enim dicit oportet eum esse doctum lege divina, subaudiendum est: cognitione7 veteris et novi testamenti habere, sicut superius diximus. Lex enim dicitur ex eo, quod animos nostros liget suisque teneat obnoxios constitutis, [Cassiodor, Expositio psalmorum I, c. 2, CCSL 97, p. 32, l. 204] ut qui voluntarie ea, quae recta sunt, non vult, constrictus a lege agat invitus. Unde dicit Paulus apostolus: Lex non est posita justo, sed injustis, [1 Tm 1:9] eo quod justus non vult tantum agere, quantum lex praecipit, sed etiam plus.

He says next: 10In order that the same may happen to him. When he says the same, we have to understand ‘a deed of mercy’, which is the same as to say ‘he should be merciful so that he might obtain mercy from the Lord.” When he says it is fitting that he be learned in divine law, we have to understand ‘that he have knowledge of the Old and New Testament,’ as we have said before.28 For ‘law’ is called thus because it fetters our minds29 and keeps them bound by its commands, [Cassiodor, Expositio psalmorum I, c. 2] so that he who does not want what is right out of his own free will, does it against is will, compelled by the law. Therefore the apostle Paul says: the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless, [1 Tm 1:9] because the righteous man does not just want to do as much as the law prescribes, but even more.

V. gr.: lex enim praecipit, non inebriari. Justus enim homo non solum [page 590] non vult inebriari, sed etiam ipsum vinum parcius bibit. Injustis autem posita est lex, quatenus constricti a lege mala, quae facere volunt, non audeant, et bona, quae facere nolunt, agant, sicut diximus, inviti.

For example, the law commands us not to get drunk. A righteous man not only [page 590] does not want to get drunk but he even drinks only a small amount of wine. The law, on the other hand, has been established because of the lawless ones, so that bound by the law they do not dare to do the evil they want to do, but as we have said, against their own will do the good which they do not want to do.

De eo, quia abbates presbyteri esse debent, Eugenius Papa in decretis suis [c. 27] dicit hoc modo: Abbates per monasteria tales ordinentur, qui sibi subjectos bene regere possint, sacerdotalem quoque honorem adepti. [Concilium Romanum (826), c. 27, MGH Concilia II.2, p. 578]

As for the rule that abbots have to be priests,30 Pope Eugenius says this in his Decrees, as follows: Such men should be ordained as abbots in all the monasteries, who can lead their subordinates well and have also obtained the degree of priesthood. [Concilium Romanum (826), c. 27

Sequitur: 11oderit vitia, diligat fratres. Sunt enim multi, qui pro amore hominis etiam vitia ejus diligunt. Et iterum sunt alii, qui horrendo vitium etiam hominem, in quo vitium est, horrent. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 138.28, CCSL 40, p. 2010] Et quia hoc malum est, ideo S. Benedictus dicit oderit vitia diligat fratres, h. e. hominem debet diligere, et vitium ejus solummodo debet horrere. Unde dicit Psalmista: Perfecto odio oderam illos [Ps 138:22]. Perfectum enim odium est hominem diligere, quantum creatura Dei est et ad similitudinem factus est Dei. [cf. Cassiodor, Expositio Psalmorum 138:22, CCSL 98, p. 1252] Vitium vero ejus debemus horrere et contemnere, sicut boni medici faciunt, qui languores odiunt, ipsos vero homines diligent, et adeo laborant, ut expulso languore atque fugato homo sanus efficiatur. Et sic debet facere abbas. Monachos debet diligere, infirmitates vero eorum, i. e. superbiam, invidiam, inobedientiam et cetera mala debet horrere, et ita debet laborare, cum illis 14prudenter et cum caritate, quatenus expulsis ipsis malis per poenitentiam atque correptionem et emendationem justi ante Dominum inveniantur.

He says next: 11Let him hate vices but love the brothers. For there are many who out of love for a person also love his vices. And on the other hand there are many who because of their horror of vice also abhor a person who has this vice. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 138.28]31 And because this is a bad thing, St. Benedict says: Let him hate vices but love the brothers, that is, he must love the person and only abhor his vice. This is why the Psalmist says: I hated him with perfect hate. [Ps 138:22] For perfect hate is to love a person insofar as he is a creature of God and created in the likeness of God. [cf. Cassiodor, Expositio Psalmorum 138:22]32 However, we must abhor and despise his vice, as good physicians do, who hate illnesses, but love the people themselves, and therefore33 make an effort to expel and remove the illness, so that the person could be cured. This is what the abbot must do as well. He has to love the monks but abhor their weaknesses, that is, their pride, envy, disobedience and the other evils, and therefore he has to make an effort with them34 14wisely and lovingly that their evils be expelled through penance and rebuke and correction and they may be found righteous before God.

Sequitur: 12In ipsa autem correptione prudenter agat, et ne quid nimis, ne dum nimis cupit eradere aeruginem, frangatur vas, 13suamque fragilitatem semper suspectus sit. Quod autem dicit in ipsa autem correptione prudenter agat, et ne quid nimis, - ac si diceret: Cum aliquem corripit et eum emendare vult, prudenter faciat, ut non nimis, i. e. plus quam debet. Et reddit causam, quare, dum dicit ne dum nimis cupit aeruginem eradere, frangatur vas. Nimis [page 591] est: plus quam oportet.

He says next: 12In rebuke, he should act wisely and never excessively, lest he break the vessel by rubbing too hard to remove the rust. 13Let him also be wary of his own weakness. When he says: In rebuke, he should act wisely and never excessively, he means to say: When he rebukes someone and wants to correct him, he should do this with prudence, so that he does do it excessively, that is, more than he should. And he gives a reason for this, when he says: lest he break the vessel by rubbing too hard to remove the rust. - Excessively [page 591] means ‘more than is necessary’.

Nam quid sit nimis, B. Augustinus in Beati immaculati [Ps 118:1] exponit, ubi dicitur: Tu mandasti mandata tua custodiri nimis, [Ps 118:6] hoc modo dicens, ait enim: ‘Nimis’ quippe dicitur, quidquid plus fuerit quam oportet. Nam parum et nimium duo sunt inter se contraria. Parum est, quod minus est quam oportet; nimium, quod plus est quam oportet. Horum in medio modus est, quod dicitur: satis est. Cum itaque utile sit in vita et moribus, ut amplius, quam oportet, nihil omnino faciamus, profecto verum esse sententiam: »ne quid nimis,« fateri potius quam negare debemus. Sed aliquando latina lingua hoc verbo sic abutitur, ut »nimis« pro eo, quod est »valde« et positum inveniamus in literis sacris, et ponamus in sermonibus nostris. Nam et hic: »Tu praecepisti mandata tua custodiri nimis,« non nisi valde intelligimus, si recte intelligimus. Et »nimis te diligo,« si alicui carissimo dicimus, non utique plus quam oportet, sed valde nos diligere intelligi volumus. Denique illa graeca sententia non habet hoc verbum, quod hic legitur; ibi enim est άγαv, quod est nimis, hic est autem σφοδςα, quod est valde. Sed aliquando, ut diximus, nimis pro eo, quod est valde, et dictum invenimus et dicimus, unde nonnulli etiam latini codices non habent: »tu praecepisti mandata tua custodiri nimis«, sed »valde«. [Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 118, Sermo 4, c. 1, CCSL 40, pp. 1673-1974]

For Augustine explains in his commentary on Blessed are the undefiled, [Ps 118:1] what excessive means. When commenting the Psalm verse You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently, [Ps 118:6] this is what he says: - ‘Nimis’ means ‘more than is proper.’ The Latin words ‘parum’ and ‘nimium’ are opposites: ‘parum’ indicates a deficiency, something less than what ought to be present; ‘nimium’ means something in excess of what is appropriate. Midway between these two lies the just mean, of which we can say, ‘That is sufficient.’ If, then, it is a useful rule for life and conduct that we should do nothing at all beyond what is fitting, we must admit that the maxim, ‘Nothing excessive,’ is true, rather than rejecting it. But Latin sometimes uses the word ‘nimis’ in the wider sense of ‘very much.’ We find it employed in this way in the sacred scriptures, and we use it in this sense in our own discourse. So too in the Psalm: we shall understand the verse correctly if we take it to mean ‘very much,’ or ‘most earnestly.’ If we say to a dear friend, ‘I love you very much,’ we obviously do not mean ‘more than is appropriate’; we simply want the friend to understand that we love him very dearly. In any case, the Greek form of the maxim does not contain the word we have here. It says ἄγαν, which means nimis, ‘excessive,’ whereas the Greek version of the Psalm has σφόδρα which corresponds to valde, ‘very much.’ But, as we have explained already, we sometimes find nimis used in the sense of valde, and we use it so ourselves. That is why some Latin codices have valde in this verse of the Psalm, instead of nimis. [Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 118, Sermo 4, c. 1, trans. Maria Boulding, very slightly modified]

Nam naturalem doctrinam docet, dum dicit ne dum nimis cupit eradere aeruginem, frangatur vas, quia sicut in vasis invenitur aerugo, ita etiam in hominibus inveniuntur vitia; v. gr. est enim tale vas, quod tantum in summitate habet aeruginem; et iterum est aliud vas, quod usque in medio habet aeruginem; est et aliud tertium vasculum, quod profundius habet, i. e. usque in aliam partem egressam aeruginem. Deinde si volueris istud vas aeruginare, quod in summo habet aeruginem, potes illud absque fractione aeruginare. Similiter si istud vas, quod usque in medium habet aeruginem, velis aeruginare, potes absque ruptione aeruginare. Si autem istud vas, quod profundius habet aeruginem, [page 592] velis aeruginare ita, sicut illud, quod in summo, vel sicut illud, quod usque in medium habet aeruginem, tunc absque ulla mora franges illud vasculum.

He uses an example from natural science, when he says lest he break the vessel by rubbing too hard to remove the rust, for as there is rust to be found in metal vessels, in the same way vices are to be found in men. For example there might be a vessel which has rust only on its surface, and there might be another vessel which has rust reaching into the center, and again there might be a third vessel, which has rust in its deeper core, that is, the rust has already reached another part35 of the vessel. Now if you want to clean the vessel which has rust on the surface, you can clean it without breaking. Similarly, if you want to clean the vessel which has rust reaching into the center, you can clean it without breaking. However, if you want to clean the vessel which has rust in its deeper core [page 592] in the same way as the one which has rust on the surface, or the one which has rust reaching into the center, then you will immediately break the vessel.

Ita et in hominibus intelligendum est. Sunt enim tales homines, qui quasi naturaliter habent illud vitium; et sunt iterum alii, qui ipsum vel aliud non quasi naturaliter habent, sed postea adsumunt. Deinde istis, qui non habent illud vitium quasi naturaliter, potes emendare; illis autem, qui quasi naturaliter habent illud vitium, emendari non potest; tamen ab aliis vitiis emendantur, ab ipso autem, quia quasi naturaliter habent illud vitium, non possunt emendari. Tu autem si volueris ita istos homines, qui illud vitium quasi naturaliter habent, ipsum vitium persequi pro eo et castigare, sicut illos, qui emendari possunt, tunc franguntur, i. e. forte moriuntur, antequam emendentur. Verum debent illi castigari et non dimitti, sed tamen non sic acriter, sicut illi, qui possunt emendari.

