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[Ms P, fol. 102rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 85r; Ms E1, fol. 125r; Ms E2, fol. 195v]

Ch. 35

Translated by: Kathryn Jasper

1Fratres sibi invicem serviant, et nullus excusetur a coquinae officio, nisi aut aegritudine aut causa gravis utilitatis quis occupatus fuerit, 2quia exinde major merces et caritas acquiritur

1The brothers shall serve one another in turn, and no one shall be excused from kitchen duty, except due to illness or occupation in some important service, 2because from this office great reward and charity are obtained.

Jubet enim B. Benedictus, ut omnes coquinae officium exerceant, et reddit causam, quare, cum dicit quia exinde major merces et caritas acquiritur. Merces attinet ad remunerationem, caritas vero ad concordiam et ad fraternam dilectionem. Bene merces ad remunerationem refertur, quia istud officium coquinae laborem habet.

Blessed Benedict ordered thus, so that all may serve in kitchen duty. He explains the reason why when he says: Because from this office great reward and charity are obtained. Reward concerns recompense, but charity involves harmony and fraternal love. Reward is rightly referred to as recompense, because the duty of the kitchen involves labor.

Nam sunt nonnulli, qui magis cupiant aliam obedientiam exercere, quam in coquina servire propter laborem. Et ideo [unde] ille, quantum majorem laborem habet, tantum majorem remunerationem apud Deum consequetur. Et in hoc etiam [page 395] illud officium caritatis impletur, quod dicitur: Quaecunque vultis, ut vobis faciant homines, vos eadem facite illis. [Lc 6:31]

For there are many who desire more to engage in some other task, than to serve in the kitchen because it is laborious. And for that reason, Benedict considers the amount of labor one assumes to be as great as the reward that will follow in heaven. Also in this manner [page 395] charitable duty is fulfilled, since it is said, Whatever you wish that men should do unto you, do the same unto them. [Lc 6:31]

Verum cum dixit: ut nullus excusetur a coquinae officio, nisi aut aegritudine aut causa gravis utilitatis quis occupatus fuerit, causa discretionis dixit, quia confusum dereliquisset, nisi ipse decrevisset.

But when Benedict said, No one shall be excused from kitchen duty, except due to illness or occupation in some important service, he spoke for sake of clarification, because he would have left someone confused unless he himself had so ordered.

De aegritudine nulla est dubitatio, quia ille, qui in lecto a valetudine detentus jacet, cognoscitur non posse coquinae officium implere.

Regarding the excuse of illness, there is no doubt that he who lies in bed afflicted with an illness is regarded as unable to perform kitchen duty.

De causa autem gravis utilitatis videtur esse dubitatio, quia solet esse causa gravis utilitatis, et tamen illa congregatio non cognoscit, illam esse gravis utilitatis, et per hoc deputat, esse minoris. Et iterum solet esse causa minoris utilitatis, et tamen illam congregatio non cognoscit minoris, et per hoc etiam hortatur fratrem, ibidem praeoccupari in ipsa obedientia, quam exercet, excusatus1 a coquinae officio.

As for the excuse of important service it seems that some doubt exists, since the reason tends to be a particular important task, and yet nevertheless the community is unaware that it is so important, and therefore considers it to be of lesser importance. And on the other hand, the excuse could be some minor task, and yet nevertheless the community remainds unaware of its unimportantce and for that reason exhorts the brother to stay in that same place, busied in that very task, which he is performing because he was excused from kitchen duty.

Unde animadvertendum est: si potest abbas ita manifestare illam causam gravis utilitatis omnibus, quatenus cum concordia et caritate fratrum ille frater excusetur a coquina pro illa causa gravis utilitatis, tunc excusandus est frater. Si autem non potest fratribus abbas manifestare istam causam gravis utilitatis, ut excusetur a coquina, sed magis inde discordiam inter fratres ortam2 viderit, melius est, ut illa causa dimittatur, et coquinae officium exerceat, quam caritatem fratrum parvipendat, et illam causam gravis utilitatis in majori loco habeat, eo quod caritas major est quam terrena actio.

Hence the following subject must be considered: If an abbot can clearly demonstrate the excuse of important service to everyone, so that, with the harmony and charity of the brothers, a brother may be excused from the kitchen for the sake of some important service, by which a brother should be excused. However, if the abbot cannot make evident to the brothers what is meant by an occasion for important service that a brother may be excused from the kitchen, and in the abbot more often shall have observed discord arising among the brothers, then it is better that this excuse be dismissed and that the brother perform kitchen duty, than that he pay too little attention to the charity of the brothers. And the excuse of important service shall hold greater weight, because charity is greater than a temporal act.

Sequitur: 3Imbecillibus autem procurentur solatia, ut non cum tristitia hoc faciant.

He continues: 3But let helpers be procured for the weak ones, that they not be grieved performing this office.

 Imbecillis est ille, qui delicatus est, quamvis non proprie, cui quasi per naturam est, tale officium non posse manibus exercere, eo quod nunquam tale opus exercuit; sive imbecillis est ille, qui ex infirmitate surgit, et ob hoc, quia vires in infirmitate perdidit, non potest illud officium implere. Imbecillis est etiam claudus, vel etiam hujuscemodi homo, qui non potest sine baculi adjutorio ire, eo quod imbecillis est dictus quasi sine baculo [page 396] fragilis et inconstans.

A weak person is he who is delicate, although not especially, for whom the ability to perform such an office with his hands is outside his nature, since he has never performed this sort of duty; or, a weak person is he who rises from some infirmity, and as a result cannot fulfill that office, since he lost some of his vigor in that infirmity. One who limps is also considered weak, and also any man who cannot walk about without the help of a staff, because a man is weak if he is said to be basically infirm and [page 396] fragile without a staff.

