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[Ms P, fol. 104vPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 92v; Ms E1, fol. 128v; Ms E2, fol. 200r]

Ch. 36

Translated by: Bruce Venarde

1Infirmorum cura ante omnia et super omnia adhibenda est, ut sicut revera Christo, ita eis serviatur, 2quia ipse dixit: Infirmus fui et visitastis me [Mt 25:35] 3et: quod fecistis uni de his minimis meis, mihi fecistis. [Mt 25:40]

1Care should be taken for the sick before all and above all, so that they should be served as indeed Christ would be, 2because he himself said, I was sick and you visited me [Mt 25:36] 3and what you did for one of these my little ones, you did for me. [Mt 25:40]

Egregium ordinem tenuit in hoc loco S. Benedictus in eo, quod, cum dixit de sanorum coquinae officio deputatis [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 35], [et] subjunxit statim de servitio infirmorum deputatis. In illa enim dixit per hebdomadas singulas qualiter sint, et non elegit quosdam, sed omnes [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 31]. In hoc capitulo elegit servitorem, qui timens Deum sit et diligens.

St. Benedict keeps to excellent order here in that when he spoke concerning those assigned duty in the kitchen of the healthy [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 35], he immediately added commentary concerning those assigned to the service of the sick. Concerning the former, he said how each monk should serve for a week and did not choose certain individuals, but all, for this service [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 31]. In the present chapter, he chooses a server who is God-fearing and attentive.

Quaeri potest, quare dicit ante omnia, cum jam superius ita dicit ante omnia ne, murmurationis malum et cet. [Regula Benedicti, c. 34.6] Et similiter non debet videri ambiguum, quia mos est scripturae dicere ante omnia, eo quod ejus intentio est ita dicere ante omnia de una re facienda, et iterum dicere ante omnia, eo quod ejus intentio est ita dicere, quatenus illud, quod dicit agi, nullo modo oblivioni tradatur.

It might be asked why Benedict says before all, when just a little earlier he said before all, the evil of grumbling etc. [Regula Benedicti, c. 34.6] Similarly, it should not seem doubtful, because it is the way of writing to say before all because its purpose is to say it concerning a thing that must be done, and then to say before all again, because its purpose is to say insofar as the thing which it says is [to be] done can in no way be forgotten.

Sed sciendum est, quia in aliis locis inferius dicturus est: ante omnia sane deputentur, unus vel duo seniores, qui circumeant monasterium. [Regula Benedicti, c. 48.17]

But it should be known that in other places below Benedict willsay, Above all, one or two senior monks should be assigned to go around the monastery. [Regula Benedicti, c. 48.17]

Quamquam dicat S. Benedictus ante omnia, tamen in nullo loco dixit super omnia, sicut hic dixit, eo quod nulla res ita agenda est, cum tanto studio, quomodo obsequium infirmorum. Nec etiam ipsa ecclesia agenda est cum tanto studio, quanto domus infirmorum.

Although St. Benedict may say before all [elsewhere], yet in no place did he say above all as he says it here, because no task is to be done with such zeal as service to the sick. Not even the church itself is to be cared for with such zeal as the house for the sick.

Reddit enim causam, quare, cum subjunxit: quia ipse dixit: Infirmus fui et visitastis me. Sciendum est, quia ante omnia attinet ad tempus, super omnia ad studium.

He shows the reason why when he adds, because he himself said, I was sick and you visited me. It should be understood that before all pertains to time, above all to zeal.

Sed de quibus minimis vel pauperibus Dominus dicat, cum dicit: Quod uni de his minimis meis fecistis, mihi fecistis, B. Hieronymus exponit dicens: Amen dico vobis, quamdiu non fecistis [page 404] uni de minoribus his, nec mihi fecistis. [Mt 25:36] Libera nobis erat intelligentia, quod in omni paupere Christus esuriens pasceretur, sitiens potaretur, hospes induceretur in tectum, nudus vestiretur, infirmus visitaretur, clausus carcere haberet solatium colloquentis.

But what the Lord said concerning certain little and poor people when he says, What you did for one of these my little ones, you did for me, St. Jerome explains saying, Amen I say to you, as long as you did not do this [page 404] for one of my little ones, you did not do it for me. [Mt 25:36] The meaning was clear to us that in every pauper, a hungry Christ is fed, a thirsty one is given drink, a guest is brought in under a roof, a naked one is clothed, a sick one is visited, an imprisoned one has the comfort of conversation.

Sed ex hoc, quod sequitur: 'Quamdiu fecistis uni de his fratribus meis minimis, mihi fecistis [Mt 25:40], non mihi videtur generaliter dixisse de pauperibus, sed de his, qui pauperes spiritu sunt, ad quos tendens manum dixerat: 'Fratres mei et mater mea hi sunt, qui faciunt voluntatem Patris mei. [Mt 12:50]'[Jerome, Commentarium in Mattheum IV (25:40), CCSL 77, p. 244]

But concerning this which follows, 'As long as you did this for one of my little brothers, you did it for me [Matt. 25:40], he does not seem to me to have spoken of the poor in general, but of those who are poor in spirit, reaching out a hand to whom he had said, 'They are my brothers and my mother who do the will of my father. [Mt 12:50]' [Jerome, Commentarium in Mattheum IV (25:40)]

In hac vero sententia admonet B. Benedictus generaliter principes et subjectos, maxime tamen subjectos. Ait enim: Ante omnia et super omnia infirmorum cura adhibenda est.