This has to be understood in the same way in men. For there are men who have this or that vice as part of their nature,36 and there others who do not have this or that vice as part of their nature, but assume it afterwards. Now you can correct a vice in those who do not have the vice as part of their nature, but in those who have that vice as part of their nature, it cannot be corrected;37 at least, they can be corrected with respect to other vices, but not this one, because they have this vice as part of their nature. If you want to persecute and chastise those men who have that vice as part of their nature, for this vice,38 in the same way as those who can be rebuked, they will break, that is, they might die before they can be corrected. But they must be chastised, not just left alone, but not as sharply as those who can be rebuked.

Nam sunt carnales doctores nescientes discretionem docendi, qui per rabiem furoris, sicut Isidorus dicit, disciplinae modum ad immanitatem crudelitatis convertunt, et unde emendare subditos poterant, inde potius vulnerant. Ideo sine mensura ulciscitur culpas praepositus iracundus, quia cor ejus dispersum in rerum curis non colligitur in amorem unius Deitatis. Mens enim soluta in diversis catena caritatis non adstringitur, sed male laxata male ad omnem occasionem movetur. [Isidore of Seville, Sententiae III, c. 40, CCSL 111, p. 282]

For there are secular teachers who do not have any discretion in their teaching, who, as Isidore says, out of mad fury exchange the right measure of discipline for the extremities of cruelty, and they harm their subordinates by means which they could have used to rebuke them. Therefore an angry superior punishes mistakes without measure, because his heart, divided between concerns for worldly affairs, cannot concentrate on the love for the One God. For a mind distracted by a variety of concerns cannot be bound by the chain of love, but since it is loose in a bad way, it moves badly in response to any occasion. [Isidore of Seville, Sententiae III, c. 40, CCSL 111, p. 282]

Bene dixit suam fragilitatem semper suspectus sit, ac si diceret: semper debet se fragilem cognoscere, i. e. aut cecidit forte in illud peccatum, aut si non cecidit, posse8 cadere, quia si hoc consideraverit, tunc cognoscit aliis misericordiam facere. Nam qualiter agenda sit correptio circa delinquentes, B. Augustinus docet in libro de sermone Domini in monte cap. XIX, ubi Dominus dicit: Hypocrita, ejice primum trabem de oculo tuo, et tunc videbis festucam ejicere de oculo fratris tui, [Mt 7:5] i. e. primum abs te expelle odium et deinde poteris [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: jam eum quem diligis, emendare. Et bene ait, Hypocrita. Accusare enim vitia, officium est bonorum virorum et benevolorum: quod cum mali faciunt, alienas partes agunt; sicut hypocritae, qui tegunt sub persona quod sunt, et ostentant in persona quod non sunt. Hypocritarum ergo nomine simulatores acceperis. Et est vere multum cavendum et molestum simulatorum genus, qui cum omnium vitiorum accusationes odio et livore suscipiant, etiam consultores videri se volunt. Et ideo pie cauteque vigilandum est, ut, cum aliquem reprehendere vel objurgare nos necessitas coegerit, primum cogitemus utrum tale sit vitium, quod nunquam habuimus, vel quo jam caruimus: et si nunquam habuimus, cogitemus nos homines esse, et habere potuisse; si vero habuimus, et non habemus, tangat memoriam communis infirmitas, ut illam reprehensionem aut objurgationem non odium, sed misericordia praecedat: ut sive ad correctionem ejus, propter quem id facimus, sive ad perversionem valuerit (nam incertus est exitus), nos tamen de simplicitate oculi nostri securi simus. Si autem cogitantes nosmetipsos invenerimus in eo esse vitio, in quo est ille quem reprehendere parabamus, non reprehendamus, neque objurgemus: sed tamen congemiscamus; et non illum ad obtemperandum nobis, sed ad pariter conandum invitemus.

He aptly says Let him always39 be wary of his own weakness, which is the same as to say ‘he always has to recognize that he himself is weak,’ that is, either he has already lapsed into that sin, or if he has not, he can lapse into it.40 For if he considers this, he is able to show mercy to others. Saint Augustine teaches us in On the Sermon on the Mount (c. 19), how rebuke of sinners has to be done. There the Lord says: Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. [Mt 7:5] – This means (Augustine says) first cast the hatred away from yourself, and then, but not before, will you be able to amend him whom you love. And He well says, “Thou hypocrite.” For to make complaint against vices is the duty of good and benevolent men; and when bad men do it, they are acting a part which does not belong to them; just like hypocrites, who conceal under a mask what they are, and show themselves off in a mask what they are not. Under the designation hypocrites, therefore, you are to understand pretenders. And there is, in fact, a class of pretenders much to be guarded against, and troublesome, who, while they take up complaints against all kinds of faults from hatred and spite, also wish to appear counsellors. And therefore we must piously and cautiously watch, so that when necessity shall compel us to find fault with or rebuke any one, we may reflect first whether the fault is such as we have never had, or one from which we have now become free; and if we have never had it, let us reflect that we are humans, and might have had it; but if we have had it, and are now free from it, let the common infirmity touch the memory, that not hatred but pity may go before that fault-finding or administering of rebuke: so that whether it shall serve for the conversion of him on whose account we do it, or for his perversion (for the issue is uncertain), we at least from the singleness of our eye may be free from care. If, however, on reflection, we find ourselves involved in the same fault as he is whom we were preparing to censure, let us not censure nor rebuke; but yet let us mourn deeply over the case, and let us invite him not to obey us, but to join us in a common effort.

(65) Nam et illud quod dicit Apostolus, ’Factus sum Judaeis tanquam Judaeus, ut Judaeos lucrifacerem; his qui sub Lege sunt, quasi sub Lege, cum non sim ipse sub Lege, ut eos qui sub Lege erant lucrifacerem; his qui sine Lege sunt, quasi sine Lege, cum sine lege Dei non sim, sed sim in lege Christi, ut lucrifacerem eos qui sine Lege sunt. Factus sum infirmis infirmus, ut infirmos lucri facerem: omnibus omnia factus sum, ut omnes lucri facerem,’ [1 Cor 9:20-22] non utique simulatione faciebat, quemadmodum quidam intelligi volunt, ut eorum detestanda simulatio tanti exempli auctoritate muniatur; sed hoc faciebat charitate; qua ejus infirmitatem, cui volebat subvenire, tanquam suam cogitabat. Hoc enim et praestruit dicendo: ‘Cum enim liber sim ex omnibus, me omnium servum feci, ut plures lucri facerem.’ [1 Cor 9:19] Quod ut intelligas non simulatione, sed charitate fieri, qua infirmis hominibus tanquam nos simus compatimur, ita monet alio loco, dicens: ‘Vos in libertatem vocati estis, fratres; tantum ne libertatem in occasionem carnis detis, sed per charitatem servite invicem.’ [Gal 5:13] Quod fieri non potest, nisi alterius infirmitatem quisque habeat quasi suam, ut eam aequanimiter ferat, donec ab ea liberetur ille cujus curat salutem.

For in regard also to what the apostle says,—“Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (not being under the law), that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might gain all,”—he did not certainly so act in the way of pretence, as some wish it to be understood, in order that their detestable pretence may be fortified by the authority of so great an example; but he did so from love, under the influence of which he thought of the infirmity of him whom he wished to help as if it were his own. For this he also lays as the foundation beforehand, when he says: “For although I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” And that you may understand this as being done not in pretence, but in love, under the influence of which we have compassion for men who are weak as if we were they, he thus admonishes us in another passage, saying, “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” And this cannot be done, unless each one reckon the infirmity of another as his own, so as to bear it with equanimity, until the person for whose welfare he is solicitous is freed from it.

(66) Raro ergo et in magna necessitate objurgationes adhibendae sunt, ita tamen ut etiam in his ipsis non nobis, sed Deo ut serviatur instemus. Ipse est enim finis: ut nihil duplici corde faciamus, auferentes trabem de oculo nostro, invidentiae, vel malitiae, vel simulationis, ut videamus ejicere festucam de oculo fratris. Videbimus enim eam oculis columbae, quales in sponsa Christi praedicantur, [cf. Ct 4:1] quam sibi elegit Deus gloriosam Ecclesiam, non habentem maculam neque rugam [cf. Eph 5:27] id est mundam et simplicem.

Rarely, therefore, and in a case of great necessity, are rebukes to be administered; yet in such a way that even in these very rebukes we may make it our earnest endeavour, not that we, but that God, should be served. For He, and none else, is the end: so that we are to do nothing with a double heart, removing from our own eye the beam of envy, or malice, or pretence, in order that we may see to cast the mote out of a brother’s eye. For we shall see it with the dove’s eyes,—such eyes as are declared to belong to the spouse of Christ, whom God has chosen for Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, i.e. pure and guileless.

(20.67) Sed quoniam potest nonnullos Dei praeceptis obtemperare cupientes nomen simplicitatis decipere, ut sic putent vitiosum esse aliquando verum occultare, quomodo vitiosum est aliquando falsum dicere, atque hoc modo aperiendo ea quae hi quibus aperiuntur sustinere non possunt, amplius noceant quam si ea penitus semperque] occultarent. [Augustine, De sermone in monte II, c. 19.64-67, CCSL 35, pp. 160-163] [page 593]

But inasmuch as the word “guileless” may mislead some who are desirous of obeying God’s precepts, so that they may think it wrong, at times, to conceal the truth, just as it is wrong at times to speak a falsehood, and inasmuch as in this way, by disclosing things which the parties to whom they are disclosed are unable to bear,—they may do more harm than if they were to conceal them altogether and always. [Augustine, De sermone in monte II, c. 19.64-67, transl. William Findlay, checked and minimally modified]41 [page 593]

Qualiter ergo sine culpa corripientis existat ipsa correptio, quam corripit, doctor B. Gregorius mirificentissime docet in libro vigesimo tertio Moralium dicens hoc modo: Nos enim quia infirmi homines sumus [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: Nos enim, quia infirmi homines sumus, cum de Deo hominibus loquimur, debemus primum meminisse quod sumus, ut ex propria infirmitate pensemus quo docendi ordine infirmis fratribus consulamus. Consideremus igitur quia aut tales sumus, quales nonnullos corrigimus; aut tales aliquando fuimus, etsi jam divina gratia operante non sumus, ut tanto temperantius humili corde corrigamus, quanto nosmetipsos verius in his quos emendamus agnoscimus. Si autem tales nec sumus, nec fuimus, quales adhuc illi sunt quos emendare curamus, ne cor nostrum forte superbiat, et de ipsa innocentia pejus ruat, quorum mala corrigimus, alia eorum bona nobis ante oculos revocemus. Quae si omnino nulla sunt, ad occulta Dei judicia recurramus, quia sicut nos meritis nullis hoc ipsum bonum quod habemus accepimus, ita illos quoque potest gratia supernae virtutis infundere, ut excitati posterius etiam ipsa possint bona quae nos ante accepimus praevenire. Quis enim crederet quod per apostolatus meritum Saulus lapidatum Stephanum praecessurus erat, [Act 7:57] qui in morte ejus lapidantium vestimenta servabat? His ergo primum cogitationibus humiliari cor debet, et tunc demum delinquentium] iniquitas increpari. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, c. 23;25, CCSL 143A, pp. 1162-1163]

