• Header 1
  • Header 2
  • Header 3


[Ms P, fol. 101rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 83r; Ms E1, fol. 124r; Ms E2, fol 194r]

Ch. 34

Translated by: James LePree

1Sicut scriptum est: Dividebatur singulis, prout cuique opus erat [Act 2:45].

1As it is written: Let it be distributed to each one, according to need [Act 2:45].

Quasi interrogasse videtur aliquis S. Benedictum, utrum debeant omnes aequaliter accipere; ipse vero quasi respondisset1 dicens: Non, sicut scriptum est. Et dicit: Quomodo? Dividebatur singulis, prout cuique opus erat. Hoc autem scriptum est in historia Actuum apostolorum. Ordo enim, qui in illa primitiva ecclesia erat, in monachis remansit. Nam omnes, quotquot tunc credebant, omnia sua in commune tradebant. Unde oportet doctorem, sicut admonet, propriis abrenuntiare, ita etiam debet sicut illa primitiva ecclesia unicuique, ut opus est, dividere.

Just as if it seems someone had asked S. Benedict whether all should receive equally; it is though he had responded saying: No, as it is written and he says: How? Let it be distributed to each one according to need. This was written in the History of the Acts of the Apostles. For this condition which existed in the early Church still exists among monks today. For all who believed this then, handed over everything to be held in common. Therefore, it is fitting, as he admonishes (us), to renounce personal property. Thus it is fitting just as it was in the early Church to distribute to each one according to need.

Attendendum est, quia egregium ordinem tenuit in hoc loco S. Benedictus, in eo quod prius dixerat, non habere proprium [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 33] et postmodum dixit: Dividat unicuique, prout opus est, quia, sicut dixi, sicut admonet doctor et abbas, principium sanctae primitivae observare ecclesiae, i. e. propriis abrenuntiare, ita etiam congruum est, ejusdem sanctae ecclesiae ordinem observare.

It must be understood that S. Benedict keeps the right order in this place in that which he had said before not to have personal property [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 33] and afterwards he said: He should distribute to each one according to need, because, as I said, the teacher and abbot admonishes us in such a way to observe the principle of the holy early Church, i.e. to renounce personal property. Thus, it is appropriate that we also observe the condition of the same holy Church.

Sequitur: 2ubi non dicimus, ut personarum, quod absit, acceptio sit, sed infirmitatum consideratio.

It follows: 2when we don’t say that there should be respect for persons – what should not happen - but consideration of infirmity.

Ubi, i. e. in qua distributione non debet abbas aliam causam considerare, sed solummodo infirmitatem. [page 392]

When, i.e. in which distribution, the abbot should not consider any other cause but only infirmity. [page 392]

Sequitur: 3Ubi qui minus indiget, agat Deo gratias et non contristetur, 4qui vero plus indiget, humilietur pro infirmitate, non extollatur pro misericordia.

It follows: 3When someone needs less, he should give thanks to God and not be saddened, 4but who needs more, should be humbled for his weakness, not be proud of the compassion (shown to him).

Usque huc, i. e. ubi qui minus indiget, agat Deo gratias et non contristetur, admonuit datorem, nunc admonet susceptorem. Datorem, i. e. abbatem admonet, ne accipiat personam, sed consideret infirmitatem. Susceptorem admonet unum, cum dicit qui minus indiget, agat Deo gratias et non contristetur et reliqua. In loco murmurationis constituit atque docuit, referre Deo gratiarum actiones - ac si diceret: Qui minus indiget, i. e. qui non indiget accipere sicut alius, dicat: 'Gratias ago tibi, Deus, quia dedisti confortationem mihi, ut non indigeam ita, sicut ille frater.'

Up to this point, i.e. When someone needs less, he should give thanks to God and not be saddened, he admonished the giver. Now he admonishes the receiver. He warns the giver, i.e. the abbot not to favor the person but consider the infirmity. He warns the receiver when he says who needs less, should give thanks to God and not be saddened and the rest. In place of murmuring, he decided and taught to perform deeds of gratitude to God and as if he were to say: who needs less; i.e. he who does not need to receive as much as another should say: ‘God, I give thanks to you, because you gave me comfort so that I was not in need as much as that brother.’

Et non contristetur, i. e. non murmuret dicendo: 'quia non dedisti mihi tantas vestes sicut illi' et reliqua. Alterum vero admonuit dicens: qui vero plus indiget, humilietur pro misericordia, ac si diceret: ille, cui plus necesse est accipere, humilietur pro misericordia et dicat: 'Domine, justum et rectum est judicium tuum; scio quia indignus fui et sum, et ideo non dedisti mihi hujuscemodi confortationem et fortitudinem, ut sic parum indiguissem, sicut ille frater, qui te confortante parum indiget.'