In this sentence St. Benedict admonishes princes and subjects generally, but especially subjects. For he says, Care should be taken for the sick before all and above all.

Attendendum est: cum non reperitur in regula, ita conjunctum dixisse, sed solummodo aut ante omnia, aut super omnia, hic vero conjunctim dicitur ante omnia et super omnia, datur de infirmorum cura intelligi, ut ante omnia debet esse et major quam omnia, quia in his duobus maxime continetur regula, i. e. in custodia infantum et in cura infirmorum.

Take note: although it is not found in the Rule, he had said they are a compound proposition, but only either before all or above all; here it is said jointly, before all and above all, concerning care for the sick it is to be understood that it must be before all and greater than all, because in precisely these two matters it is in the Rule, that is, concerning watching over children and care for the sick.1

Nam possunt esse ante omnia et non super omnia, et super omnia possunt esse et non ante omnia. Et possunt etiam esse ante omnia, eo quod possunt alii incipere aliquid operis, et tamen intermittitur illud opus inprimis coeptum et incipit aliud et perficitur. Illud vero quod in primis coeptum est, perficitur postea aut certe non perficitur.

For they can be before all things and not above all things and vice versa. And they can even be before all things, because others can begin a task, and yet that work begun first is interrupted and another begun and finished. But that which is begun first is finished afterward or else is it not finished. 

Et possunt esse super omnia et non ante omnia, v. gr. sicut diximus superius. Et iterum, sicut diximus, possunt esse super omnia et ante omnia; v. gr. incipit aliquid operis homo agere et [tamen] non incipit aliud agere, quam1 illud primum perficiat, eo quod plus quam omnia diligitur.

And things can be above all and not before all, for example as we said above. And again, just as we said, things can be above all and before all, for example, a man begins to perform a task and yet does not begin another before he finishes the first, because he loves it more than all things.

Per hoc quod dicit duo, i. e. ante omnia et super omnia, vult S. Benedictus, ut antequam cetera, cura infirmorum fiat, et super omnia, i. e. cum majore dilectione et diligentia atque studio, quam cetera. Istud [page 405] ante omnia et super omnia attinet ad domum, ad focum, ad victum atque potum et cibum et omnia necessaria infirmorum.

Through this pair of things he says, that is, before all and above all, St. Benedict wants it to be that before all other things, there should be care for the sick, and above all, that is, with greater love and attentiveness and zeal than other things. This [page 405] before all and above all applies to house, hearth, sustenance, and to food and drink and all things the sick require.

Voluit enim B. Benedictus similitudinem donare, cui serviat, ut firmius confirmetur. Propterea subjunxit dicens: si revera Christo ita eis serviatur.

For St. Benedict wants to make an analogy: one may serve someone, so that he may be more firmly strengthened. Therefore he adds, as if in fact they should be served as Christ would be.

Revera: re certa; est enim affirmativa sententia.

In fact [revera]: a certain thing [re certa], for it is a positive assertion.

Quasi interrogasses: 'Unde scio, quia Christo servio, si infirmis serviero?' [et] quasi respondens dicit: quia ipse dixit: Infirmus fui et visitastis me et quod uni de his minimis meis fecistis, mihi fecistis.

It is as if you asked, 'How do I know that I serve Christ if I serve the sick?' and he replied, because he himself said, I was sick and you visited me and what you did for one of these my little ones, you did for me.

Cum dixit ipse dixit, subaudiendum est, dicturum se esse in futuro judicio.

When Benedict said, He himself said, it should be understood that he will say that he is in future judgment.

Inspiciendum est: si Christo servit, qui infirmis servit, ergo cum magna diligentia atque studio serviendum est infirmis. Nam si Christus fuisset nunc in carne sicut in tempore apostolorum fuit, qualem illi domum praeparassemus vel quale obsequium illi praebuissemus? Ergo si Christo servimus, si infirmis servierimus, magna sollicitudine illis infirmis serviendum est.

It should be remarked that if one who serves the sick serves Christ, therefore the sick must be served with great attentiveness and zeal. For if Christ were now in the flesh as in the times of the apostles, what kind of house would be prepared for him and what service would we offer him? Therefore if we who serve the sick serve Christ, these sick ones must be served with great care.

Sequitur: 4Sed et ipsi infirmi considerent, in honore Dei sibi serviri, et non superfluitate sua contristent fratres suos servientes sibi.

Next: 4But the sick brothers themselves should also be mindful that they are served in God's honor, and not upset the brothers serving them with excessive demands.

Hactenus B. Benedictus admonuit praelatos, qualiter curam gerant erga infirmos fratres; nunc admonet infirmos fraters, ut non pro superfluitate sua, i. e. per inconditos mores fratres suos sibi servientes contristent, ut frater, qui illis pro amore Dei vult servire, illorum malis moribus facientibus provocetur ad iracundiam.

To this point, Benedict tells authorities [prelatos] how care should be given to sick brothers; now he warns the sick brothers that they not upset the brothers serving them with excessive demands, that is, unaccustomed ways, lest a brother who wants to serve them in God's honor be provoked to anger by their wicked ways.