The sacred Doctor Gregory admirably teaches us, in Book 23 of Moralia, how the rebuke itself42 can be without guilt. There he says: For we, because we are feeble men, when we come to speak of God to our fellows, should first of all call to mind our own nature, and thus consider from our own infirmities in what order we should offer advice to our weakly brethren. Let us consider then that we are either now such as some of those whom we are correcting, or were heretofore such, though by the operation of Divine Grace we are so no longer: that in humility of heart we may correct them with greater forbearance, the more truly we recognize ourselves in the persons of those whom we correct. But if we are neither now such, nor have been such as those still are whom we are anxious to improve; for fear our heart should perchance be proud, and should fall the more fatally by reason of its very innocence, let us recall to our eyes the other good qualities of those whose faults we are correcting. If they have not any such, let us fall back on the secret judgments of God. Because as we have received this very good, which we possess, for no deserts of our own; so is He able to pour on them the grace of power from above, so that though roused to exertion after ourselves, they may be able to outstrip even those good qualities which we received so long before. For who could believe that Saul, who kept at his death the raiment of those that were stoning him, would surpass Stephen who had been stoned, by the merit of the Apostleship. Our heart ought then to be first humbled by these thoughts, and then the sin of offenders should be reproved. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob XXIII, c. 5.25, transl. Henry Parker, J.G.F. and J. Rivington, London 1844, checked and minimalli changed]

Sequitur: 13memineritque, calamum quassatum non conterendum. [Is 42:3] Hoc Jeremias propheta de Domino Jesu Christo dixit, ait enim: Calamum quassatum non conteret, linum fumigans non extinguet. [Is 42:3] Per calamum enim intelligitur omnino peccator; per linum vero fumigans homo, qui non per omnia malus est, quia jam quando fumus exit de illo, tunc aliquid boni habet; quasi diceret: peccatorem non despicit, sed ad poenitentiam illum revocat. Calamus quassatus, i. e. non penitus ruptus, sed flexus et incurvatus et quod potest reparari. Ita enim et nunc dicit B. Benedictus calamum quassatum non conterendum, i. e. non in tantum persequatur illum hominem, qui quasi naturaliter habet illud vitium, ut pereat.

He says next: 13Let him remember that a bent reed is not to be broken. [Is 42:3] This is what the prophet Jeremiah says about the Lord Jesus Christ. He says: A bent reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench. [Is 42:3]43 The reed is to be understood as the sinner in general, the smoking flax means a person who is not evil in all respects, because as soon as the smoke has moved out of him, he has something good in him. This is the same as saying: ‘He does not spurn the sinner, but calls him to penance.’ A bent reed is one that is not broken through, but crooked and curved, one that can be repaired. For this is why Saint Benedict says a bent reed is not to be broken, that is, he should not pursue the man who has a vice as part of his nature so vehemently that he perishes.

Non dicimus, ut illum hominem pro suo vitio non castiget, sed non ita fortiter persequatur, sicut illum, qui non quasi naturaliter habet illud vitium, sicut jam diximus; et hoc est quod subsecutus est dicens: 14In quibus non dicimus, ut permittat nutriri vitia, sed prudenter et cum caritate ea amputet; ac si diceret: vitia emendet et non nutriat, sed tamen prudenter ea amputet et cum dilectione. Per hoc quod dicit: ut viderit cuique expedire, sicut jam diximus, - ac si diceret: sicut cognoverit unicuique expedire, i. e. congruere vel convenire; hoc est: cui flagellum expedit, flagellum adhibeat, et cui non expedit, non adhibeat.

I am not saying that he should not rebuke such a man for his vice, but he should not pursue him as strongly as the one who does not have that vice as part of his nature, as we have already said. This is what he means when he goes on to say: 14By this we do not mean that he should allow vices to be nurtured, but that he should cut them off prudently44 and with love,45 which is the same as to say: ‘he should correct, not foster, vices; however, he should cut them off prudently and with love.’ When he says: as he thinks best for each individual, as we already said, he means to say ‘in whichever way he has recognized it to be best46 for each of them, that is, apt or fitting. This means: if the whip works best for a brother, he should use the whip, but if it does not work, he should not use it.

V. gr. ecce duo fratres: istum unum nisi flagellaveris, non emendabis; tunc flagelletur; iste autem si flagellatus fuerit, numquam emendabitur, sed magis deterioratur; tunc non debet flagellum illi adhiberi, sicut dicit papa Gregorius: Unde unus medetur, alter moritur. [cf. Benedict of Aniane, De diversarum poenitentiarum modo de regula Benedicti distincto, ed. Josef Semmler, CCM 1, p. 577]9 [page 594]

Take, for example, two brothers. One of them will not be corrected if you do not whip him, therefore he should be whipped. But the other one will never be corrected if he is whipped, but rather will become worse. Therefore the whip must not be used on him, as the holy Pope Gregory says: Whence one person is cured, thence another person will die. [cf. Benedict of Aniane, De diversarum poenitentiarum modo de regula Benedicti distincto] [page 594]

Sequitur: 15et studeat plus amari quam timeri; subaudiendum est: a bonis. Isto modo potest hoc praeceptum impleri: v. gr. si flagellum adhibet, debet illi postea dulcem confabulationem porrigere vel hujuscemodi, quatenus [ut] ad amorem provocetur. Et hoc est, quod dicit S. Benedictus: in quibus non dicimus ut permittat nutriri vitia, sed prudenter et cum caritate ea amputet. Prudenter dicitur, quasi ‘porro videnter’, i. e finem rei videnter. Ideo prudenter dicit, quia semper debet videre, i. e. considerare, si ad profectum venit illa correptio aut flagellatio aut excommunicatio, hoc est debet animadvertere, si melius erit ille frater per ipsam doctrinam aut pejus aut certe nec melius nec pejus, sed sicut fuit. Et hoc ipsum cum caritate faciat, i. e. cum zelo Dei et dilectione illius fratris, quia vult eum salvum esse, corripiat atque admoneat. Hoc sciendum est, quia pulchre dicit prudenter et cum caritate; quia semper fieri debet illa correptio cum dilectione, non cum odio, et sicut superius diximus, semper debet finem aspicere; nam melius est prudenter sine caritate, quam cum caritate et non prudenter.

He says next: 15And he should strive to be more loved than feared, that is, by the good ones. This is how this command can be fulfilled: for example, if he uses the whip, he must afterwards have a friendly conversation with the brother, or something like that, so that he be moved to love. This is what Benedict means when he says: By this we do not mean that he should allow vices to be nurtured, but that he should cut them off prudently and with love. - Prudently means ‘far-seeing’47, that is ‘seeing the end of something’. He says prudently, because the abbot always has to see, that is, to consider, whether a specific rebuke or whipping or excommunication will meet with success, that is, he has to watch out whether through the teaching the brother will be faring better or worse or neither better nor worse,48 but will stay as he was before. Also, he should do this with love, that is, he should rebuke and admonish with the zeal for God and with love for the brother, because he wants him to be saved. We have to realize that it is a beautiful thing to say prudently and with love, because such a rebuke always ought to be delivered with love, not with hate; and as we have said before, the abbot always must look towards the end: for it is better to rebuke prudently without love than with love, but not prudently.

Sequitur: 16Non sit turbulentus et anxius; non sit nimius et obstinatus; non sit zelotypus et nimis suspiciosus, quia nunquam requiescit. Turbulentus enim dicitur ille, qui in vultu suo hilaritatem non ostendit. Anxius est superfluus, sicut nos dicimus; sive anxius est ille, qui uno in tempore diversa cupit agere sine aliqua interpositione. Nimius enim et obstinatus unum significat: obstinatus est, qui aliquid praecipitanter et sine revocatione facere festinat; obstinatus, i. e. irrevocabilis; nam in priore, qui obstinatus est, h. e. qui per aliorum consilium nil vult agere, malum vitium est istud, et ob hoc ad malum finem solet pervenire ille princeps. Quod vero dicit non sit zelotypus et nimis suspiciosus, unum significat. Suspiciosus non dicit, ut in divinis rebus non sit, sed in temporalibus rebus; v. gr. si dederit ministerium alicui fratri, veluti est cellararius aut vestiarius, et rel., de his non sit nimis suspiciosus, ut forte plus quam oportet. Et hoc notandum est, quia de istis [page 595] non dicit, ut nullo modo suspicetur, sed dicit, ut nimis suspiciosus non sit. Ideo dicit nimis, ne usque ad odium perveniat. Verum in divinis rebus, h. e. in silentio, in lectione, et ceteris aliis, quae ad, divina opera attinent, semper sollicitus et suspiciosus sit.

He says next: 16He should not be agitated or anxious, nor excessive and stubborn, nor jealous and overly watchful,49 because he will never rest. - Agitated is what you call someone who does not show joy on his face. Anxious means someone who is bothersome, as we have already said,50 or it could also be someone who wants to do several things at one and the same time, without a break between them.51 Excessive and stubborn mean the same thing:52 a stubborn person is someone who hurries to do something rashly and without being able to take them back. Stubborn means ‘uncontrollable’,53 for earlier,54 stubborn, means a person who does not want to do anything upon the advice of others. This is a bad vice, and therefore this kind of leader tends to come to a bad end. When he says nor jealous and overly watchful, this means one and the same thing. When he says watchful he does not mean in religious matters, but in worldly matters. For example, if he gives an office to a brother, be it that of the cellarer or of the keeper of the wardrobe, and so on, he should not be watching him overly much, that is, perhaps more than he should. Note that [page 595] he does not say that he should not supervise them at all, but rather, that he should not be overly watchful. This is why he says overly: so that he does not go as far as hate.55 But in religious matters, that is concerning silence, lections and everything else that has to do with the divine office, he should always be concerned and watchful.56