Nunc videndum est, qualiter solatia imbecillibus procuranda sunt. Aut enim si inveniuntur duo vel tres qui possint illud officium implere, insimul debent facere, et illis in una hebdomada reputetur solummodo, aut certe unus sanus debet conjungi cum imbecilli per diem; et tamen ille sanus pro hoc non potest dicere excusando: 'quia jam in coquina servivi,' ut suam hebdomadam in coquina non faciat. V. gr. debet dicere uni fratri decanus: 'Uno die, frater, debuisti obedientiam hodie agere: vade, adjuva illum fratrem imbecillem.' Deinde altero die jubeat alteri fratri et similiter in reliquis diebus.

Now it must be considered in what manner helpers for the weak brothers ought to be provided. If two or three are found who can fulfill this office then they should perform it together, and let only one week be assigned to them, or certainly one healthy man must remain alongside a weak man for the day; and nevertheless that healthy man cannot say ‘I have already served in the kitchen,’ and consequently not serve his week in the kitchen on account of that man who sould be excused. For example, on one day the deacon must say to one brother, ‘Brother, you should have exercised obedience today; go, help that weak brother.’ Then on another day let him order another brother to do the same, and likewise for the remaining days.

 Quod vero dicit imbecillibus procurentur solatia - quasi diceret: imbecillibus subministrentur adjutoria, ut non cum tristitia hoc faciant. Tunc enim tristatur frater, cum pro sua imbecillitate non potest praeparata habere omnia, sicut ipse desiderat, et ideo debent illi dari adjutoria duo vel tres fratres, qui non magnae virtutis sunt, aut certae unus magnae virtutis, eo quod uterque modus intelligi debet.

For Benedict says, Let helpers be procured for the weak ones – just as if he said: let aids be administered to the weak, that they not be grieved performing this office. For then a brother is grieved, unable to have all things prepared just as he had desired on account of his weakness, and therefore help should be given to him, in the form of two or three brothers, who together do not possess great virtue, but rather only one possesses true and great virtue, because each of the two manners of behavior out to be understood.

Sequitur: 4sed et omnes habeant solatia secundum modum congregationis et positionem loci.

He continues, 4But let everyone have help according to the size of the community and the setting of its location.

 Modus congregationis intelligitur quantitas fratrum.

 Size of the community is understood as the number of brothers.

Positio vero loci intelligitur: sicut positus est locus. Est talis locus, qui prope non habet aquam aut hortum aut ligna et reliqua necessaria ibi pertinentia, ac si diceret: juxta quantitatem fratrum, et sicut positus est ille locus et indigentiam habet, ita sibi vicissim serviant in coquina.

Setting of its location is understood as where the site is located. If the location is such that it has nearly no water, nor garden, nor wood, nor are the remaining necessary pertinences present in that place, then Benedict would say: Due to the number of brothers, and because of where the site is located, there is want; thus, let the brothers take turns serving themselves in the kitchen.

Si necesse est, ut duo fratres ministrent sive tres sive quatuor et reliqua, ipsi vicissim cum caritate faciant.

If necessary then two brothers may serve, or three or four brothers and so on. Let them do so in turn and with charity.

Sequitur: 5Si major fuerit congregatio, cellararius excusetur a coquina.3

He continues: 5If the congregation is large, the cellarer shall be excused from kitchen duty.

Si decem fratres sunt, non est major congregatio; si autem viginti fratres sunt, jam potest esse major congregatio, sicut diximus superius in decani capitulo. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 21] Unde si ille cellararius tale sibi commissum ministerium habet, sicut superius dixi, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 31] debet excusari, eo quod non potest manibus suis exercere in coquina et iterum curam infantum aut hospitum vel infirmorum et reliqua habere [page 397] quia regula non praecipit, ut canonici in coquina sint, sed solos monachos praecipit illud obsequium agere.

If there are ten brothers, that is not a large congregation; if however there are twenty brothers, the congregation can then be considered a large one, just as we stated above in the chapter on the deacon. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 21] Hence if the cellarer holds such a duty, which was commissioned to him, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 31] just as I stated above he must be excused, because he cannot exercise his hands in the kitchen and at the same time be occupied with the care of children, or guests, or the infirm, and other remaining responsibilities; [page 397] because the Rule does not order that canons be in the kitchen, but prescribes that monks alone observe that practice.

Sequitur: 7Egressurus de septimana sabbato munditias faciat, 8lintea, cum quibus sibi fratres manus aut pedes tergunt, lavet.

He continues: 7The one ending his weekly duty shall perform the cleaning on Saturday; 8he shall wash the linens, with which the brothers wiped their hands and feet.

Intentio vero S. Benedicti fuit, ut omnia in ipsa hebdomada faciat. Sed nunc quia labor grandis est, eo quod non possunt in coquina servire et iterum porticus scopare et ceteras munditias facere, idcirco dividitur isto modo: i. e. in die sabbati scopatur coquina et lavantur lapidea, et scutellas sive etiam scamna lavant. In altera vero sequenti hebdomada scopant totas porticus, i. e. ante coquinam et ante refectorium; capitulum vero et dormitorium ante vestiarium debet (camerarius) camberarius scopare, et ante basilicam basilicanus. Refectorium vero cellararius debet scopare; si labor illi fuerit, debet petere a decano adjutorem. Nam hebdomadarius illud debet scopare, quod omnibus est.

In truth the intention of Saint Benedict was that a brother do everything during that same week. But now since the workload is substantial, because brothers cannot serve in the kitchen and also sweep the porticos and perform their remaining tasks, the work is therefore divided in that very way: that is, on Saturday the kitchen is swept and the floor washed, and they wash the plates or also the benches. Those starting work the following week sweep all the porticos; namely, the ones in front of the kitchen and the refectory. The camerarius must sweep the chapter room and the dormitory and in front of the closet, and the basilicanus must sweep in front of the basilica. The cellarer absolutely must sweep the refectory; if he had work, he must seek the help of the deacon. The hebdomadarius must sweep the shared space.