Sequitur: 5qui tamen patienter portandi sunt.

Next: 5However, they are to be born patiently.

Usque nunc B. Benedictus admonuit infirmos, ut non per suos malos mores contristent servientes sibi; nunc vero admonet iterum servientes dicens: qui tamen patienter portandi sunt - ac si diceret aliis verbis: quamquam illi infirmi iracundia aut aliqua causa sint furibundi, tamen patienter portandi sunt - quasi diceret: Forte non sponte faciunt, nam sunt multae infirmitates, quae homines iracundos faciunt. Reddit causam, quare, cum subjungit: 5quia de talibus copiosior merces acquiritur.

Up to here, St. Benedict warns the sick that they should not upset the brothers serving them with wicked ways, but now he warns those serving again, saying, However, they are to be born patiently, as if to say in different words: although the sick may be frenzied with anger or for some other reason, nevertheless they are to be born patiently. He says, in effect, perhaps they do not do so willfully, for there are many illnesses that throw men into a rage. He shows the reason why when he adds, 5because greater reward is earned from such as them.

Sequitur: 6Ergo cum maxima sit abbati, ne aliquam negligentiam patiantur.

Next: 6Therefore, the abbot should take the greatest care that they not suffer any neglect.

Iterum admonet abbatem, ut magnopore [page 406] studeat agere, ne aliquam negligentiam patiantur - subaudiendum est: ipsi infirmi.

Again he cautions the abbot to be very eager [page 406] to act so they not suffer any neglect – by which should be understood, the sick brothers themselves.

Nam sunt tales, qui sunt servi Dei et multis annis laborant in servitio Dei. Deinde rectius est, ut isti tales non negligantur in infirmitate sua, ut nec per iram aut murmurationem perdant suum laborem, si in fine vitae effecti fuerint murmuratores.

For they are the sort of people who are God's servants and labor for many years in God's service. Therefore it is right that such people are not neglected in their frailty, lest through anger or grumbling they lose [the reward of] their labor by being made grumblers at the end of life.

Ergo cura maxima sit abbati, ne aliquam negligentiam patiantur.

Therefore the abbot should take the greatest care that they not suffer any neglect.

Istud ergo superius respitit, i. e. ubi dicit: ut sicut revera Christo, ita eis serviatur, et ubi dicit: qui tamen patienter portandi sunt - ac si diceret: si ita est, ergo maxima cura debet esse abbati, ne aliquam negligentiam patiantur.

This therefore refers to what is above, that is, where he says, As if in fact they should be served as Christ would be and when he says, However, they are to be born patiently. It is as if he said, so it is, therefore the abbot must take the greatest care that they not suffer any neglect.

Sequitur: 7Quibus fratribus infirmis sit cella super se deputata et servitor timens Deum et diligens ac sollicitus.

Next: 7There should be a separate room designated for sick brothers and a God-fearing, attentive, and caring server.

Cella, quam dicit, non dicit de una mansione, sed de claustra dicit.

The dwelling he mentions is not one room but part of the monastery.

Quomodo enim possunt esse simul in una mansione quatuor fratres, cum unus moritur ex illis, alter vero vomit, tertius vult manducare, quartus etiam sedet ad exitum? Absque dubio, cum ita sint, non sufficit unum cubiculum omnibus, quia non sibi convenit ille, qui manducat, cum illo, qui in sua praesentia vomit, et cum illo, qui sedet ad exitum aut etiam cum illo, qui moritur.

How can there be four brothers together in one place, when one of them is dying, another is vomiting, the third wants to eat, and the fourth sits waiting to leave? Doubtless, since things can be like this, one bedroom is not enough for all, since it is not suitable for one who is eating to be with one vomiting in his presence, or for one waiting to leave to be with one who is dying.

Ergo cum ita, sint, necessariae sunt diversae mansiones pro diversis et variis iufirmitatibus. Et ideo cum S. Benedictus dicit: sit cella super se deputata, non est intelligenda de una tantummodo mansione, sed de claustra, sicut diximus, h. e. domo, ubi diversae sint mansiones, quatenus, qui manducat, sine fastidio sit vomentis aut ad exitum sedentis vel etiam morientis.

Therefore, since things can be like this, several different rooms for different illnesses are needed. And therefore when St. Benedict says, There should be a separate room, this is not to be interpreted as meaning one room, but part of the monastery as we said, that is, of the house, where there are different rooms so that one who is eating can do so without disgust at the one vomiting, or the one waiting to leave can avoid the one dying.

Quae domus infirmorum oratorium debet prope habere, in quo infirmi missam saltem jacendo possint audire et communionem accipere.

This house of the sick should have its own oratory, in which the sick can hear Mass and accept communion lying down.

Ante infirmos enim semper omnia officia canenda sunt, qui etiam, si sex infirmi fuerint, lectorem debent habere, eo quod regula dicit mensis fratrum edentium lectio deesse non debet [Regula Benedicti, c. 38.1]; non enim dicit sanorum, sed fratrum, ac per hoc cum dicit mensis fratrum, omnes comprehendit, i. e. sanos et infirmos, si ipsi infirmi sicut diximus, plures sint.