Sequitur: 17In ipsis imperiis suis sit providus et consideratus, et sive secundum Deum sive secundum saeculum sit, opera, quae injungit, discernat et temperet, 18cogitans discretionem S. Jacob dicentis: Si greges meos plus in ambulando fecero laborare, morientur cuncti una die. [Gn 33:13] – Quod autem dicit sive secundum Deum sive secundum saeculum sit, opera, quae10 injungit, discernat et temperet, notandum est, quia sit debet dici, et non ‘sint’ pluraliter; et est sensus: sive sit hoc, quod injungit secundum saeculum sive secundum Deum, videlicet opera, quae injungit; ac si diceret: opus illud quod injungit aliis, temperet, h. e. non plus quam oportet debet imperare suo monacho. Discernere vero est, utrum agenda sunt, necne. Nam non dicit, ut ille abbas, sive sit secundum Deum sive secundum saeculum, debeat esse, quod omnimodo refutandum est; sed dicit: sive sit opus spiritalis sive temporalis, illud opus discernat et temperet. Item, sive secundum Deum sit, sive secundum saeculum, ita construitur: i. e. discernat ac temperet opera, quae injungit; quae opera? i. e. sive secundum Deum, sive secundum saeculum sint illa opera, quae injunguntur. Et hoc sciendum est, quia nullo modo debes intelligere, ut abbas sit secundum saeculum, sed potius secundum Deum, sed tantum [ad] illud, quod agi necesse est, quia si abbatem regularem secundum saeculum intellexeris, erras, quia non est canonica auctoritas. Item quod vero dicit opera, quae injungit, discernat et temperet, ita intelligi debet: i. e. discernat, utrum agenda sunt necne; temperet, i. e. moderetur, ac si diceret: prius discernat et postmodum temperet, i. e. moderetur, ut non plus, quam oportet, illud injungat. Quod vero dicit cogitans discretionem S. Jacob dicentis: Si [page 596] greges meos plus in ambulando fecero laborare, morientur cuncti una die, ac si diceret: debet cogitare discretionem S. Jacob, i. e. sicut ille fuit discretus super gregem suum, ita et abbas debet esse. Nam Jacob habuit in grege suo tales oves, quae poterant ire cito, sed tamen habebat tales, quae forte pro infirmitate aut pro parvitate non poterant sic cito ire, sicut illi sani, et propterea S. Jacob noluit consentire illis, qui plus poterant ire, sed magis illis, qui minus; quisi,11 sicut fortes, issent minores vel debiles, omnes morerentur una die. Ita et abbas faciat et consideret, qualiter illis in ambulando non offendat, sed magis in augmentando quotidie proficiant; v. gr. si fuerint tales fratres spiritales, qui dixerint abbati, plus quam regula dicit jejunare, et viderit abbas ille, non posse jejunium illud jejunare omnes aequaliter, non debet illis consentire. Si vero sibi, i. e. soli illi fratres spiritales de vino et cetera voluerint abstinere, considerare debet, ut, si possunt, faciant, si vero non possunt, non consentiat. Similiter etiam in labore debet facere: v. gr. si fuerint in illo opere tales fratres duo vel tres, qui potuerint fortiter laborare, ut alii similiter laborent, qui non possunt, non debet abbas illis consentire, sed magis debet illos constringere, ut non laborent, quatenus possint infirmi cum illis laborare aequaliter.

He says next: 17In his own commands he should think carefully and with foresight, and whether it is concerning God or concerning this world, he should be discerning and temperate in the tasks he assigns,57 keeping in mind the discretion of the holy Jacob, who said, ‘If I work my flocks too hard by driving them on, they will all die in one day. [Gn 33:13] When he says: whether that which he assigns is concerning God or concerning this world, we should notice that the text has to be it is, not ‘they are’ in the plural,58 and what he means to say is this: whether what he assigns is concerning this world or concerning God – namely, the tasks that he assigns – which is the same as to say: he should be temperate in the tasks that he assigns to others, that is: he should not command his monk to do more than is proper. Be discerning means ‘whether something should be done or not.’ For he does not say how the abbot should to be either concerning God or concerning this world, which is an interpretation to be altogether rejected, but what he says is this: whether this is a spiritual or a worldly task,59 he should be discerning and temperate in this task. Again, whether it is concerning God or concerning this world construes like this: he should be discerning and temperate in the tasks which he assigns. Which tasks? He means whether these tasks, which are being assigned, concern God or concern this world. And you should know that you must by no means understand that the abbot should be of this world – he should rather be of God –, but only that which has to be done, for if you understand that the regular abbot60 should be of this world, you are wrong, because this is contrary to canonical authority. Again, when he says: He should be discerning and temperate in the tasks he assigns, this has to be understood like this: he should be discerning whether these things should be done or not; and temperate, that is, use moderation, which is the same thing as to say: he should first be discerning and then temperate, that is, use moderation, so that he does not assign more of a task than is appropriate. When he says: Keeping in mind the discretion of the holy Jacob, who said, If [page 596] I work my flocks too hard by driving them on, they will all die in one day. This is the same as to say: he should consider Saint Jacob’s discretion, that is: as he was discerning about his flock, likewise should the abbot be. For Jacob had in his flock sheep that could walk fast, but he also had other sheep, which because of their youth or an illness could not walk as fast as the healthy ones, and therefore saint Jacob did not want to adjust his pace to those who were good walkers, but rather to those who less good; for if the young ones or the weak ones had walked as fast as the strong ones, they would all of them have died on a single day. This is what the abbot should do; and he should see to it that he does not do harm to the weak ones through the walking, but that they rather make progress by getting daily stronger. For example, if there are spiritual brothers that tell the abbot that there should be more fasting than the Rule says, and the abbot sees that not all others can fast that much, he must not give his consent to them. But if those brothers want this fasting to be imposed on themselves, that is, they alone want to abstain from wine and other things, he must use consideration, allowing them to do it if they can, but if they cannot, then he should not give his consent. He should do similarly with respect to work: For example, if there are two or three brothers in a certain occupation who can work hard, the abbot ought not to give his consent for the others to work as hard, who cannot do so, but he rather ought to restrain those other ones from working, so that the weak ones can work as much as the strong ones.

Et hoc est, quod inferius dicit: 19Sic omnia temperet, ut et fortes sit quod cupiant, et infirmi non refugiant. Non enim dixit: ‘sint’ pluraliter, sed sit singulariter dici debet, ut sit sensus: Sic temperet opus et disponat, ut tale sit illud opus, quod fortes cupiant facere, et infirmi non refugiant illud; quia si temperatum fuerit opus, infirmi illud non refugiunt, et fortes cupiunt illud agere, sicut superius diximus; quia, si fortes, qui possunt laborare, refrenaverit, illi fortes semper desiderabunt illud opus agere, eo quod volunt, sicut possunt, et non sinuntur, et infirmi non refugiunt, veluti cum quis ducit equum nimis cupienti12 ambulare [page 597], et iterum ducit debilem: illi cupienti mittit frenum, ut nimis non ambulet, et debilem non constringit, sed in sua libertate dimittit, ut ambulet, prout vult.

This is what Benedict says later: 19He should be moderate in all things, so that it is something which the strong desire and not something which the weak shrink from.61 For he does not say ‘they are’ in the plural, but it has to be it is in the singular, so that the meaning is as follows: he should be temperate and organize the work in such a way that it is work that the strong ones want to do and the weak ones do not shrink from; for if the work is assigned temperately, the weak ones do not shrink from it, and the strong ones want to do it, as we have said above. For if he restrains the strong ones who can work, those strong ones will always want to do the work, because they want to do as much as they can, but are not permitted to, and the weak ones do not shrink from it. Likewise, if you lead a horse that has a strong desire to run, [page 597] and you also lead a weak one, you put reins on the one that wants to run, so that it does not run too fast, but you do not restrain the weak one, but grant it the freedom to run as much as it wants to.

Sequitur: 19Haec ergo aliaque testimonia discretionis, matris virtutum, sumens sic omnia temperet, ut et fortes sint13 quod cupiant14 et infirmi non refugiant, 20et praecipue ut praesentem regulam in omnibus conservet, 21ut dum bene ministraverit, audiat a Domino, quod servus bonus, qui erogavit triticum cum servis suis in tempore suo: 22 Amen dico vobis, ait, super omnia bona sua constituet eum. [Mt 24:47] Bene dixit discretionis [esse] matris virtutum, eo quod discretio mater est virtutum, et quod virtutes a discretione procedunt. Pulchre enim dicit, discretionem esse matrem omnium virtutum, quia, quidquid sine discretione agitur, rectum coram Deo esse non potest. Unde Dominus dicit ad Cain: Si recte offeras, recte autem non dividas, peccasti. [Gn 4:7]

He says next: 19Drawing on this and other examples of discretion, the mother of virtues, he should be moderate in all things, so that the strong have something to desire and the weak nothing to shrink from. 20In particular, he should adhere to this Rule in all matters, 21so that when he has served well he may hear from the Lord what the good servant, who distributed the harvest to his fellow servants in due time, heard: 22Amen, I say to you, he has set him over all his property. [Mt 24:47] He aptly says discretion, the mother of virtues, because discretion is the mother of virtues and because virtues stem result from discretion. He says beautifully that discretion is the mother of all virtues, for whatever is done without discretion cannot be right before God. This is why the Lord said to Cain: If you offer rightly but do not divide rightly, you have sinned. [Gn 4:7]62

Nam qualiter doctor in locutione sua discretionem habeat, B. Gregorius in homilia undecima primae partis Ezechielis eminentissime docet hoc modo dicens: Pensare etenim doctor debet, quid [omitted in Hildemar, added from CCSL 142: quid loquatur, cui loquatur, quando loquatur, et quantum loquatur. Si enim unum horum defuerit, locutio apta non erit. Scriptum quippe est: Si recte offeras, recte autem non dividas, peccati. [Gn 4:7 LXX] Recte autem offerimus cum bono studio bonum opus agimus; sed recte non dividimus, si habere discretionem in bono opere postponamus. Considerare etenim debemus quid loquamus, ut iuxta Pauli vocem Sermo noster semper in gratia sale sit conditus. [Col 4:6] NEW PARAGRAPH [13] Pensandum vero nobis est cui loquamur quia saepe increpationis verbum quod haec admittit persona, altera non admittit. Et saepe ipsa eadem persona secundum factum fit altera. Unde Nathan propheta David post adulterium forti incrpeationis sententia percussit. Qui cum de raptore ovis diceret: Filius mortis est vir qui fecit hoc, ei protinus respondit, [2 Sam 12:5] dicens: Tu es ille vir. [cf. 2 Sam 12:7] Cui tamen cum de Salomonis regno loqueretur, quia culpa defuit, ei se humiliter in adoratione prostravit. In una ergo eademque persona quia causa dispar exstitit, etiam sermo propheticus dissimils fuit.  NEW PARAGRAPH [14] Pensandum quoque est quando loqui debeamus, quia saepe etsi differtur increpatio, postmodum benigne recipitur. Et nonnumquam languescit, si hoc quo ante proferri debuit tempus amiserit. Nam et sapiens mulier Nabal erbium videns, increpare de culpa tenaciae noluit, quem digesto vino increpationis suae verbis utiliter percussit. Et propheta adulantium linguas non esse in subsequenti tempore differendas annuntiat, qui ait: Confundantur statim erubescentes, qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge. [Ps 69:4] Adolatio etenim si vel ad tempus patienter suscipitur, augetur, et paulisper demulcet animum, ut a rigore suae rectitudinis mollescat in delectatione sermonis. Sed ne crescere debeat, statim est et sine mora ferienda. NEW PARAGRAPH [15] Pensandum quoque nobis est qualiter loquamur. Nam saepe verba quae hunc ad salutem revocant, alium vulnerant. Unde Paulus quoque apostolus qui Titum admonet, dicens: Argue cum omni imperio, [Tit 2:15] Timotheum exhortatur, dicens: Argue, obsecra, increpa in omni patientia et doctrina. [2 Tim 4:2] Quid est quod uni imperium, et alii patientiam praecipit, nisi quod unum lenioris, alterum vero ferventioris spiritus esse conspexit? Leni per auctoritatem imperii iniungenda erat serverits verbis, is autem qui per spiritum fervebat, per patientiam temperandus fuerat, ne si plus iusto inferuescerat non ad salutem vulnerata reduceret, sed sana vulneraret.