Superius enim dixit: Ante omnia ne murmurationis malum pro qualicumque causa in aliquo qualicumque verbo vel significatione appareat, et reliqua. [Regula Benedicti, c. 34.6] Illa sententia generavit hoc capitulum, quamquam et ad superiorem sensum murmurationis malum possit referri; tamen et hoc capitulum generavit - quasi diceret aliis verbis S. Benedictus: murmurationis malum prohibeo, tamen video, unde possit generari, hoc est ab obsequio fugiendo, et ideo jubeo, ut nullus excusetur a coquinae officio, quia solent multi esse, qui se excusant ab obsequio fugiendi;4 et ex hoc occasio murmurandi datur. Deinde ut hoc malum vitetur, ideo nullus excusetur ab obsequio coquinae. Reddit causam, quare: quia exinde major merces et caritas acquiritur - sive subaudiendum est: propter murmurationis malum, quod superius dixit esse cavendum, ne generetur.

Previously he said: Above all, the evil of murmuring shall not appear for any reason in any word or sign, and so on. [Regula Benedicti, c. 34.6] That idea produced this chapter; although the evil of murmuring cannot be referenced as in the sense above, nevertheless it created this chapter – as if Saint Benedict had said in other words: I prohibit the evil of murmuring, nevertheless I see from whence it can come; that is, from a lack of obedience, and therefore I order that no one be excused from kitchen duty, because there are many who are accustomed to be excused, and who excuse themselves due to lack of obedience, and consequently are presented with the opportunity to murmur. And so, in order that this evil may be avoided, let no one hereafter be excused from kitchen duty. Benedict explains the reason why: because from this office great reward and charity are obtained – or, it must be understood that the evil of murmuring remains the reason, of which we must be wary, as he said above, lest it appear.

Hoc sciendum est, quia illam gravem utilitatem, pro qua non potest quis in coquina servire, si potest abbas omnibus manifestare, debet, sicut diximus, ut gravem esse intelligant ipsam utilitatem, et cum caritate omnes consentiant: tunc [page 398] dimittendum est officium coquinae propter illam utilitatem. Si autem non potest ita manifestare, ut omnes consentiant, dimittenda est pro ista caritate, et facienda est coquina. Nam nec etiam propter aurum vel ceteras res temporales speciosas rumpenda est illa caritas generalis, i. e. ubi generaliter omnes scandalizantur.

It must be understood that if the abbot can make it clear to everyone, as he must, just as we said, that the usefulness of this work is great (and for its sake not just anyone can serve in the kitchen), and consequently the brothers understand that its usefulness is great and consent to perform the service with charity, then [page 398] kitchen duty must be carried out on account of this usefulness. If, however, the abbot cannot make this idea clear so that all consent to seve, then the task must still be carried out through that very same charity: kitchen duty must be done. For not even on account of gold or any other splendid temporal possession must this charity held in common be broken; that is, when in general all are subject to temptation.

Et hoc sciendum est, quia forte, si sunt duo vel tres vel quatuor aut quinque indiscreti et non bonae voluntatis, qui nolunt consentire, et omnes discreti consentiunt, pro ipsis non debet dimitti illa gravis utilitas.

And it must be understood that if it happens that two, or three, or four, or five imprudent individuals of ill disposition do not wish to consent to serve (when all prudent persons do consent) then that great service should not be carried out for their benefit.

Quod vero dicit lintea, cum quibus sibi fratres manus et pedes tergunt, lavet: illa lintea intelligenda sunt, cum quibus sibi fratres manus et pedes tergunt in sabbato lavanda. Isto modo debent abluere: i. e. postquam laverint manus et pedes et terserint, statim in eadem aqua lavamus, quae remanet post lotionem pedum.

Because indeed Benedict said he shall wash the linens, with which the brother wiped their hands and feet; those linens, with which the brothers wiped their hands and feet, must be understood to be washed on Saturday. In that very way they ought to wash; that is, after they wash and wipe their hands and feet, at once they should wash them in that same water that remains after the washing of the feet.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Non jubet, manus lavari sed pedes.' Cui respondendum est: Non fuit intentio S. Benedicti de aliis horis manus tergere, quia, ubi dicit, pedes tergere lotos, ibi etiam manus lavandae sunt, propterea dicit: quia, cum quibus sibi fratres manus aut pedes tergunt, lavet. Nam valde inhonesta est, si pedes, etiam non manus lavandae sint statim.

If by chance someone says, ‘He does not command that our hands are washed, only our feet.’ To him the response must be: ‘It was not the intention of Saint Benedict to wipe our hands at some other time, because he says that while wiping the feet, at the same time the hands must be washed.’ As Benedict says: He shall wash the linen with which the brothers wiped their hands and feet. For it is a great disgrace if the feet, and not also the hands should not both be washed at once.

Sequitur: 9pedes vero tam ipse, qui intrat, quam ille, qui egreditur, omnibus lavent.

He continues: 9Indeed let he who comes in, as well as he who goes out, wash the feet of all.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'quia et ille qui intrat, et qui exit pariter lavare debent.' Cui respondendum est: 'Non; sed ille, qui exit, debet lavare pedes, et qui intrat, tergere, quia quando pedes lotos tergunt, quid aliud faciunt, nisi lavant?' eo quod officium lavandi faciunt. Nec etiam ipsa honestas docet, ut aequaliter utrique debeant pedes abluere.

If someone happens to say, ‘Both he who comes in, and he who goes out, must wash in equal manner.’ To him the response must be: ‘No, but he who goes out ought to wash the feet, and he who comes in must wipe the feet, because when they wipe the feet, what else do they do except wash them?’ Because they are performing the task of washing. This honor also requires that they should wash the feet of each other in the same way.