All the offices should always be sung in the presence of the sick, and if there are six of them, they should have a reader, because the Rule says, Reading should not be absent from the brothers' tables [Regula Benedicti, c. 38.1]. He does not say healthy brothers, only brothers, and thereby when he says the brothers' tables, he includes everyone, that is, the sick and the well – if the sick are numerous, as we said above.

Quam cellam debet abbas facere [page 407] talem, ubi et ipse in infirmitate sua jaceat, quatenus et hospitibus et ad se venientibus possit loqui, si tanta necessitas fuerit, sine impedimento infirmorum, et cum ipsis infirmis, qui jam de lecto possunt surgere, manducare valeat.

The abbot should design the infirmary [page 407] in such a way that when he himself lies ill, he is able to speak to guests and those who come to him, if there is such a need, without inconvenience for the sick brothers, and so that he can eat with the ones who can already get out of bed.

Nihil enim B. Benedictus plus potuit dicere de infirmis, quam dixit: ante omnia et super omnia cura infirmorum adhibenda est, et sicut revera Christo ita eis serviatur.

St. Benedict could not say more concerning the sick than when he declared, Before all and above all care should be taken for the sick, so that they be served as indeed Christ would be.

Ergo si sicut Christo debet infirmis serviri, tunc magnopere studendum est, ut nullo modo in aliqua causa negligantur.

Therefore there must be great care take for the sick to served as Christ ought to be, so that in no way are they neglected.

Sequitur: 7et servitor timens Deum et diligens ac sollicitus.

Next: 7and a God-fearing, attentive, and caring server.

Istum enim timorem non dicit servilem sed castum, eo quod servilis timor non convenit huic, quod dicitur diligens - ac si diceret, cum dicit timens Deum ac diligens intelligitur: amans Deum et diligens.

He did not mean a servile fear but a pious one, because a servile fear is not suited to one called attentive, and if he had said it, it would be understood to mean God-fearing and attentive to God: loving God and attentive.

In isto enim sollicito tria inspicienda sunt, i. e. sapientia, possibilitas seu zelus proximi; sapientia, ut sapiens sit, quatenus intelligat, quam caute et sapienter infirmis valeat servire, ne ipsi infirmi pro sua incautela ad iracundiam provocentur; possibilitas autem, ut fortis robore sit, quatenus valeat infirmum de lecto levare, et ubi infirmus voluerit, eum portare. Zelus etiam debet esse in illo, i. e. amor proximi, quatenus amando infirmum ei diligenter pro amore Dei studiose deserviat.

In the word caring there are three things to be understood: wisdom, strength, and zeal for neighbor. Wisdom, so that he be wise and able to know how to serve the sick carefully and wisely, lest the sick brothers are provoked to wrath by his insouciance; strength, so that he is sturdy in vigor and therefore able to lift a patient from his bed and carry him wherever he wants to go; he should also have zeal, that is, love of neighbor, in order that by loving the sick he will serve him more enthusiastically for the love of God.

Attendendum est, quia S. Benedictus, cum dicit servitor non dicit, ut canonicus aut laicus sit, sed monachus. Non enim ille legem laicis aut canonicis constituit, sed monachis.

It should be noted that St. Benedict, when he says server, does not say that he can be a canon or a layman, but a monk. He was not laying down the law for canons and laypeople, but for monks.

Vide modo, quomodo potest manus vel pes aut oculus corpori servire, si non fuerit in corpore? et ita quomodo potest canonicus aut laicus, qui non est membrum monasterii, monacho, i. e. alieno membro servire?

Look, now: how can a hand or a foot or an eye serve the body, if it is not of that body? And thus, how can a canon or layman, who is not a member of the monastery, serve a monk, that is, a foreign body?

Verum si necessitas fuerit, ut vestimenta infirmorum propter immunditiam, sicut solet infirmo contingere, lavanda sint, potest laicus vel canonicus lavare vestimenta sordida.

But if it is necessary that the clothing of the sick must be washed on account of filthiness – as often happens with the sick – a layperson or canon can washed the soiled clothing.

Similiter si necesse fuerit, carnes afferri, laicus vel canonicus afferre debent.

Likewise, if it is necessary that meat be brought in, a layman or canon must do so.

Sequitur: 8Balnearum usus, quoties expedit, offeratur; sanis autem et maxime juvenibus tardius concedatur.

Next: 8Use of baths should be offered to the sick as often as expedient, but less readily to the healthy and especially the young.

Hoc enim notandum est, quia tres distinctiones facit in hoc [page 408] loco B. Benedictus de usu balnearum; prima infirmorum, secunda sanorum, tertia juvenum. Quod enim dicit: infirmis, quoties expedit, offeratur, intelligi debet, etiam si duabus vicibus in die vel certe tota die, si necessitas fuerit, debet balneum praeparari, veluti illi, qui patitur istum dolorem.

This should be noted: St. Benedict makes three distinctions [page 408] concerning use of baths here: first concerning the sick, secondly the healthy, and thirdly the young. Because he says, to the sick as often as expedient, should be offered it must be understood that twice or even three times daily, a bath should be readied for those who suffer pain.2

De sanis autem et de juvenibus duobus modis intelligitur: aut generaliter dicit: omnibus praeparari debeant, sed tardius.

What is said concerning the healthy and youths has two meanings. He says in general that baths should be prepared for all, but less readily.