Saint Gregory brilliantly shows in the eleventh homily of the first book of his Commentary on Ezechiel how a teacher should have discretion in his speech, saying: [12] For a teacher must consider what he says, to whom he says it, when remove double quid in Latin text he says it, how he says it, and how much he says. For if one of these were lacking the speech would not be fitting. Indeed it is written: “Hast though not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it?” [Gn 4:17 LXX] But we rightly bring it when we perform a good work with good zeal; but we do not rightly divide it if we neglect to have discretion in the good work. For we must consider what we say as following Paul's bidding: "Let our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” [Col 4:6] [13] Truly we must think to whom we speak, because often the word of rebuke which this one accepts the other does not. And often this same person becomes the other after the event. Thus Nathan the Prophet astounded David after his adultery with a strong sentence of rebuke. For when David said of the man who stole the sheep: "'The man that hath done this is a child of death," [2 Sam 12:5] he straightway replied saying: "'Thou art the man." However when he spoke to him about the reign of Solomon, [cf. 2 Sam 12:7] because guilt was lacking, he humbly fell prostrate before him in adoration. Therefore because there were in one and the same person unequal causes the Prophetic speech too was unlike. It is also to be considered when we must speak, because often even though the rebuke is delayed it is then benignly received. And sometimes it is enfeebled if the time passes by which it should have been delivered. For even the wise woman, seeing Nabal drunken, [cf. 1 Rg 25:36-37] was unwilling to censure the sin of the obstinacy of him whom, with wine digested, she usefully astounded with the words of her rebuke. And the Prophet declares that the tongues of sycophants are not to be differentiated at a subsequent time when he says: "Let them be immediately ashamed and confounded who say to me ‘Bravo, bravo.” [Ps 69:4] For if adoration is patiently received at the time, it is increased, and little by little allures the spirit to soften from the stiffness of righteousness into delight at the speech. But lest it should increase it is to be punished without delay. New Paragraph [15] We must also ponder how we speak. For often the words which recall this man to salvation wound another. Thus also Paul the Apostle, who admonishes Titus saying, "Rebuke with all authority;” [Tit 2:15] exhorts Timothy with the words: “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” [2 Tim 4:22] Why is it that he enjoins authority on the one and patience on the other save that he perceived the one to be gentler and the other indeed more fervent of spirit? Severity of speech was to be joined to the gentle one through the encouragement of authority, but he who burned through the spirit was to be tempered by patience lest if he be kindled with excess rage he not lead wounded minds back to salvation but injure healthy ones.

[16] Curandum quoque quantum loquamur, ne si ei qui multa ferre non valet verbum vel exhortationis vel increpationis longius trahumus, auditorem nostrum ad fastidium perducamus. Unde idem praedicator egregious Hebraeis loquitur, dicens: Obsecro vos, fratres, ut sufferatis verbum solatii, etenim perpaucis scripsi vobis. [Hbr 13:22] Hoc tamen infirmis praecipue congruit, ut pauca quidem, et quae praevalent capere, audiant, sed quae erorum mentem in paenitentiae dolorem compugnant. Nam si eis uno in tempore exhortationis sermo fuerit multipliciter dictus, quia multa retinere non valent, simul amittunt omnia. Unde et medici corporum pannos quos infirmantibus stomachis ponunt, apto quidem medicamine, sed subtiliter liniunt, ne si repleti multo medicmine fuerint, infirmitatem stomachi non roborantes adiuvent, sed opprimentes gravent.

[16] We must also take care how much we say lest if we dwell too long on the word of exhortation or rebuke to him who does not avail to hear much we lead our hearer to scorn. Thus the same excellent preacher speaks to the Hebrews saying: "I beseech you, Bretheren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter onto you in few worlds.” [Hbr 13:22] This however is especially fitting for the weak that they hear a few words which they avail to grasp, and which may goad their mind to the pain of penitence. For if the speech of exhortation were said to them manifold at one time, because they cannot retain many things they would simultaneously lose them all. Thus bodily physicians indeed with an apt remedy subtly anoint the cloths which they lay on infirm stomachs lest if they are filled with too much medication they would not help and strengthen the weakness of the stomach but oppress and aggravate it. 

[17] Sciendum tamen quia etsi quando modum suum sermo prolixior transeat, periculosum hoc auditoribus non est. Si autem qualiter quid dicatur, et quibus dicatur, non vigilanter conspicitur, valde periculosum est. Verecundiae etenim mentes, si quas fortasse culpas amiserint, leniter arguendae sunt, quia si asperius increpentur, franguntur potius quam erudiantur. At contra mentes asperae atque impudentes, si increpatae leniter fuerint, ad maiores culpas ipsa leinitate provocantur.

[17] Yet it must be known that even though the speech sometimes goes to excess of prolixity it is not dangerous for its hearers. But if it is not vigilantly watched what is said, and to whom it is said, it is exceedingly dangerous. For shy minds, if perchance they have dismissed their guilt, are to be gently reproved because if they are more harshly rebuked they are broken rather than instructed. But as to exasperating, shameless minds, if they were gently reproved they would be provoked by this very gentleness to greater sins. 

[18] Quod bene in eodem egregio praedicatore discimus, qui cum Corinthios cognosceret pro amore personarum in schismate divisos, eorum verecundiae consulens, locutionem suam eis a gratiarum actione et laudibus coepit, dicens: Gratias ago Deo meo semper pro vobis in gratia Dei, quae data est vobis in Chrstio Iesu, qui in omnibus divites facti ests in illo, in omni verbo et in omni scientia, sicut testimonium Christi confirmatum est in vobis. [1 Cor 1:4-6] Queso te, Paule, si iam nihil deest, cur eis scribendo fatigaris? Cur in longinquo positus loqueris? Pensemus ergo, fratres carissimi, quantum laudat. Ecce eis gratiam Dei datam asserit, factos in omnibus divites dicit in omnio verbo et in omni scientia, Christi testimonium, id est quod de semetipso moriendo et resurgendo testatus est, in eorum vita confirmatum esse perhibet, et nihil eis deesse in ullla gratia testatur. Quis, rogo, credat quia Paulo post eos corripiat, quos ita laudat? Non post cetera subjungit: Obsecro autem vos, fratres, per nomen Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ut idipsum dicatis omnes, et non sint in vobis schismata. [1 Cor 1:10] Quid enim potuit tam perfectis tamquam laudabilibus schisma subrepere? Significatum est enim mihi de vobis, fratres mei, ab his qui sunt Chloes, quia contentiones inter vos sunt. Hoc autem dico quod unusquisque vestrum dicit: Ego quidem sum Pauli, ego autem Apollo, ego vero Cephae, ego autem Christi. [1 Cor 1:11-12] Ecce quos in omni verbo et in omni scientia laudaverat, quibus nihil deesse in ulla gratia dixerat, paulisper loquens, ad increpandum leniter veniens, divisos erga seipsos reprehendit, et quorum prius salutem narraverat, postmodum vulnera pafefecit. Peritus enim medicus vulnus secandum videns, sed aegrum timidum esse conspiciens, diu palpavit, et subito percussit. Prius blandam manum laudis posuit, et postmodum increpationis ferrum fixit. Nisi enim verecundae mentes fuerint palpando reprehensae, ita ut ex aliis rebus audiant quod in consolationem sumant, per increpationem protinus ad desperationem cadunt.

[18] We learn this well in that same excellent preacher who, when he heard that the Corinthians were divided in schism, through love of individuals, addressing their shyness, began his speech with thanks and praises, saying: “I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.” [1 Cor 1:4-6] Moreover he goes on to say: “So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of Our 'Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Cor 1:7] THIS SENTENCE DOES NOT APPEAR IN LATIN. CHECK CCSL I ask you, Paul, if already nothing is lacking, why do you vex yourself in writing to them? Why do you speak though placed far away? Therefore let us think, dearest brethren, how much he praises them. Behold he avers that the grace of God is given to them, he says that in everything they are enriched, in all utterance and all knowledge, he asserts that the testimony of Christ, i.e. the witness He bore of His own Death and Resurrection, was confirmed in their life, and attests that they are lacking in no grace. Who, I ask, would believe that a little later he accuses those whom he praises? For after the rest he adds: "But I beseech you, Brethren, by the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you." [1 Cor 1:10] For how could schism creep up unseen on such perfect and likewise laudable individuals? "'For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." [1 Cor 1:11-12] Behold those whom he had praised in all utterance and all knowledge, whom he had said were lacking in no grace, speaking briefly, coming to the gentle reproof, he reproaches them as divided against themselves and lays bare the wounds of those of whose salvation he had before spoken. For a skilled physician, seeing a wound to be cut but perceiving the patient to be timid, stroked it for a long time and suddenly struck. First he placed the soft hand of praise and then fixed the iron of rebuke. For if shy minds were not reproved by stroking so that they hear from other things a source of consolation they would straightway fall through reproach to desperation. 


[19] Sed numquid mentitus est Paulus, ut prius eis nil deesse in omni gratia diceret, quibus postmodum dicturus erat unitatem deesse? Absit hoc. Quis de illo talia vel desipiens credat? Sed quia errant inter Corinthios quidam omni gratia repleti, et errant quidam in personarum favoribus excisi, coepit a laudibus perfectorum, ut modesta invetione ad rehrehensionem pertingeret informuorum. Et in hoc quoque ad medicinam cordins a medicina corporis usum trahens. Nam cum feriendum vulnus medicus aspicit, prius ea membra quae circa vulnus sana sunt palpat, ut post ad ea quae vulnerata sunt leniter palpando perveniat. Cum ergo Paulus perfectos in Corinthiis laudavit, sana membra juxta vulnus tetigit, cum vero infirmos de divisione reprehendit, vulnus in corpore percussit.

[19] But did Paul lie when he first said that they lacked no grace and then that unity was wanting? Far from it. Who would foolishly believe such things of him? But because there were among the Corinthians certain men filled with all grace, and there were others fallen in partialities of persons, he began from the praises of the Perfect in order that with moderate invective he might attain to the reproof of the weak, in this also deriving the usage from medicine of the body to medicine of the heart. For when the doctor examines the wound to be struck he first strokes the healthy members which surround the wound, so that by gently stroking he comes to those which are injured. Therefore, when Paul praised the perfect among the Corinthians he touched sound members beside the wound, when indeed he rebuked the infirm for their schisms he struck the wound on the body.