Sequitur: 10Vasa monasterii sui munda et sana cellarario reconsignet, 11qui cellararius item intranti consignet, ut sciat, quid dat aut quid recipit.

He continues: 10Let him give back to the cellarer the vessels of his monastery clean and intact, 11and let the cellarer give the same in turn to the one coming in, so that he may know what he gives and what he receives.

In hoc loco intuendum est, quia cellararius tria, debet inquirere in vasculis, hoc est: munditiam, integritatem atque numerum. Munditiam, si munda sunt; integritatem, si sana sunt; numerum, si tota sunt. Nam debet cellararius brevem habere, quot vascula intranti [page 399] coquinario tribuit. Deinde cum exit ille coquinarius, debet ei dicere: 'Numera frater et ostende isti fratri, qui intrat, ut videat, utrum munda an sana vel tota sunt.' Ille vero frater, qui exit, debet numerare coram cellarario illi fratri, qui intrat. Deinde si fuerint tota et munda et sana, securus erit. Debet autem dicere cellararius fratri intranti: 'Ecce frater, tu vidisti, quia et sana et munda atque integra sunt: ita redde et tu tempore tuo.' Et postea debet scribere similiter numerum vasculorum in tabulis. Si autem non fuerint tota, datur spatium unus dies, ut quaerat diligenter. Jam si in uno die spatium5 non potuerit invenire, tunc in tertio die petit veniam pro damno. Notandum est enim, quia non dicit solummodo munda aut solummodo sana, sed sana et munda. Ubi manifestatur, quia cum grandi diligentia sunt vasa monasterii tractanda.

In this passage it shall be observed that the cellarer must inquire after three things regarding the vessels, that is: cleanliness, integrity, and number; cleanliness, if they are clean; integrity, if they are whole; and number, if all are present. For the cellarer must retain a small number out of how many vessels he gave to the incoming [page 399] cook. Then when the cook leaves he must say to cellarer: ‘Brother, show this number of vessels to that very brother who is coming in, so that he sees whether they are clean, or intact, or whole.’ Indeed that brother who is leaving should account openly for the vessels to the cellarer for the brother who is entering the office. Then if they shall have been found whole and clean and intact, he will be sure. Furthermore, the cellarer must say to the brother coming in: ‘Look, brother, you saw that the vessels were whole and clean and intact: give them back in the same condition when it is your turn.’ Later he should also write the number of vessels in the registers. If however the vessels were not all present, then one day’s time is given so that the brother may diligently make inquiries. If he shall have been unable to discover in one day’s time, then on the third day he seeks an apology for the loss. It must be noted that Benedict does not say only clean or only whole, but whole and clean. Hence it is made clear that the vessels of the monastery must be handled with great diligence.

Sequitur: 12Septimanarii autem ante unam horam refectionis accipiant super statutam annonam singulos biberes et panem, 13ut hora refectionis sine murmuratione et gravi labore serviant fratribus suis.

He continues: 12An hour before the meal let the weekly servers each receive drink and bread than the allotted amount, 13so that at the time of the meal they may serve their brothers without murmuring and great exertion.

Cum dicit ante unam horam, non dicit propter terminum horae, sed propter congruum intervallum, ut possint rationabiliter accipere hoc, quod jussum est, quia sic alibi dicit de lectore: accipiat mixtum, priusquam incipiat legere.[cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 38.10]

When he says an hour before, he does not say at the end of the hour, but at a suitable moment of pause so that they may reasonably receive that which was ordered, because as Benedict states elsewhere on the lector: let him receive a bit of drink, before he begins to read. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 38.10]

V. gr. si tempus est, quando ad nonam reficiunt fratres, cum canitur missa ad octavam, post missam omnes vadunt, qui debent accipere mixtum, i. e. hebdomadarii coquinae, lector, hospitalarii, et qui infirmis serviunt, pariter et inveniunt quartam librae panis praeparatam et singulos biberes, sicut superius jam diximus; ille vero, qui signum debet tangere ad nonam, exspectat sacerdotes interim, ut parant vestimenta sua et sacrificia reponunt, et illi accipiunt in refectorio hoc, quod regula jussit. Deinde hoc facto tangit nonam. Si autem tempus Quadragesimae est, sicut in istis diebus agitur, quando ad nonam manducamus, inter missam et nonam, ita etiam agendum inter missam et vesperum.

For example, if it is time for the brothers to have their meal the ninth hour, when the mass is sung at the eighth hour, and when everyone leaves after mass, those who must receive a bit of drink (that is, the weekly kitchen servers, the reader, the hospitalars, and those who serve the infirm) will each receive drink and a fourth of a pound of bread, just as we said above. He who must sound the Nones waits for the priests in the meantime, as they prepare their vestments and replace the host, and then they receive their meal just as the Rule prescreibes. After this procedure is completed he sounds Nones. If however it is the time of Lent, just as it is practiced these very days, then we eat at Nones, between the mass and Nones, as a meal must also take place between mass and Vespers.

V. gr. canitur nona, datur [page 400] intervallum, ut presbyteri canant binas missas, deinde canitur missa publica; et ita faciendum est in Quadragesima. Intervallo autem facto inter missam et vesperum accipiant mixtum. Si autem tempus aestatis est, quando ad sextam manducamus, tertia cantata, deinde missa finita, post [vero] ille, qui signum tangere debet, jam praevidet horam, ut parvissimum intervallum sit, quando sextam tangit bis vel ter signum; et tunc vadunt omnes in refectorium et inveniunt praeparatum solummodo panem et vinum, sicut regula solummodo de pane et vino dicit. Post vero ille, qui signum tangere debet ad sextam, videt, quia jam possunt omnia supradicta consummata esse, tunc tangit sextam. Deinde cum incipimus Miserere mei Deus, ad officium tunc vadunt in refectorium hebdomadarii coquinae cum cellarario. Et illi ponunt unum pulmentum calidum et cellararius pouit vinum. Interim cum completur nona et lavantur manus, ordinant omnia.