Alii sunt, qui istud tardius tribus vicibus in anno intelligunt debere fieri praeparata, i. e. in Nativitate Domini, in Pascha atque Pentecosten. Alii sunt, qui intelligunt duabus vicibus, i. e. in Nativitate Domini et in Pascha, quod rectius est.

There are some who think that this less readily refers to baths prepared three times a year, that is, at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Others understand it as meaning twice a year, that is, at Christmas and Easter, which is more correct.

Alio enim modo intelligitur: sanis et maxime juvenibus tardius concedatur; forte enim non generaliter dixit, sed de illis, qui propter laborem aliquem, i. e. cum casam aedificant aut aliquid laborant, unde inquinantur, istis talibus praeparandum est balneum, sed tamen tardius.

It can be understood in still another way: a bath should be allowed to the healthy and especially the young less readily. Perhaps he did not speak generally, but of those who on account of some duty, for instance if they construct a building or labor in some other way that makes them dirty, for such men a bath is to be prepared, yet less readily.

Similiter etiam de juvenibus intelligeudum est, sed tamen plus tardius illis debet praeparari, quam ceteris aliis, qui sani videntur esse.

It is to be understood likewise concerning youths, but nevertheless a bath should be prepared for them less readily than for all others who appear healthy.

Verumtamen illis specialiter, qui per aliquod opus se inquinant, frequentius balneum debet praeparari quam illis, qui nulla opera manuum se exercere student.

Nevertheless, a bath should be prepared more frequently for those who in particular get dirty by working than for those who do not zealously exert themselves in manual labor.

Nunc videndum est de quo balneo dicat sanis praeparari praeter infirmorum balneum, quia illis sicut necessitas infirmitatis exposcit, et quando exposcit, debet praeparari.

Now it is to be seen concerning this bath he says it should be prepared for the healthy in addition to that for the sick, since just as the necessity of illness demands, necessity demands it for them [the manual laborers] and when there is a demand, a bath should be prepared for them.

Nam sanorum et juvenum balneum intelligendum est tale, ubi unus tantum balneari queat, sicuti est tina, ubi non possit ab aliis plenius videri; et ita etiam ordinari debet, ut per omnia nudus non possit videri.

A bath for the healthy and youths is to be understood this way: in a place were only one may bathe, as if he is in a tub, where he cannot be plainly seen by others, and it should be arranged so that in all cases he cannot be seen naked.

Forte dicit aliquis, quare non sit et petrinum balneum, ubi tres vel duo aut etiam quatuor balneari possint. Cui respondendum est: eo quod ille propter cautionem nefandissimi sceleris praecipit, solum jacere et custodiam esse, [et] ideo non est ratio, ut intelligamus S. Benedictum praecepisse, duos vel tres in simul lavari, in quo loco illius sceleris nefandissimi occasio potest esse.

Perhaps someone asks why there cannot be a stone tub, where three or two or even four can be bathed. The response should be that because he instructs, on account of precaution against very wicked sin, that monks lie alone and be on watch.3 Therefore there is no reason, as we understand St. Benedict to have instructed, for two or three to be washed together, in which situation there could be the opportunity for very wicked sin.

Nihil enim adjuvat, sicut dicit B. Gregorius, totam civitatem esse munitam et unum foramen habere, unde hostis intret [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob XIX, c. 21.33, CCSL 143A, p. 983]; ita et haec ratio nihil adjuvat, [page 409] toto anno custodire die et nocte, et uno die dare occasionem peccandi.

It does no good, as St. Gregory says, for a whole city to be fortified and have one opening through which the enemy might enter. [cf. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob XIX, c. 21.33]. So it is that this plan does no good: [page 409] to keep watch the whole year, day and night, and on one day offer the opportunity of sinning.

Nec enim ipsa religio monachorum docet vel permittit, absque necessitate nudum videri. Verum illum balneum intelligi ratio exposcit, in quo solummodo unus lavari queat.

For the religious life of monks itself teaches and permits that one not be seen naked unless necessary. But reason demands that the bath be understood as the place in which only one may be washed.

Et hoc notandum est, quia, sicut diximus, si abbas infirmus fuerit, in domo infirmorum debet jacere.

And this should be noted: as we said above, if the abbot is ill, he must lie in the infirmary.

Si autem talis fuerit perpetua infirmitas, debet habere caminatam juxta domum infirmorum, ne pro sua dispositione impedimentum infirmis generetur. Si autem potuerit ambulare, debet manducare in domo infirmorum; quod si non potuerit ipse ire, tunc infirmi debent ad eum venire et cum illo manducare.

Moreover, if this illness is ongoing, he must have a room next to the infirmary, lest by his arrangements an obstacle for the sick is created. If he can walk, he should eat in the infirmary; if not, the sick should come to him and eat with him.

Sequitur: 9sed et carnium esus infirmis omnino debilibusque pro reparatione concedantur.

Next: 9But also the consumption of meat should be allowed to the gravely ill for the sake of their recovery.

Sciendum est enim, quia non sunt attendenda verba, sed intentio. Ecce hic si verba solummodo velimus attendere, non aliis videtur S. Benedictus infirmis esus carnium concessisse, nisi illis, qui meliorari videntur. Quid faciendum est de illis infirmis, qui jam desperati sunt non vivere, sed mori, et non possunt alium cibum comedere nisi forte carnes quadrupedum?