[20] Videamus tamen hunc te ipsum qui tanta modestia atque mansuetudine ad corripiendos Corinthios dicitur, qualiter contra Galatas, qui a fide discesserant, exercetur. Nulla enim modestiae patientia praemissa, nulla locutionis dulcedine praerogata, eos quos a fide discessisse cognovit, ab ipso epistolae suae exordi invehendo redarguit. Nam praemissa salutatione, sic coepit: Miror quod sic tam cito transferimini ab eo qui vos vocavit in gratia Christi. [Gal 1:6] Quibus etiam in aperta increpatione post cetera subjungit: O insensati Galatae, quis vos fascinavit? [Gal 3:1] Mentes etenim durae nisi aperta essent increpatione percussae, nullo modo malum cognoscerent quod egissent. Nam saepe hi qui impudentes sunt tantum se peccasse sentient, quantum de peccatis quae fecerint increpantur, ut minores culpas suas aestiment quas minor invectio castigat, et quas vehementer obiurgari viderint, maiores esse deprehendant. Unde necesse est ut semer sermo praedicantis cum auditorum debeat qualitate formari, ne aut verecundis aspera, aut impudentibus lenia loquatur. Quid autem mirum si hoc verbi Dei erogator faciat, cum et Agricola qui semina in terram mittit prius terrae qualitatem paevidet quibus seminibus apta videatur, et postquam qualitatem praeviderit, tunc] semina spargit. [Gregory, Homilae in Hezechielem Prophetam I, Homilia 11, c. 12/20, CCSL 142, pp. 174-178]

[20] Yet let us see how this same man who is led with such moderation and mildness to the censure of the Corinthians is driven against the Galatians who had departed from the Faith. For no patience of moderation is mentioned, nor sweetness of speech expended; he inveighed against, and confuted from the very beginning of his letter those whom he knew had defected from the Faith. For with salvation mentioned first he begins thus: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed form him that called you into the grace of Christ.” [Gal 1:6] After the other things he adds also in open rebuke: “O senseless Galathians, who hath bewitched you?" [Gal 3:1] For stubborn minds, unless they were struck by open rebuke, would by no means recognize the evil which they had done. For often those who are without shame feel that they have sinned insofar as they are reprimanded for the sins which they have committed, so that they esteem as lesser sins those which less invective castigates and perceive as greater those which they see vehemently rebuked. Thus it is needful that the speech of the preacher always be adapted to the quality of the hearers, lest he speak harshly to the shy and soft words to the shameless. But what wonder if the bestower of God's word does this when even the farmer who sows seeds in the earth first examines the quality of the soil to see for which seeds it seems suitable, and having seen the quality beforehand then sows his seeds? [Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Ezechielem I, no. 11, c. 12-20, trans. Theodosia Tomkinson, Saint Gregory the Great. Homilies on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Etna, Ca: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies 2008, pp. 220-224, with small revisions]

Non solum enim in verbis sancti praedicatores solent habere discretionem, sed etiam in factis. Docet idem ipse B. Gregorius in ultima parte moralium libro vigesimo octavo cap. XI. n. 28-30. hoc modo dicens: [28] Dicatur nunc, quemadmodum [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: in una eademque virtute discretionis lineam deserimus, si hanc et aliquando agere et aliquando postponere nesciamus. Non enim res eadem semper est virtus, quia per momenta temporum saepe merita mutantur actionum. Unde fit ut cum quid bene agimus, plerumque melius ab ejus actione cessemus, et laudabilius ad tempus deserat quod in suo tempore laudabiliter mens tenebat. Nam si pro nostris bonis minimis, quibus actis proficimus, nec tamen intermissis interimus, majora laborum mala proximis, imminent, necessario nos virtutum augmenta seponimus, ne infirmioribus proximis fidei detrimenta generemus, ne tanto jam quod agimus virtus non sit, quanto per occasionem sui in alienis cordibus fundamenta virtutum destruit.

For holy preachers ought to show discretion not only in their words, but also in their deeds. Saint Gregory also shows this in the last part of Moralia in Iob, book 28, chapter 11, paragr. 28-3063 where he says: [28] Let it be now stated how we abandon the line of discretion in one and the same virtue, if we know not how to perform it at one time, and how to defer it at another. For a virtue is not always one and the same thing, for the merits of actions are often changed by circumstances. It is hence the case, that when we are properly engaged in any pursuit, we often more properly desist from it; and that the mind more creditably abandons that employment for a time, in which it was creditably employed at its own proper time. For if in consequence of our lesser virtues, (by performing which we make progress, but by intermitting which we are not endangered,) greater evils and trials threaten our neighbours, we necessarily put aside our advance in virtue, lest we should cause losses to the faith in our weaker neighbours; lest what we do should so far not be a virtue, the more it overthrows the foundations of the faith in the hearts of others, for the sake of itself.

[29] Discretionis hujus exemplum in sancto Paulo.---Quam discretionis lineam bene ante intuentium oculos Paulus tetendit, qui et gentiles ad libertatem fidei venientes circumcidi prohibuit, [cf. Act 15:1] et tamen Lystris atque Iconium transiens, ipse Timotheum, qui gentili patre editus fucrat, circumcidit. [cf. Act 16:3] Videns enim quod nisi se mandata litterae servare ostenderet, Judaeorum rabiem etiam in eos qui sibi tunc comites aderant excitaret, assertionis suae vim postposuit, et sine damno fidei se suosque comites a persecutionis immanitate custodivit. Fecit quod fieri fidei amore prohibuit, sed ad fidei retorsit ministerium quod quasi non fideliter fecit. Plerumque enim virtus cum indiscrete tenetur amittitur; cumque discrete intermittitur, plus tenetur. Nec mirum si in incorporeis intelligimus quod agi et in corporeis rebus videmus. Ex studio namque arcus distenditur, ut in suo tempore cum utilitate tendatur. Qui si otium relaxationis non accipit, feriendi virtutem ipso usu tensionis perdit. Sic aliquando in exercitatione virtus, cum per discretionem praetermittitur, reservatur, ut tanto post vitia valenter feriat, quanto a percussione interim prudenter cessat. Subtilis igitur discretionis super hanc terram linea tenditur, quando ostensis unicuique animae exemplis praecedentium patrum, et utiliter ad operationem virtus accenditur, et nonnunquam utilius temperatur. Cavendum ne discretionis nomine, propriis commodis serviatur.

[29] Which line of sound judgment Paul rightly extended before the eyes of the beholders, who both ordered the Gentiles who were coming to the liberty of the faith not to be circumcised, [Gal. 5, 2] and yet, when at Lystra, and passing through Iconium, himself circumcised Timothy, who had been born of a Gentile father. [Acts 16, 3] For, seeing that he would excite the rage of the Jews even against those who were then present as his companions, if he did not shew that he observed the commands of the letter, he deferred enforcing his assertion, and secured himself and his companions from fierce persecution without loss to the faith. He did that which he ordered not to be done from love to the faith; but he brought back to the service of the faith that which he did as it were unfaithfully. For a virtue is frequently lost, when it is maintained indiscreetly, and when it is discreetly intermitted, it is held the more firmly. And it is no wonder if we understand that that takes place in incorporeal, which we see taking place also in bodily, things. For a bow is intentionally unstrung, in order that at its proper time it may be usefully bent. And if it receives not the rest of being unstrung, it loses its power of striking, from being kept on the stretch. And thus sometimes when a virtue, which is in exercise, is suspended through discretion, it is reserved; in order that it may afterwards strike vices the more powerfully, the more it prudently abstains meanwhile from striking. The subtle line of sound judgment is, therefore, then extended over the earth, when, by setting before each soul the examples of preceding fathers, a virtue is both profitably excited to action, and is sometimes also more profitably restrained.

(30) Sed cum parumper ab opere zeli fortitudo seponitur, alta consideratione opus est, ne fortasse nequaquam communis boni consilio, sed timore proprio vel cujuslibet ambitionis studio a virtutis exercitatione cessetur. Quod nimirum cum agitur, jam non dispensationi, sed culpae servitur. Unde curandum sollicite est ut cum quis susceptum negotium cum virtutis cessatione dispensat, semetipsum prius in radice cordis inspiciat, ne sibi per hoc aliquid avarus appetat, sibi per hoc soli timidus pareat; et eo fiat pravum quod in opere sequitur, quo non ex recta cogitationis intentione generatur. Unde bene in Evangelio Veritas dicit: Lucerna corporis tui est oculus tuus. Si oculus tuus simplex fuerit, totum corpus tuum lucidum erit. Si autem oculus tuus nequam fuerit, totum corpus tuum tenebrosum erit. [cf. Mt 6:22; Lc 11:34] Quid enim per oculum exprimitur, nisi opus suum praeveniens cordis intentio? quae priusquam se in actione exerceat] hoc, quod appetit, contemplatur. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob XXVIII, c. 11.28-30, CCSL 143B, pp. 1417-1418]

[30] But when boldness of zeal is withdrawn for a while from employment, great consideration is needed, lest we should perchance cease from the exercise of virtue, not from regard to the common good, but through fear for ourselves, or for the sake of some object of ambition. For when this is the case, a man no longer gives way to dispensation, but to sin. Hence when a person so dispenses the work he has undertaken as to cease from virtuous exertion, he must take anxious care, and examine himself first in the depth of his heart, lest he should by this greedily seek something for himself, by this should spare himself alone through fear; and lest the result of his work should turn out ill, as not produced from a proper intention of thought. Whence the Truth well says in the Gospel, The light of thy body is thine eye; if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. [Matt. 6, 22. 23.] For what is expressed by the ‘eye,’ except the intention of the heart going before its work? which, before it exercises itself in action, already contemplates that which it desires. [Gregory I, Moralia in Iob XVIII, 11.28-30, transl. John Henry Parker, J. G. F. and J. Rivington, London 1844]

Quod autem dicit et praecipue ut hanc regulam in omnibus conservet, subaudiendum est: ille abbas. Ubi sunt illi, qui dicunt: non debent abbates hanc regulam sicut monachi observare, cum hic dicitur, ut abbas praecipue hanc regulam observet? Quod vero dicit: ut dum bene administraverit, audiatur a Domino, quod servus bonus, qui erogavit triticum conservis suis in tempore suo: Amen dico vobis, ait, super omnia bona sua constituet eum, [page 598] quasi diceret: quia si bene suum peregerit ministerium tam in se quam in aliis, i. e. ut eum, qui increpari dignus fuerit, increpaverit, quem rogari, rogaverit, quem excommunicari, excommunicaverit, et illis etiam temporalia ministraverit, a Domino mercedem constitutam accipiet, sicut ille servus constitutus, qui bene ministravit, i. e. tempore suo dedit conservis suis cibum.

When he says: In particular, he should adhere to this Rule in all matters, you have to understand the abbot. How, then, can some people argue that abbots do not have to observe this rule in the same way as the monks, since it says here that the abbot should in particular adhere to this Rule? When he says, so that when he has served well he may hear from the Lord what the good servant, who distributed the harvest to his fellow servants in due time, heard: Amen, I say to you, he has set him over all his property, [page 598] this means that if he fulfills his office well both with regard to himself and to others, that is, if he rebukes him who should be rebuked and asks him who should be asked and excommunicates him who should be excommunicated, and also provides for their earthly well-being, he will receive the reward set aside for him by the Lord, such as the servant placed64 in the Bible, who administered well, that is, gave his fellow servants their food in due time.

Dicit enim Beda: Magnae quippe scientiae est, dare in tempore conservis cibaria et audientium considerare personas. [Bede, Super Acta Apostolorum expositio, c. 17, CCSL 121 quoting Jerome, Commentarii in Isaiam 14] Nunc videndum, quid est, quod dicit: super omnia bona sua constituit eum. Quomodo super omnia bona eum constituit, cum multi sunt boni dispensatores? Jam si unus super omnia bona constitutus fuerit, quomodo alter potest constitui? Vere potest, eo quod coelestis patria non est sicut terrena. Terrenam namque hereditatem quantum unus plus habuerit, tantum alius minus. Illa vero coelestis hereditas non est ita; sed quantum plus quis illam habuerit, tantum alius plus habet, quia gaudium alterius suum esse credit.