For example, the None prayer is sung [page 400], then there is a pause so that the priests sing two masses, and then the general mass is sung; it must be done in this way during Lent. However, after the pause let them receive a drink between mass and Vespers. But if it is summer time, when we eat at Sext, after Terce has been sung and the mass completed, then the brother who must sound the hour anticipates the hour early so that there may be a very short break, when he sounds Sext two or three times; and then all come into the refectory and find only bread and wine prepared, as the Rule speaks of only bread and wine. Afterwards when he who must sound Sext observes that the bread and wine are consumed, then he sounds Sext. At that point, when we start the Miserere mei Deus, the weekly servers of the kitchen proceed to their duty in the refectory with the cellarer. They set down a hot stew and the cellarer puts out wine. In the meantime while they finish up the None prayer and wash their hands, the kitchen servers put everything in order.

Et hoc sciendum est, quia cantor pro cantare, quod cantat in intervallo, et quando lectioni vacatur, non debet pro hoc mixtum accipere, quia nullum vidi hoc facere.

And it must be made clear that the cantor on account of his singing (because he sings during the break and when there is no reading) should not therefore receive drink, because I have observed that this accomplishes nothing.

Verumtamen sciendum est, quia illi, qui mixtum accipiunt, non est opus, ut dicant versum.

Furthermore it must be understood that those who do receive drink, receive it because it is not required that they recite a verse.

Sequitur: 14In diebus tamen sollemnibus usque ad missas sustineant.6

He continues: 14On feast days, however, let them wait until after mass.

Consuetudo namque fuit in illa terra, sicut hodie faciunt canonici, post missam statim incipere sextam. Voluit itaque B. Benedictus tollere hanc consuetudinem; ideo dixit usque ad missam sustineant, ut, dum ante missam non auderet lector manducare, facto intervallo propter illum, illa consuetudo rumperetur.

For the custom in that region was to begin Sexts immediately after mass, just as canons do today. Blessed Benedict wanted to take up this custom; therefore, he said let them wait until after the mass, but while the lector dared not eat before the mass, a break was given on his account, and that tradition was broken.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Quae sunt sollemnes, cum superius dixit: festivitates sanctorum et sollemnitates Domini? ’ [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 14:1] Superius enim distinxerat per adjectionem sanctorum, nunc vero et festivitates et sollemnitates nomine sollemnitatis comprehendit. Nam psalmista te docet, cum dicit: Constituite diem solemnem in confrequentationibus usque ad cornu altaris, [Ps 117:27] eo quod de omnibus dicit diebus tam sanctorum quam Domini, quia sollemnitas et festivitas unum est, si sine adjectione aliqua aut sanctorum vel Domini, sicut superius dictum est, non dividitur. [page 401]

Perhaps someone asks, ‘What are these feast days, which Benedict mentioned above as feasts of saints and celebrations of the Lord? ’ [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 14.1] Here Benedict made a distinction by adding the word ‘saints’; now indeed he understood both feasts and other celebrations under the general term celebrations. As the author of the Psalms explains to you when he says: Establish a solemn day, with festal branches all the way up to the horn of the altar, [Ps 117:27], he said because all days belong as much to the saints as to the Lord, and celebrations and feasts are one and the same (if not for some addition such as either saints or Lord, just as stated above) hten there is no distinction. [page 401]

Sequitur: 15Omnium genibus provolvantur postulantes pro se orare.

He continues: 15Let them fall down on their knees before all the brothers and ask for their prayers.

Bene dixit genibus et non in terra, eo quod non est auctoritas canonica, genua flectere in die dominica.

Benedict rightly said on their knees and not ‘on the ground’, because bending one’s knees on Sunday runs contrary to canonical authority.

Forte dicit aliquis: ‘Quare B. Benedictus sic variavit vocem suam, i. e. superius dixit intrantes et exeuntes, et hic dicit ingrediens et egrediens?’ Bene dixit, eo quod sicut varia sunt monasteria, ita variavit vocem. intrantes et exeuntes pluraliter dixit propter monasteria, quae multitudinem fratrum habet;7 et ingrediens et egrediens ideo dixit singulariter propter illa monasteria, quae paucitatem fratrum habent, sicut superius dixit secundum modum congregationis et positionem loci.

Perhaps someone asks, ‘Why did Blessed Benedict vary his language; that is, why did he say above, those coming in and those going out, and here he says, the one coming in and the one going out?’ He spoke well, because just as monasteries are varied, so too he varied his choice of words. Regarding those going in and those going out, he spoke in the plural because there are those monasteries that have a multitude of brothers, and the one coming in and the one going out he kept singular because there are other monasteries that have a scarcity of brothers, just as he mentioned above when he said, according to the size of the community and the setting of its location.

Sequitur: 16egrediens autem de septimana dicat hunc versum: Benedictus es Domine Deus, qui adjuvasti8 me et consolatus es me, [cf. Ps 85:17] 17quo dicto tertio accipiat benedictionem egrediens.

He continues: 16Let the one going out from his weekly duty speak this verse: Blessed is the Lord God, you who helped me and consoled me, [cf. Ps 85:17] 17and after he has said the verse three times, let the one going out receive a blessing.

Debemus ergo intelligere hunc etiam versiculum, ut melius intendere in illum valeamus, cum dicimus illum. Iste versiculus ex superioribus pendet — quasi diceret: ‘Postulavi te, Domine, praeterita dominica, ut me adjuvares implere officium hujus hebdomadae; ideo benedico tibi et laudo te dicens, quia adjuvasti me et consolatus es me.’

We ought to understand this little verse, so that we may contemplate it better when we say it. That very verse depends on earlier writings – just as if Benedict said: ‘I asked you, Lord, last Sunday, that you might help me to fulfill my weekly office; and so I bless you and I praise you saying that you helped me and consoled me.’