It should be known that these are not words to be minded, but an intention. Look: if we want only to mind the words, St. Benedict would seem to have allowed eating meat only to those who seem to be improving. What is to be done concerning those sick brothers whose life is already despaired of, and cannot eat any other food except perhaps the flesh of quadrupeds?

Numquid negandae sunt illis carnes quadrupedum pro sustentatione vitae? Vere non sunt negandae, quia si S. Benedicti intentionem attenderimus, non est fas intelligere, solummodo concessisse illis comedere, quibus necessitas existit pro reparatione vitae, sed et similiter illis concessisse, carnes quadrupedum etiam pro sustentatione vitae edere.

Should the flesh of quadrupeds to sustain life be denied them? Truly they should not be denied, because if we mind St. Benedict's intention, there is no harm in understanding that he simply allowed consumption of the flesh of quadrupeds to those for whom it is a necessity for recovering health, but likewise he allowed its consumption for those sustaining life.

Nunc videndum est, si debeant sani monachi carnes volatilium comedere.

Now it is to be seen, if healthy monks ought to eat the flesh of fowl.

Haec ratio conquirendo melius investigari potest; v. gr. dicis tu: Cur dicis mihi, ut abstineam a volatilium carnibus, cum S. Benedictus in sua regula non vetuit carnes volatilium comedere, sed solummodo quadrupedum?' Ego tibi respondeo: 'quia non debes volatilium comedere carnes eo quod vetuit.' Tu dicis: 'Proba mihi, ubi S. Benedictes vetuit.' 'Vis scire?' Tu dicis: 'Volo.'

This line of questioning can better be pursued thus:4 'So,' you say, 'why do you say to me that I should abstain from the flesh of fowl, when St. Benedict in his Rule did not forbid the eating of the flesh of fowl, but only of quadrupeds?' I reply to you that you cannot eat the flesh of birds because he forbids it. You say, 'Show me where St. Benedict forbids.' 'You want to know?'  You say that you do.

Audi rationem attentius. Constat enim, in volatilibus carnes dulciores esse, quam in quadrupedibus. Jam si ille carnes quadrupedum tibi vetuit, in quibus minor dulcedo est, quanto magis [page 410] vetuit tibi volatilium carnes, in quibus major dulcedo est?

Listen very carefully to the reasoning. It is agreed that the flesh of fowl is sweeter than that of quadrupeds. So if he forbids the flesh of quadrupeds, in which there is less sweetness, how much more [page 410] did he forbid you the flesh of birds, in which there is more sweetness?

Tu dicis: 'Unde cognoscis, quia per illam minorem dulcedinem carnium quadrupedum vetuisset tibi etiam majorem dulcedinem carnium volatilium? Ego tibi dico: quia mos est sanctorum doctorum, in minore comprehendere majorem, sicut legitur dixisse Dominus ad Jerusalem: Haec fuit iniquitas sororis tuae Sodomae, quia panem suum in saturitate comedit. [cf. Ez 16:49]

You say, 'How do you know that through the lesser sweetness of the flesh of quadrupeds he has also forbidden you the greater sweetness of the flesh of fowl?' I say to you that it is the custom of the Church Doctors to understand the greater in the lesser, just as the Lord is read to have said to Jerusalem, This was the sin of your sister Sodom, that she ate bread in excess. [cf. Ez 16:49]

Ecce per panem intelliguntur diversitates epularum. Et quod ita sit, manifestatur in illo loco, ubi dicitur: Vidit Loth Sodomam quasi paradisum. [cf. Gn 13:10]

By bread we should understand a great array of foods. That it is so is clear in the place where it says Lot saw Sodom as paradise [cf. Gn 13:10].

Si Sodoma quasi paradisus erat, ergo non est consequens, ut solummodo illos intelligamus panem manducasse sine aliis deliciis. Item habes, ubi dicitur de Laban: Et appositus est panis [Gn 24:33]. Numquid solummodo panis est appositus sine aliquo pulmento? Non.

If Sodom was like paradise, then it does not follow that we should understand them to have eaten bread without other delicacies. Again you have it where it is said of Laban, And bread was brought out [Gn 24:33]. Was only bread brought out, without any other dish? No.

$$$ Sed nunc ad superiorem sensum revertamur. Iterum dicis tu, quia non est verum, ut ita S. Benedictus in hoc loco fecisset, i. e. per carnes quadrupedum vetuisset et volatilium. Ego dico, quia, sicut dico, ita verum est.

But now let us go back to the meaning above. Again you say that it is not true that St. Benedict did so here, that is, by forbidding the flesh of quadrupeds did the same concerning fowl. I say that yes, as I said, that is true.

Ecce tu non potes probare, quia non est secutus S. Benedictus doctores, qui in minore comprehendunt majora, nec ego possum probare, quia secutus est, sed sumus dubii, i. e. non certi. Nunc autem incertus es tu, eo quod non potes probare, utrum S. Benedictus non est secutus doctores similiter et ego non possum probare, quia veraciter est secutus in isto modo sanctos doctores.

Behold: you cannot prove that St. Benedict did not follow the Doctors, who understand greater things in a lesser one, and I cannot prove that he followed them, but we are in doubt, that is, not certain. Now in fact you are uncertain because you cannot prove that Benedict did not follow the Doctors and I cannot prove that he truly followed them in this instance.