For Bede says: For it is a sign of great knowledge to distribute food to one’s fellow servants in due time. [Bede, Super Acta Apostolorum expositio, c. 17, CCSL 121 quoting Jerome, Commentarii in Isaiam 14] Now we have to discuss what he means when he say: He has set him over all his property. How has he set him over all his property, when there are many good stewards? If one has been set over all of them, how can another one be set there? Of course he can, because the heavenly kingdom is not like an earthly one. For if one person gets a larger share out of an earthly inheritance, another one gets less. But our inheritance in heaven is not of the same kind; if one person gets a larger share of it, another one gets a larger share as well, because he considers the other’s joy his own.

Ecce enim B. Benedictus docuit, qualiter et quam recte abbas habeat sollicitudinem vitae suae et de vita discipulorum suorum. Nunc autem dicendum est, si forte pro fragilitate ab ipsa rectitudine deviaverit, utrum debeat a discipulis suis admoneri, et si admoneri debet, qualiter admoneatur. Unde necesse est, ut verba B. Gregorii, quibus de hac re docet, in hoc loco adhibenda sunt, quae ita se habent: [24] Saepe aliquid a majoribus dispensatorie [omitted in ed Mittermüller, inserted from CCSL: agitur, quod a minoribus error putatur. Saepe multa a fortibus dicuntur, quae infirmi idcirco dijudicant, quia ignorant. Quod bene bobus calcitrantibus inclinata illa testamenti arca signavit, quam quia casuram credens Levites erigere voluit, mox sententiam mortis accepit. [cf. 2 Sm 6:7]. Quid est namque mens justi, nisi arca testamenti? Quae gestata a bobus calcitrantibus inclinatur; quia nonnunquam etiam qui bene praeest, dum subjectorum populorum confusione concutitur, ad dispensationis condescensionem ex sola dilectione permovetur. Sed in hoc, quod dispensatorie agitur, inclinatio ipsa fortitudinis, casus putatur imperitis. Unde et nonnulli subditi contra hanc, manum reprehensionis mittunt, sed a vita protinus ipsa sua temeritate deficiunt. Levites ergo quasi adjuvans, manum tetendit, sed delinquens vitam perdidit, quia dum infirmi quique fortium facta corripiunt, ipsi a viventium sorte reprobantur. Aliquando etiam sancti viri quaedam minimis condescendentes dicunt, quaedam vero summa contemplantes proferunt; dumque vim vel condescensionis vel altitudinis nesciunt, audacter haec stulti reprehendunt. Et quid est justum de sua condescensione velle corrigere, nisi inclinatam arcam superba reprehensionis manu relevare? Quid est justum de incognita locutione reprehendere, nisi motum ejus fortitudinis, erroris lapsum putare? Sed perdit vitam, qui arcam Dei tumide sublevat, quia nequaquam quis sanctorum corrigere recta praesumeret, nisi de se prius meliora sensisset. Unde et Levites isdem recte Oza dicitur, quod videlicet robustus Domini interpretatur; quia praesumptores quique nisi audaci mente robustos se in Domino crederent, nequaquam meliorum facta vel dicta velut infirma judicarent. Amici igitur Job, dum contra eum quasi in Dei defensionem prosiliunt, divini praecepti regulam superbientes excedunt.

This is what Saint Benedict teaches on the question how the abbot should take care of his own life and of the life of his disciples, and how he does so in the right way. Now we have to discuss whether he should be admonished by his disciples if he perchance strays from the right path, fallible as he is, and if so, how he ought to be admonished. Here it is necessary to refer to the words of saint Gregory on this question. They are as follows: [24] For it often happens that, because they cannot be understood, either the doings or the sayings of the better men are displeasing to the worse; but they are not to be rashly censured by them, inasmuch as they cannot be apprehended in their true sense. Often that is done in pursuance of policy [‘dispensatorie,’ in economy] by greater men, which is accounted an error by their inferiors. Often many things are said by the strong, which the weak only decide upon, because they know nothing about them. And this is well represented by that Ark of the Testament being inclined on one side by the kine kicking, which the Levite desiring to set upright, because he thought it would fall, he immediately received sentence of death. [2 Sam. 6, 7] For what is the mind of the just man but the Ark of the Testament? which, as it is being carried, is inclined by the kicking of the kine; in that it sometimes happens that even he, who rules well, being shaken by the disorder of the people subject to him, is moved by nought else than love to a condescension in policy. But in this, which is done in policy, that very bending, that is, of strength is accounted a fall by the inexperienced; and hence there are some of those that are in subjection, who put out the hand of censure against it, yet by that very rashness of theirs they forthwith drop from life. Thus the Levite stretched forth his hand as it were in aid, but he lost his life in being guilty of offence, in that while the weak sort censure the deeds of the strong, they are themselves made outcasts from the lot of the living. Sometimes too holy men say some things condescending to the meanest subjects, while some things they deliver contemplating the highest; and foolish men, because they know nothing of the meaning either of such condescension or elevation, presumptuously censure them. And what is it to desire to set a good man right for his condescension, but to lift up the ark that is inclined with the presuming hand of rebuke? what is it to censure a righteous man for unapprehended words, but to take the move he makes in his strength for the downfall of error? But he loses his life, who lifts up the ark of God with a high mind; in that no man would ever dare to correct the upright acts of the Saints, unless he first thought better things of himself. And hence this Levite is rightly called Oza, which same is by interpretation ‘the strong one of the Lord,’ in that the presumptuous severally, did they not audaciously conclude themselves ‘strong in the Lord,’ would never condemn as weak the saying and doings of their betters. Therefore while the friends of blessed Job leap forth against him, as if in God's defence, they transgress the rule of God's ordinance in behaving proudly..

[25] Si aliquid in his displicet, non est reticendum, sed magna humilitate promendum.---Cum vero quaedam facta meliorum deterioribus displicent, nequaquam hoc quod mentem movet, reticendum est, sed cum magna humilitate proferendum; quatenus intentio pie sentientis eo vere servet formam rectitudinis, quo per iter graditur humilitatis. Et libere ergo dicenda sunt quae sentimus, et valde humiliter promenda quae dicimus, ne et quae recte intendimus, haec elate proferendo non recta faciamus. Paulus auditoribus suis multa humiliter dixerat; sed de ipsa exhortatione humili placare eos adhuc humilius satagebat, dicens: Rogo autem vos, fratres, ut sufferatis verbum solatii; etenim perpaucis scripsi vobis. [Hbr 13:22] Ephesiis quoque Mileti valedicens, afflictis ac gementibus, humilitatem suam ad memoriam revocat, dicens: Vigilate, memoria retinentes quoniam per triennium nocte ac die non cessavi cum lacrymis monens unumquemque vestrum. [Act 20:31] Eisdem rursum per Epistolam dicit: Obsecro vos, fratres, ego vinctus in Domino, ut digne ambuletis vocatione, qua vocati estis. [Eph 4:1] Hinc ergo colligat, si quando aliquid recte sentit, quanta humilitate debeat magistro loqui discipulus; si ipse magister gentium in his quae cum auctoritate praedicat, tam submisse discipulos rogat. Hinc unusquisque colligat, eis a quibus bene vivendi exempla percepit, hoc quod bene intelligit, quam humiliter dicat; si Paulus illis humili se voce subdidit, quos] ad vitam ipse suscitavit. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, c. 11.24-25, CCSL 143, pp. 234-236]

[25] But when any of the doings of better men are displeasing to the less good, they are by no means to hold their peace about the considerations which influence their minds, but to give utterance thereto with a great degree of humility, so that the purpose of him, whose feelings are pious, may, in a genuine manner, keep the form of uprightness, in proportion as he goes by the pathway of lowliness. Thus both all that we feel is to be freely expressed, and all that we express is to be uttered with the deepest humility, lest even what we intend aright we make other than right, by putting it forth in a spirit of pride. Paul had spoken many things to his hearers with humility, but it was with still more humility that he busied himself to appease them about that humble exhortation itself, saying, And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words . [Heb. 13, 22] And likewise bidding farewell to the Ephesians at Miletus, who were deeply grieved and loudly lamenting, he recalls his humility to their remembrance, in these words, Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears . [Acts 20, 31] Again he says to the same persons by letter, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation, wherewith ye are called . [Eph. 4, 1] Therefore let him infer from hence, if he ever thinks rightly at all, with what humility the disciple ought to address the Master, if the Master of the Gentiles himself, in the very things which he proclaims with authority, beseeches the disciples so submissively. Let everyone collect from hence in what a spirit of humility he should communicate to those, from whom he has received examples of good living, all that he perceives aright, if Paul submitted himself in a humble strain to those, whom he himself raised up to life . [Gregory I, Moralia in Iob V, 11.24-25: 24, transl. John Henry Parker, J. G. F. and J. Rivington, London 1844, vol. 1]

1. illum. Cod. Mellicens. (Mittermüller).
2. exposcant (?). (Mittermüller).
3. Hildemar quotes from memory.
4. Minetur?
5. continentur (?) = comprehenduntur (?). (Mittermüller).
6. poenae (?). (Mittermüller).
7. cognitionem. Cod. Tegernsee. (Mittermüller).
8. potest (?). (Mittermüller).
9. Neque, ut supra dictum est, omnibus personis omnes gradus convenire poterunt; quia videlicet diversae sunt qualitates mentium, ut unde unus medetur, inde alter perimitur.
10. quam. Cod. Divion. (Mittermüller).
11. quodsi? (Mittermüller).
12. cupientem. Cod. Divion. (Mittermüller).
13. sit (?). (Mittermüller).
14. ut et forte sit, quod cupiat. Cod. Fürstz. (Mittermüller).