And he should not be saddened, i.e. he should not murmur by saying: ‘that you did not give me so many clothing as to him’ and the rest. But he admonished another saying: But he who needs more, should humble himself for the compassion shown him, and if he were saying: he who needs to receive more should humble himself for the compassion shown him and should say: ‘Lord, your judgment is just and right; I know that I have been and am unworthy and therefore you did not give me comfort and fortitude of this sort so that I would be in need of less as that brother who needs less by you comforting him.'

Sequitur: 4et non extollatur pro misericordia - ac si diceret: Qui plus accipit quam alii, non debet dicere: quia pro meo merito, i. e. aut scientia, aut arte vel fortitudine mihi plus, quam aliis tribuuntur haec tanta necessaria.

It follows: 4And he should not be exalted for the compassion (shown to him). As if he were saying: Who receives more than others should not say: ‘Because of my merit (i.e. knowledge, skill or bravery), more of such necessary things are distributed to me than to others.’

Sequitur: 5et ita omnia membra erunt in pace, i. e. si sic factum fuerit, omnia membra erunt in pace - ac si diceret: si illud caput ita sanum fuerit, i. e. si abbas non consideraverit personam, sed infirmitatem, et ille qui minus accipit, eo quod minus indiget, non murmuraverit, quia non accipit sicut alius, et ille alter non se reddiderit priorem aliis, eo quod plus quam alii accipit, tunc omnia membra erunt in pace, i. e. omnes in concordia erunt et in caritate.

It follows: 5And thus all members will be in peace, i.e. if it has been done in this way, all members will be in peace. And as if he were to say: if the head is well, i.e. if the abbot does not consider the person but the weakness and the one who receives less because he needs less has not murmured since he did not receive the same as another and the other did not consider himself superior to others because he receives more than them, then all members will be in peace, i.e. all will be in concord and love.

Sequitur: 6Ante omnia ne murmurationis malum pro causa in aliquo qualicunque verbo vel significatione appareat. [page 393] 7Quod si deprehensus fuerit quis, districtiori disciplinae subdatur.

It follows: 6Above all, the sin of murmuring should not appear in any word or gesture for any reason whatsoever. [page 392] 7If anyone has been caught doing this, let him be subject to a more severe punishment.

Nunc videndum est, qua ratione S. Benedictus murmurationis fecit mentionem in hoc capitulo? Eo, quod ille dixerat, non omnes aequaliter debere accipere necessaria, sed secundum infirmitates suas. Cognovit etiam quasi causas murmurationis inesse infirmis, ideo vigilanter dixit: Ante omnia ne murmurationis malum pro qualicunque causa in aliquo qualicunque verbo vel significatione appareat.

Now it must be understood why S. Benedict mentioned murmuring in this chapter? Because he had said earlier that not all should receive provisions equally but according to their weaknesses. He also knew, as it were, that the weak could give reason for murmuring, therefore he vigilantly said: Above all, the sin of murmuring should not appear in any word or gesture for any reasons whatsoever.

Quod vero dicit ante omnia, subaudiendum est: inspiciendum vel attendendum. Et hoc nosse debemus, quia istud, quod dicit ante omnia, duobus modis solet ponere scriptura divina; nam et in bono et in malo ponitur. In bono, cum dicit: Ante omnia caritatem habete [cf. Col 3:14]; in malo: ante omnia superbiae malum veluti venenum fugite. [cf. Prv. 16:5] Sed cum in bono ponitur, sicut dixi, intelligitur, ut omnimodo fiat et non praetermittatur. In malo cum ponitur, intelligitur, ut nullo modo fiat. Sed dicendum est, ad quid attineat hoc, quod dicit ante onmia? videlicet ad minores - quasi diceret: Valde solliciti sint monachi, ne aliquando verbis murmurent aut in aliquo signo videantur murmurare et rel., sicut in regula dicit.

But when he says above all, we have to fill in ‘one has to control and pay attention that…’. And we ought to know that expression above all, which he uses is usually used in two ways in divine scripture; for it is used in a good or in a bad sense. In a good sense when (scripture) says: Above all have love [cf. Col 3:14]; in a bad sense: above all, flee the evil of pride as if it were poison. [cf. Prv 16:5] But when it is meant in a good way, as I said, it is understood that it must be done by all means and must not be neglected. When it is meant in a bad sense, it is understood that it must in no way be done. To what does this refer to when he says above all? Namely to those who receive less as if he were saying: Monks are very worried lest at some time or another they may murmur with words or seem to murmur by some indication and the rest as the Rule says.