Adjuvisti ad virium subministrationem attinet; et consolatus es me ad voluntatem et delectationem — quasi diceret: Et adjuvisti, i. e. adjutorium tribuisti, ut potuissem perficere; et consolatus es me, h. e. dedisti etiam bonam voluntatem, quatenus cum amore et delectatione ipsum opus perfecissem. Nam sunt multi, qui vires habent bona agendi, tamen delectationem non habent, nisi eis desuper sit datum; et ideo debent dicere: Benedictus es Domine Deus, qui adjuvisti me et consolatus es me.

You helped me pertains to the furnishing of virtues; and you consoled me to willingness and enjoyment – just as if he said: And you helped me, that is, you gave me help, so that I could complete my office; and you consoled me, that is, you gave me a positive attitude, so that I could carry out my work with pleasure. For there are many, who possess the strength to do good things, but nevertheless they do not take joy in it, unless it be given to them from above; and therefore they should say: Bless you Lord God, who helped me and consoled me.

Sequitur: 17Subsequatur ingrediens et dicat: Deus in adjutorium meum intende, Domine ad adjuvandum me festina, [Ps 69:2] 18et hoc idem tertio repetatur ab omnibus, et accepta benedictione ingrediatur.

He continues: 17Let the one coming in follow and say: God, extend forth aid to me, Lord make haste to help me, [Ps 69:2] 18and let this also be repeated three times by all, and after receiving his blessing let him enter into his service.

Consuetudo fuit namque monachorum, ut in omnibus operibus tam spiritalibus quam temporalibus, cum aliquid incipiunt, tertia vice hunc versiculum [page 402] dicere; et, ideo dixit, ter repetere. Sed attendenda est vis hujus versiculi, quatenus melius possimus intendere in illum, eum illum dicimus. Bene dixit inprimis Deus, et postmodum in adjutorium, quia primitus Dei nomen vocandum et iuvocandum est, et postmodum adjutorium petendum. Quis petit adjutorium? Ille [vero] petit adjutorium, qui in aliquo opere vel certamine seu tribulatione constitutus est, eo quod indiget adjutorio perficiendi vel exeundi; et ideo petit se adjuvari.

For the custom of monks in all endeavors, spiritual as well as temporal, was to say this little verse [page 402] when they began a task, and thus Benedict said to repeat it three times. But the significance of this verse must be given attention, so that we may better meditate on it when we say it. Benedict rightly said first God and after that to aid, because at the outset the name of God must be called and invoked, and after that his help must be sought. Who seeks his help? Indeed the one who seeks help is he who was appointed to some task and because of trial or tribulation he needs help in completing and finishing it; therefore, he asks that he receive help.

Intende; Deus enim multis modis intendit: aliquando intendit ad puniendum, aliquando ad adjuvandum, aliquando vero ad remunerandum. Sed quia iste adjuvari indigebat, ideo adjutorium petiit.

 Extend; for God extends himself in many ways: sometimes he comes forth to punish, sometimes to help, and indeed sometimes to reward. But because that very man needed to be helped, he therefore sought help.

Sequitur: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina. [Ps 69:2]

He continues: Lord, make haste to help me. [Ps 69:2]

Mos est prophetarum, aliquaudo eadem verba et eundem sensum repetere, aliquando vero eadem verba et eundem sensum cum aliis verbis, sicut in hoc loco facit.

It is the way of the prophets to repeat sometimes the same words and the same sentiment, and sometimes indeed to repeat the same words and the same sentiment in different words, just as he does in this passage.

Et est sensus, cum dicit: Deus in adjutorium meum intende; Domine ad adjuvandum me festina, i. e.: Domino Deus, adjuva me respiciendo in me. Nam unum est hoc, quod dixit in primis Deus, et postmodum Domine, et hoc quod dixit in adjutorium meum intende et illud, quod subjunxit ad adjuvandum me festina, unum significat.

And when he says, God extend forth aid to me; Lord, make haste to help me, the sentiment is ‘Lord God, help me by looking upon me.’ In the first part he said first God and then Lord, and then extend forth aid to me, and the the second part, to which he added make haste to help me, means the same thing.

Hoc sciendum est, quia, sicut diximus, in privatis diebus tangere debere signum ad mixtum, ita etiam in dominica et in sanctorum, quando ad sextam manducant.

It must be made clear that, just as we said, on individual days they must sound the hour to take drink, and so also on Sunday and on Saints’ days, when they eat at Sext.

Verumtamen sciendum est, quia illi, qui pedes lavant in sabbato, possunt etiam sibi ipsis pedes lavare, non unusquisque suos, sed ipsi duo aut tres hebdomadarii invicem; aut certe innuat prior juvenibus, ut eis lavent. Ad exeuntes autem nos hanc orationem dicimus: Concede quaesumus omnipotens Deus, ut huic famulo tuo pro hujus hebdomadae explelo officio merces tribuatur aeterna. Per Dominum. Ad intrantes vero: Praesta quaesumus omnipotens Deus, ut famulus tuus istius hebdomadae susceptum servitium mente devota perficiat. Per Dominum.

However, it must also be made clear that those who wash feet on Saturday can wash their own feet too, not each one his own, but two or three servers themselves will take turns; or certainly the prior will ask that the youths wash the others’ feet. In addition, to the ones leaving their service we offer this prayer: Grant us what we ask of you, O omnipotent God, that eternal reward may be given to this your servant for his office of the week completed. By the Lord. And to the ones coming in: Give to us what we ask of you, O Omnipotent God, that your servant may complete the service he has taken up this very week with a devoted heart. By the Lord.