1. This parenthesis added by Hildemar only makes sense if you look at the Latin text, where the verb elegerit comes last in the
2. I am not changing Venarde’s translation here, but following Hildemar’s quotation.
3. This is actually not what Benedict says; he says “a small part of the community”.
4. Affabilis. Hildemar seems to take this to mean, in the literal sense, “someone who can speak (fari)”, and thus teach, rather than “someone easy to speak to”.
5. Fragilis. An interesting choice of word. Blaise has “faible, lâche”; thus, prone to temptation.
6. This identification is remarkable. I don’t know enough about the organization of the Carolingian Church to understand it properly. Parochia has a number of meanings in medieval Latin (“district”, “territory”, “diocese”, “parish”). See Niermeyer s.v.
7. A gloss on what Hildemar considers an uncommon word, aliquatenus. TLL cites a gloss aliquatenus: aliqua ratione.
8. Amor perficiendi. I couldn’t think of a better way to combine the term “love” with the Latin gerund construction.
9. Lc 16:2: redde rationem vilicationis tuae. I have changed the position of the inverted commas in Venarde’s translation.
10. The two words (honor/honos, honoris and onus, oneris) are very similar in Latin. Hildemar obviously thought it necessary to clarify which one was meant. Cf. Isidore of Seville, Differentiae 1, 283 honos de honore, onus de onere.
11. This is a pun in Latin (praeesse/prodesse) which Venarde does not try to imitate (I don’t see how he could have), and consequently, I don’t either.
12. Sed hoc euphonia iudicat, quae pro longo usu utitur in regulam. The text is dubious. My translation obviously only works if utitur is taken as a true passive.
13. Probably based on a lost passage from Cicero’s De re publica.
14. More literal than in Venarde, “so that he knows how to be”, Latin ut sciat et sit unde nova et vetera proferat. Hildemar explains the two verbs sciat and sit separately, which is why I had to change the translation.
15. Again, more literal than Venarde. Hildemar will use the verb “retrieve” (proferre) several times in the following explanation.
16. Because he is something from which old and new can be retrieved.
17. Poena, in medieval Latin, means both “pain” and “punishment”, and Hildemar oscillates between the two meanings. On the one hand, he is clearly referring to the eternal punishment of the condemned, but on the other hand, he opposes gaudium and poena, which makes better sense if poena means “pain”.
18. Actually, Isidore. See below. The text could be corrupt.
19. Iustum, but Isidore has iustus. In both cases, the construction with praecedit is difficult.
20. I am not entirely sure what Isidore means by that. What doctrine he follows?
21. Humility derives from humus (“earth”); thus gravity, the tendency to move towards the earth, signifies the humility of the priest.
22. Hildemar misunderstands (or deliberately distorts) the sense of the Cassian passage. For Cassian, castus is the stronger term, as opposed to continens; only people who are virgins or have lived in abstinence for a very long time can be called “chaste”. But for Hildemar, castus is the weaker term, which can be applied to persons who sinned, if they do not do so now (with no reference to a long time of abstinence). While this may be an honest error, it serves the practical end to allow for less-than-perfect men to become abbots. If he had taken up Cassian’s definition, every abbot would have to be a saint.
23. Vagulus. Blaise only mentions Patricius, Synodus episcoporum 34, PL 53,826 D. Obviously someone not adhering to the stabilitas loci.
24. Misericors apparently means two different things for Hildemar. On the one hand, “compassionate”, one who feels for the poor (and thus feeds and clothes them), on the other hand, “lenient” as a judge.
25. In vitiis ventum fuerit. A weird impersonal expression. If the text is doubtful here (which I think it is), then it might mean something like “if it comes to the matter of vices”.
26. Poenam crudelitatem. The text is corrupt. See note in text file: there is a variant poenae crudelitatem “the cruelty of punishment”; or it could be poenam crudelitatem, which is what I translate here. The difference in meaning is negligible.
27. This is an interesting passage. Hildemar doubles back to a piece of text he has already discussed and adds some more. He is well aware of this fact (ut diximus); it cannot be a scribal error. Does this imply that the text is a transcript of an oral lecture with mistakes caused by improvisation, which has not been revised carefully? It would be interesting to collect passages like these.
28. Etymology of lex (“law”) from ligare (“to bind, fetter”).
29. Benedict does not say that abbots should be priests. Hildemar only deduces this from the biblical images he uses (vilicus, vilicatio) and from the passage from the Opus imperfectum in Mattheum, which clearly takes the vilicus to mean a sacerdos. The remark thus comes as something of an afterthought, instigated by the Opus imperfectum rather than Benedict. The dependency of Hildemar’s interpretation on a passage he has just quoted, not on the text he comments, again seems to imply that this work is somewhat improvised. On the other hand, it the very haphazardness of this insertion might mean that this is something Hildemar wanted to say, no matter where, because it was an important issue of his time.
30. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 138.28, CCSL 40, p. 2010: quid est: perfecto odio? Oderam in eis iniquitates eorum, diligebam condicionem tuam. Hoc est perfecto odio odisse, ut nec propter vitia homines oderis nec vitia propter homines diligas.
31. Cassiodor, Expositio Psalmorum 138:22, CCSL 98, p. 1252: perfectum odium est homines diligere et eorum vitia semper horrere. Nam in illa parte qua creatura dei sunt, amandos esse non dubium est, quia considerata opera dei, boni sunt; in illa vero iniquitate horrendi sunt, in qua se foedis sceleribus polluerunt, quoniam tales placere non possunt, nisi eis qui factis similibus implicantur. See also Aug. in psalm. 138.28 (quoted in note above).
32. Adeo laborant. Could this be ideo laborant?
33. Laborare cum illis: this text is dubious.
34. In aliam partem: I don’t understand that.
35. Quasi naturaliter, often repeated. I am not sure what to do with quasi.
36. Istis, qui non habent … vitium, potes emendare; illis autem, qui … habent illud vitium, emendari non potest. The construction of emendo with dative has no parallel, which is why I took the dative to be ethical and supplied vitium as the accusative object.
37. The text is probably corrupt: si volueris … istos homines, qui illud vitium quasi naturaliter habent, ipsum vitium persequi pro eo et castigare eqs. The underlined words do not fit into the syntactical structure.
38. Venarde translates “Let him also be wary of his own weakness”, omitting semper, which is weird, since Cod. Sangall. 914 (A) has the same text as all other mss. (suamque fragilitatem semper suspectus sit).
39. Aut cecidit … aut, si non cecidit, posse cadere. Anacoluth. Mittermüller suggests (as a conjecture?) potest instead of posse, but I think the inconsistency is admissible. Hildemar reverts to the indirect discourse in the second half of the sentence.
40. Hildemar’s quotation ends in the middle of a sentence.
41. Ipsa correptio quam corripit: the text is surely corrupt here.
42. Translation modified to agree with Venarde.
43. Venarde has “wisely” for prudenter, but since Hildemar explains the etymology in the following paragraph, I tried to stay close to the Latin.
44. Cum caritate: Venarde translates “lovingly”, but I have kept the Latin construction, because Hildemar will variate it in the following chapter.
45. Expediat, translated rather freely to agree with Venarde.
46. Again, Hildemar does not comment the passages in the order of the text, but returns to an earlier sentence he has barely touched upon before, to explain it more fully. Compare above, note 49.
47. Prudens, from providens, is usually (correctly) explained as “foreseeing”, “seeing in advance” (TLL X 2370,22sq.; e. g. Cic. div. 1.111). The variant etymology given here can be found in Augustine, Enarrationes in psalmos 73.25 prudens enim dictus est porro videns; quoted in Isid. Etym. 10,201 prudens quasi porro videns. Praespicax est enim et incertorum praevidet casus (Isidore here conflates the two etymologies, providere and porro videre).
48. Melius ... peius ... nec melius nec peius: The neutral (or adverbial) forms with frater are strictly speaking ungrammatical.
49. Suspiciosus. I have changed the obvious “suspicious” (Venarde), because Hildemar goes on to describe this as a neutral, at times positive feature. I cannot find parallels for this usage, and it may be that it is Hildemar’s own conjecture, based on the assumption that the adjective derives from suspicere in the neutral sense of “to look at”. Later, he will use suspicari in the neutral sense of “oversee, supervise” (rather than the usual meaning “look askance at, regard with suspicion”).
50. This remark is somewhat obscure. Hildemar cannot have said so in direct response to a passage of the Rule, since this is the only occurrence of anxius in the text of the Rule. On the other hand, there are two occurrences of superfluus and a related noun in the Rule. In 36.4, sick brothers are advised: ... considerent in honorem Dei sibi serviri, et non superfluitate sua contristent fratres suos servientes sibi. Hildemar comments upon this: pro superfluitate sua, i.e. per inconditos mores. In 61.1, Benedicts says that a visitor should be welcomed, si pro hospite voluerit habitare in monasterio et contentus fuerit consuetudinem loci quam invenerit, et non forte superfluitate sua perturbat monasterium; Hildemar glosses this: superfluus attinet ad incessum sive ad illud, si plus, quam regula dicit, dicat agere. While this last text seems corrupt at the end, it is clear that the two explanations for superfluus,superfluitas differ from one another and from what is presumably the correct meaning, “bothersome”, “irritating”. I find it hard to deduce from the available material what Hildemar may have meant here.
51. Obviously, this is not what anxius means, either. I suspect that Hildemar confused the word with another one. One candidate: anceps, which can be found in close proximity to anxius in Isid. etym. 10.11. Here Isidore uses anxius in his definition of anceps: anceps, huc et illuc fluctuans ac dubius istud an illud capiat, et in qua parte declinet anxius. Anxius here seems to mean “undecided”, “deliberating”. See MLW I 731,7sqq. (Thietm. chron. 3.26).
52. This is all Hildemar says about Benedict’s remarkable and singular use of nimius in the sense of “overbearing”, “abusing his power” or similar. Obviously he has no idea what it means here. Benedict uses this adjective only here to describe a person. There is no parallel anywhere to be found for nimius as a synonym of obstinatus. Venarde’s “excessive” is misleading; this is not e.g. about the vices of food or drink, but about the abbot’s behavior towards his monks
53. Irrevocabilis in a rare personal use: “he who cannot be called back (from something wrong or dangerous)”, “uncontrollable”. The usage is not in TLL (but it should be: e.g. Lucan. 1. 509 ruit irrevocabile vulgus). Cf. Latinitatis Italicae Medii Aevi Lexicon, s. v. irrevocabilis: “transl., pervicax” (Paul. Diac. hom. 86 PL 95 1257.3 scripturam in qua quondam Iudaei florebant illis pro irrevocabili malitia abstulit [Deus]).
54. In priore: normally, this would mean “in the preceding text”. But this is the first occurrence of obstinatus in the Rule.
55. Ne usque ad odium perveniat: I wonder if he means “so that he does not show hate towards his monks” or rather “so that the monks do not begin to hate him”.
56. The entire passage is remarkable in that Hildemar gets the meaning of almost all the adjectives wrong. This shows how restricted the active vocabulary of a 9th century author actually was.
57. Venarde translates “whether assigning godly or worldly work is in question”. I had to change this to a more literal translation, since Hildemar will go on arguing for the singular sit over the plural sint. Venarde’s “is in question” introduces a completely different syntactical structure. In the following text, Hildemar seems to read opera, quae ..., thus taking opera as a neuter plural. It therefore cannot be the subject of sit (which Hildemar insists is singular) and has to be translated as the object of discernat et temperet. See the following footnote on an added element of uncertainty.
58. It is not entirely clear to me why Hildemar insists on the reading sit. He does not take opera as a feminine nominative singular (sive ... sit opera, quam ...), as do the modern editions, following the Sangallensis, but as a neuter plural (opera, quae ...), which would be easier with sint; and he strongly argues against taking the abbot as subject of sit (which the plural sint would preclude). So why does he prefer the ambivalent sit over the straightforward sint, in spite of the fact that he reads opera, quae ..., not opera, quam ...? The whole argument (and the whole paragraph) would make much more sense if Hildemar actually did read opera, quam ..., which is quite possible (see Mittermüller’s footnote “quam Cod. Divion.”). check ms.
59. Sive sit opus spiritalis sive temporalis, illud opus …: The wrong endings may yet again point to textual corruption (opus/opera), or just be misread. I doubt that this is Hildemar’s mistake.
60. Hildemar specifies the abbot here as abbas regularis in opposition to the different types of secular abbots, who may well be very much “of the world”.
61. I had to change Venarde’s translation “so that the strong have something to desire and the weak nothing to shrink from”, because it does not include the singular which Hildemar insist on: ut et fortes sit ut cupiant. Hildemar misunderstands Benedict; he takes opus as the subject of sit, not an indefinite subject “so that there is something”.
62. Gn 4:7 according to the Septuagint and the Old Latin translations (frequently cited in the church fathers, e.g. Ambrose, De Cain et Abel 2.16.18).
63. I doubt that all of these numbers were part of Hildemar’s original text.
64. I. e., over his master’s property. Perhaps there is a lacuna in the Latin text.

Copyright © 2014 The Hildemar Project
Editor Login Page