Potest, si subtilius attendatur, etiam ad majores attinere, quatenus ipsi solliciti sint ita distribuendo necessaria, ut minores non habeant, unde juste possint murmurare, sicut inferius ipsa regula dicit: Sic omnia temperet atque disponat, quatenus et animae salventur, et quod faciunt fratres, absque justa murmuratione faciant [Regula Benedicti, c. 41.5]

If one looks more closely, it can also refer to those who receive more, as far as they are concerned that in the distribution of provisions they do not receive less and as a result can justly murmur as the Rule itself says below: And thus the abbot should distribute everything with moderation in such a way that souls may be saved and monks may carry out their responsibilities without just murmuring. [Regula Benedicti, c. 41.5]

Hoc autem, quod dicit: Quod si deprehensus fuerit quis, districtiori disciplinae subdatur, duobus modis intelligi potest: uno enim modo intelligitur, ubi invenitur districtiori, vel districtius aut gravissime - in ipsa correptione, ubi est, i. e. in occulto aut in palam debet plus exaggerare illam correptionem in verbis secretis vel in correptione publica, quam pro aliis culpis; altero vero modo intelligitur, i. e. districtiori vel districtius aut gravissime unam admonitionem transcendere.

But that what he says: If anyone has been caught violating this, let him be subject to a very severe penalty can be understood in two ways. For it is understood to be very severe or when it occurs in the correction itself. The abbot should apply more vigorously either in private or publically that correction in private words or in public admonition than he would for other faults. It is understood in another way, i.e. too severe to require more than one admonition.

V. gr. inventus est frater, qui illud peccatum secrete fecit: pro hoc non duabus vicibus est admonendus secrete, sed solummodo post unam vicem secretam [page 394] transire ad publicum. Et hoc intuendum est: sive secundum sensum primum, sive secundum, in modo levioris culpae est faciendum.

For example a brother has been found who has committed this sin privately. For this he should not be warned twice, but only after one warning [page 394], he should receive public correction in the presence of all. And this must be considered: whether according to the first sense or the second, correction or warning must be done in the manner of a lesser fault.

Egregius ordo est iste in eo, quod prius dixit, proprium non habere, et statim subjunxit: sed omnia necessaria a patre monasterii sperare debere [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 33.5], et nunc dicit, ut, secundum quod habet, ita dividat ille abbas. Et hoc sciendum est, quia duae intentiones reperiuntur in hoc capitulo: una, qua admonet priorem, ut unicuique secundum indigentiam tribuat; altera, qua admonetur discipulus, ut plus non accipiat, sed secundum suam necessitatem, i. e. si plus indiget, plus accipiat, et si minus indiget, minus accipiat; et nec ille debet frater superbire, si plus accipit, et nec ille debet murmurare, si minus accipit, sed magis gratias referre Deo.

There is an excellent order in that what he said previously. After not have private possession he adds directly one should hope (to get) everything that is necessary from the father of the monastery [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 33.5], and now he says that the abbot divides according to his resources. And this must be understood: that we find St. Benedict wrote this chapter with two purposes in mind: one in which he warns the prior that he should give too each one according to need, another in which the disciple is warned that he should not receive more but only according to his need; i.e. if he needs more, he should receive more and if he needs less, he should receive less. And that brother should not be proud if he receives more nor should a brother murmur if he receives less but rather give thanks to God.

Et quia ille cognovit, murmurare illum, qui minus accipit, et illum superbire, qui plus, ideo subjunxit legem, cum dicit: Ante omnia ne murmurationis malum pro qualicunque causa in aliquo qualicunque verbo vel significatione appareat, et dixit districtiori disciplinae subdatur. Significatio enim attinet ad vultum et incessum. Et bene ille de significatione dedit legem, quia Deus occultorum est omnium cognitor: ideo dixit significationem, ut coram Deo malus non reperiatur.

And because S. Benedict recognized that he who receives less would murmur and he who receives more would be proud, he made provisions for this in the Rule when he says: Above all, the evil of murmuring should not appear for any reason in any word or expression whatsoever. For gesture refers to the face and gait. And S. Benedict put this admonition in the Rule about gesture for good reason because nothing remains hidden from God; therefore, he said gesture lest evil be discovered in the presence of God.

1. respondisse videtur (?). (Mittermüller).

Copyright © 2014 The Hildemar Project
Editor Login Page