In ista dubietate mea, et tua eligendum est certum et dimittere incertum. Dic mihi, si S. Benedictus concessisset manducare carnem volatilium, et ego pro amore Dei noluissem manducare, esset peccatum annon? Tu respondes: 'Non,' quia ipse dixit: si omni vilitate et extremitate contentus sit monachus [Regula Benedicti, c. 7.49] et iterum: cui autem Deus dederit tolerantiam proprium, se mercedem habiturum sciat. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 40.4]

In my very doubt, and yours, the certain is to be chosen and the uncertain rejected. Tell me, if St. Benedict had allowed eating the flesh of fowl, and out of love for God I did not want to eat it, would it be a sin or not? You reply: 'No,' because he himself said, If a monk is content with everything shabby and poor [Regula Benedicti, c. 7.49] and To whom God has given endurance should know he will have his own reward [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 40.4].

Et iterum, si non concessisset carnes volatilium manducare, et ego manducassem, fuisset peccatum annon? Tu respondes: 'Peccatum.' Ergo et melius et ratio est, ut dimittamus hanc, incertitudinem et teneamus certitudinem. Si enim manducaverimus, nescimus, utrum sit peccatum annon.

And again, if he had not allowed eating the flesh of fowl, and I ate it, would it be a sin or not? You reply, 'It is a sin.' Therefore it is a better plan that we reject this uncertainty and hold to certainty. If we eat it, we do not know whether it is a sin or not.

Propterea igitur teneamus [page 411] certum et dimittamus incertum, eo quod omnio scimus, non esse peccatum, si non manducamus.

Therefore we should keep [page 411] to the certain and reject the uncertain because we know in general that it is not a sin if we do not eat it.

Sciendum est enim, quin, sunt multi monachi, qui dicunt: 'Debeo manducare pinguedinem, et utuntur in adjutorium illud, quod dicunt canones: Si quis jus carnium profanaverit, anathema sit.' Quibus respondendum est, quia ideo hoc dicunt canones propter illos, qui carnes abominentur.

It should be known, rather, that there are many monks who say, 'I must eat fat and use to advantage what the canons say: If anyone defiles the law of flesh, let him be anathema.'5 To them we must reply that they recite this rather than other canons that revile flesh.

Et ideo isti tales, ne abominentur carnes, debent manducare olera, ubi carnes coquuntur. Nam illi qui non abominantur carnes, sed causa continentiae student non manducare, non tenentur anathemate.

Therefore such monks, so that they do not revile flesh, must eat the herbs the meat is cooked in. Those who do not revile flesh, but for reason of abstinence are eager not to eat it, are not held in anathema.

Ergo si ita volunt illi intelligere, qui ita dicunt, ut jus , ubi carnes coquuntur, manducare abstinentes, qui non abominantur carnes, dicant, ut accipiant mulieres, eo quod in eodem concilio dicitur de conjugio, quod si quis profanaverit, anathema sit. De pinguedine vero scimus, quia caro quadrupedum est. Manifestum est, quia non est manducanda.

Therefore if they want to understand those who declare that it is right to eat cooked, the abstinent, who do not revile flesh, should say that they should take wives, because in the same council it was said concerned marriage that if anyone profane it, let him be anathema. For we know that 'richness' means 'the flesh of quadrupeds.' It is quite clear we should not eat it.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Non est caro quadrupedum in commoditate, sed flos.' Interrogabo te: 'Unde est ille flos?' Ille respondens dicit: 'de quadrupedibus.' Et ille: 'Ergo si quadrupedum est caro ipso flos, tunc non est manducanda.' Et iterum dicit aliquis: 'quia, pingue non est caro; nam si pingue caro est, ergo et caseus et lac caro est, eo quod de carne exit. Similiter ergo etiam et vinum et oleum ligna, sunt, quia de lignis exeunt.'

Perhaps someone will say that it is not the flesh of quadrupeds in due proportion, but a flower of it. I will ask you, 'Where does this flower come from?' He replies to you, saying, 'From quadrupeds.' And he says, 'Therefore if the flesh of quadrupeds is flower, the flesh should not be eaten.' And again someone says, 'Fat is not flesh, for if fat is flesh, therefore cheese and milk are flesh, because they come from flesh. Likewise, therefore, wine and oil are wood, because they come from trees.'

Cui etiam respondendum est: 'Lac et caseus non est caro, quamquam de carne exeant, eo quod caro non in lac vertitur, sed ipse cibus vertitur in lac Dei dispositione ad filios Christi nutriendum.

To whom we must reply that milk and cheese are not flesh, although they come from flesh, because flesh is not turned into milk, but food itself is turned into milk by God's arrangement for the feeding of the sons of Christ.

Oleum autem et vinum non est lignum, sed succus terrae, eo quod ipse succus terrae vertitur in oleum et vinum, sicut dicit B. Augustinus: quotidie Dominus aquam in vinum convertit, cum ipsum succum, qui ex terra nascitur, in vinum vertitur. Nam in veris tempore hoc manifestatur, cum incisa vitis2 aqua profluit.'3

Oil and wine are not wood, but the juice of the earth, because the very juice of the earth is turned into oil and wine, as St. Augustine says: Daily the Lord changes water into wine, because that juice, which arises from the earth, is turned into wine. In springtime this is clear, since a cut vine breathes out water [quotation not identified].