Non ab re existimo, si etiam qualiter antiqui monachi et cum quanto studio sibi invicem per singulas hebdomadas serviebant, de quarto libro Institutae Patrum hic subjungamus. [page 403] Quemadmodum per Palaestinam vel Mesopotamiam [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, added from John Cassian, Institutiones IV, ch. 19-22, ed. Jean-Claude Guy, Sources Chrétiennes 105, pp. 146-150: quotidiana fratribus exhibeantur obsequia. Ne quid sane de institutis coenobiorum praetermisisse videamur, quemadmodum cotidiana fratribus etiam per alias regiones exhibeantur obsequia, commemorandum breviter puto. Per cunctam namque Mesopotamiam, Palaestinam et Cappadociam ac totum Orientem singulis ebdomadibus vicissim fratres ad haec officia sibi reddenda succedunt, ita ut secundum multitudinem coenobii ministrorum quoque numerus deputetur. Quae explere tanta devotione et humilitate deproperant, quanta nullus servorum dirissimo domino ac praepotenti suum exhibet famulatum, ita ut ne istis quidem solis contenti obsequiis quae canonico jure solvuntur, etiam nocte surgentes illos quos specialiter haec manet cura, studio suo relevent et ea quae ab ipsis perficienda sunt furtim praevenientes implere contendant.

On no account do I judge whether they behaved as ancient monks and with how much zeal they served each other every week by taking turnswe defer here to the fourth book of the Institutes of the Fathers: [page 403] How in Palestine and Mesopotamia [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, transl. after ed. SC 105: daily tasks are undertaken by the brothers. Lest we seem to omit any of the institutes of the cenobia, I think that I should briefly discuss how daily tasks are performed by the brothers in other regions as well. For throughout the whole of Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Cappadocia, and all over the Orient, the brothers take each other’s place by turns each week, in the performance of these duties, in such a way that the number of servers is reckoned according to the population of the cenobium. They hasten to accomplish these with a devotion and humility greater than the servitude that any slave would show to a very harsh and powerful master. Thus, in fact, they are not content with only the tasks that fulfill the canonical law but even get up at night to relieve others out of their own zeal and to anticipate their responsibilities, and, showing up on the sly, they strive to take care of the things that are supposed to be carried out by these others.

[2] Has autem septimanas unusquisque suscipiens usque ad cenam diei dominici ministraturus observat. Qua perfecta ministerium totius ebdomadis ita concluditur, ut hi, quibus succedendum est, convenientibus in unum fratribus ad concinendos psalmos, quos quieturi ex more decantant, omnibus in ordine pedes lavent, hanc scilicet ab eis pro labore totius septimanae benedictionis mercedem fideliter expetentes, ut eos explentes mandatum Christi emissa generaliter ab omnibus fratribus oratio prosequatur, quae vel pro ignorationibus intercedat vel pro admissis humana fragilitate peccatis, et commendet Deo velut sacrificium pingue consummata eorum devotionis obsequia.

[2] Each person who undertakes these weeks is engaged in this service until Sunday supper. Once that is over, the whole week’s service is concluded as follows. When the brothers gather as a group to sing the psalms they usually chant before going to their rest, those whose places are to be taken wash everyone’s feet in order, thereby confidently seeking from them the reward of a blessing for their whole week’s labor – namely, that the prayer that is uttered by all the brothers together may accompany them as they fulfill the mandate of Christ. It is this that intercedes for acts of ignorance and sins committed from human frailty and that which commends to God, as if they were ‘a rich sacrifice,’ their now completed duties of devotion.

[3] Et ita secunda sabbati post matutinos hymnos aliis rursum succedentibus utensilia in quibus ministraverant ac vasa consignant: quae tanta sollicitudine curaque suscipientes custodiunt, ne quid ex eis imminuatur vel pereat, ut credant se etiam pro minimis quibusque vasibus tamquam pro sacrosanctis rationem non solum dispensatori praesenti, sed etiam Domino reddituros, si forte aliquid ex eis negligentia eorum fuerit imminutum. Cujus disciplinae qui modus sit vel quanta fide et cautione servetur, uno testimonio, quod exempli gratia ponam, poteritis agnoscere. Sicut enim studemus satisfacere vestro fervori, quo plenam universorum cognitionem desiderantes etiam ea quae optime nostis hoc libello vobis cupitis iterari ita veremur mensuram brevitatis excedere.

[3] And so on the second Saturday, after the morning hymns, they hand over to the others who are taking their places the utensils and vessels with which they have served. Those receiving them take such good care of them, lest any of them be damaged or get lost, that they treat the least significant vessels as if they were sacrosanct and hold themselves responsible not only to the steward of the time but to the Lord himself if perchance any of them comes to harm through their negligence. You will be able to see what sort of discipline is at issue here and how faithfully and carefully it is observed by way of one testimony, which I shall use as an example. For just as we are anxious to satisfy that fervor of yours which, as a result of your desire for complete knowledge of all these things, seeks the reiteration in this little book of what you already know very well, so likewise we fear to exceed the measure of brevity.

[Ch. 20] In septimana cujusdam fratris cum praeteriens oeconomus tria lenticulae grana vidisset jacere in terra, quae ebdomadario festinanti, dum eam praeparat coctioni, inter manus cum aqua qua diluebantur elapsa sunt, confestim super hoc abbatem consuluit, a quo velut interversor neglectorque sacri peculii judicatus ab oratione suspensus est. Cujus negligentiae reatus non aliter ei remissus est, nisi eum publica poenitentia diluisset. Non solum enim seipsos non esse suos, sed etiam omnia quae sua sunt credunt Domino consecrata. Propter quod si quid fuerit in monasterio semel inlatum, ut sacrosanctum cum omni decernunt reverentia debere tractari, tantaque fide universa procurant atque dispensant, ut etiam ea quae despectui habentur parvaque reputantur ac vilia, si vel loco moverint vel competentius conlocaverint, si gillonem aqua impleverint, si ex eo cuiquam obtulerint ad bibendum, si tenuem fistucam de oratorio cellave submoverint, mercedem se consecuturos a Domino tota credulitate confidant.

[Ch. 20] During the week of a certain brother, as the bursar was going about, he noticed three lentils lying on the ground. They had slipped out of the hands of the weekly server, along with the water in which they were soaking, as he was hastening to prepare them for cooking. He at once consulted the abba on this matter, and he judged him a pilferer and a waster of sacred goods and suspended him from prayer. This crime of negligence was not forgiven him until he had absolved it by an act of public repentance. For they believe that not only they themselves are not their own but that everything that is theirs as been consecrated to the Lord. Hence whatever has once been brought into the monastery must, in their judgment, be treated with all respect as sacrosanct. With such great faith do their care for and dispose of everything, even things that are looked down upon and considered paltry and unimportant, that they have complete confidence that they will obtain a reward from the Lord if they move something or arrange it more advantageously, if they fill a vessel with water or offer it to someone for a drink or if they remove a bit of straw from the oratory or their cells.

[Ch. 21] Novimus fratres, in quorum septimana, cum accidisset tanta lignorum penuria, ut non esset penitus unde soliti cibi fratribus pararentur, et donec possent coempta deferri, ut xerofagia, contenti essent abbatis fuisset auctoritate praeceptum, essetque hoc universis placitum nec quisquam posset ullum coctionis sperare pulmentum, illos, velut qui fructu ac mercede sui laboris et obsequii fraudarentur, si in ordine vicis suae cibos fratribus non secundum consuetudinem paravissent, tantum sibi spontanei operis ac sollicitudinis indixisse, ut in illis aridis ac sterilibus locis, in quibus ligna, nisi de fructiferis arboribus excidantur, omnimodis nequeunt inveniri – nec enim ut apud nos ulla reperiuntur fruteta silvestria – per extenta avia discurrentes, et heremum, quae versus mare mortuum tenditur, obeuntes feistucas tenues ac spinulas, quas ventus huc illucque disperserat, suo sinu et gremiis colligentes cunctam sollemnitatem ciborum spontaneis obsequiis praepararent, ita ut de solita praebitione nihil paterentur imminui, tanta fide haec sua munia fratribus exhibentes, ut etiam cum illos honeste posset vel lignorum excusare penuria vel abbatis imperium, pro fructu suo atque mercede noluerint hac abuti licentia.

[Ch. 21] We know of brothers during whose week there was such a scarcity of wood that there was no way at all for them to prepare the customary meal for the brothers. Until some could be purchased and brought in, it was commended, by the abba’s authority, that they should make do with dry food. This was acceptable to everyone, and no one expected any cooked food. But those men, feeling defrauded of the fruit and reward of their labor and responsibility if they could not prepare food for their brothers according to custom when it was their turn, imposed upon themselves a consuming voluntary effort: in those dry and barren places in which no wood whatsoever can be found unless it is cut from fruit trees (for there are no shrub groves such as we have), they ran about all through the wilderness and traversed the desert, which stretches toward the Dead Sea, collecting in the folds of their garments and in their bosoms bits of straw and thorns that the wind had scattered here and there. This by their own doing they were able to prepare all the accustomed food, and they allowed nothing to be missing from the usual provisions. With such great faith did they offered these services of theirs to their brothers that, even though the sacristy of wood and the abba’s command could have been a genuine excuse for them, they were unwilling, because of the fruit and the reward attached to them, to take advantage of that liberty.

[Ch. 22] Haec dicta sint secundum typum ut praefati sumus, totius Orientis, quem etiam in partibus nostris necessario dicimus debere servari. Caeterum apud Aegyptios, quibus maxima cura est operis, non est ebdomadarum mutua vicissitudo, ne sub occasione hujus officii omnes ab operis canone impediantur, sed uni probatissimo fratrum cellarii vel coquinae cura committitur, qui perpetuo donec virtus ejus, vel aetas admittit, jugiter opus istud exerceat. Non enim magno labore corporis fatigatur, quia nec tanta cura inter eos parandorum ciborum vel coctionis impenditur, quippe qui maxime xerofagiis vel omofagiis utuntur, et apud quos secta singulis mensibus porrorum folia, lapsania, sal frictum, olivae, pisciculi minuti saliti, quos illi maenidia vocant], summa voluptas est. [Cassian, Institutiones IV, c. 19-22, text inserted from ed. Jean-Claude Guy, SC 109, pp. 146-152]

[Ch. 22] As we remarked previously, this is in keeping with the way of doing things throughout the Orient, which we say must also be observed in our region. But among the Egyptians, who are very concerned about their work, there is no weekly taking of turns, lest as a result of this activity anyone be hindered from obligatory work. Instead, the responsibility for provisions and for cooking is committed to a very trustworthy brother, who continues to carry out this task with regularity so long as his strength and his age permit. For he is not worn out with any great bodily labor inasmuch as they do not devote much care to preparing and cooking their food since they mostly make use of dry and uncooked food, and the leaves of leeks that are cut every month, charlock, granulated salt, olives, and tiny salted fish, which they call maenomenia, are their highest pleasure. [John Cassian, Institutiones IV, ch. 19-22, transl. Boniface Ramsey, Ancient Christian Writers 58, New York/Mahwah NJ 2000, pp. 87-90].

1. excusatum (?). (Mittermueller)
2. orituram (?). (Mittermueller)
3. Hildemar omits Regula Benedicti, c. 35.5-6: vel si qui, ut diximus, maioribus utilitatibus occupantur; ceteri sibi sub caritate invicem serviant
4. fugiendo, (?) fugientes (?). (Mittermueller)
5. in unius diei spatio (?). (Mittermueller)
6. A commentary to Regula Benedicti, c. 35.15: Internates et exeuntes hebdomadarii in oratorio mux matutinis finitis dominica is missing.
7. habent (?). (Mittermueller)
8. ailjuvisti (?). (Mittermueller)

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