Pinguedo autem caro est, eo quod ingenio humano ipsa caro, cum tunditur, efficitur pinguedo, ut pene nil ex remaneat, ac per hoc caro esse ostenditur. [page 412]

Fat is flesh, because by human ingenuity the flesh itself, when beaten, is made fat so that nearly none of it remains, and through this is shown to be flesh. [page 412]

Sequitur: 9Carnium vero esus infirmis omnino debilibusque pro reparatione concedatur. At ubi meliorati fuerint, a carnibus more solito omnes abstineant. 10Curam autem maximum habeat abbas, ne a cellarariis aut servitoribus negligantur infirmi, quia ad ipsum respicit, quidquid a discipulis delinquintur.

Next: 9The consumption of meat should be allowed to the gravely ill for the sake of their recovery. But when they are better, they should all abstain from meat in the usual fashion. 10The abbot should take the greatest care to ensure that the sick are not neglected by the cellarers or servers. Any failure by his disciples is his responsibility, too.

Nunc videndum est, quia alii sunt debiles, alii aegroti, qui carnem quadrupedum debent comedere. Debiles tribus modis possunt intelligi: uno infantes, qui quo minores sunt, eo magis sunt debiles; secundo modo senes, qui quo magis sunt senes, eo magis sunt debiles; tertio etiam modo sunt debiles etiam majores juvenes, qui pro aliqua incommoditate corporis, qui aut pro nimio calore aut pro spasmo vel pro aliqua, sicut dixi, incommoditate fiunt a semetipsis debiles.

Now we must see some are gravely ill, others ill, who should eat the flesh of quadrupeds. Gravely ill should be understood in three ways: first infants, who the younger they are, the sicker they are; secondly the old, who the older they are the more gravely ill they are, and thirdly older youths who because of some bodily discomfort, either from excessive heat or spasm or some other discomfort, as I said, are made gravely ill by their own selves.

Ideo isti tales,4 quos dixi debiles, intelligunt doctores carnes quadrupedum comedendas esse, ne pro ipsa infirmitate ipsorum invaletudinem nimiam acquirant, v. gr. veluti tisicus est.

Such as these, whom I called gravely ill, doctors think should eat the flesh of quadrupeds, lest in their weakness they acquire very great illness, for example consumption.

Sciendum est enim, quia in Francia consuetudo est tantum, ut non detur infirmo manducare carnem, antequam incipiat ex aegritudine sua levari, et postea tantum illi tribuit, i. e. administrat, usque dum perveniat ad pristinas vires.

We should know that in Frankland the custom is only that the sick brother not be given meat to eat until he begins to improve and thereafter offer, that is, administer [it] to him only until he has recovered fully.

Deinde cum recipit ille infirmus vires et revertitur de domo infirmorum in refectorium manducare, tunc praeparat ei cellararius melius, quam aliis, manducare, hoc est, aut pisces aut aliqua meliora cibaria per duos vel tres dies, eo quod non est bonum, ut statim post carnem dimissam descendat ad illum cibum manducandi,5 quia valde nocet subitanea mutatio ciborum; sed tamen gradatim debet illum cellararius descendere6 ad communem cibum, ut ille frater, qui infirmus fuit, magis diligere valeat amorem paternum et firmius in eo fortitudo corporis acceleret.

Next, when the patient recovers his strength and is returned from the infirmary to eat in the refectory, then the cellarer should prepare somewhat better food for him than the others, fish or some superior dishes, for two or three days. For it is not good that immediately after going off meat he go down to ordinary food to be eaten, because a sudden change in diet is very harmful. Instead, the cellarer must let him down step-by-step to the communal food so that the brother who was ill may more cherish paternal love and thereby the strengthening of his body will accelerate.

Hoc etiam animadvertendum est, quia illi infirmi debent carnem manducare, qui pro infirmitate jacent sex aut octo dies.

Take note that these sick brothers who are in bed for six or eight days should eat meat.

Et si est aliquis forsitan talis, quem abbas [page 413] viderit pro ipsa infirmitate ad debilitatem veniendum7 posse, tunc debet illi carnem dare manducare. Si autem dixerit ille infirmus: quia nolo8 de fastu manducare, debet dicere: 'Frater, noli ita facere, melius enim est, ut manduces carnem et surgas ab infirmitate et facias obedientiam, quam non manducare carnem et in infirmitatem maximam venire; nam si modo non manducaveris, manducabis postea tunc majori temporis spatio. Denique et damnum tunc erit majus, eo quod servitium debuisti facere aliis fratribus et non fecisti, ac per hoc offendiculum maximum pro hoc accipiendum tibi procul dubio assumetur.'

And if perhaps there is someone the abbot [page 413] sees who could turn from weakness to grave illness, then he should give him meat to eat. If the sick brother says out of pride that he does not want it, he should say, ‘Brother, do not do this: it is better that you eat meat, rise from weakness and be obedient than not eat meat and fall into greater illness. For if you do not eat it now, you will eat it afterwards – for longer. Finally, you will be damned more, because you should have done this service for your other brothers and did not, and without a doubt a great stumbling block will be taken on instead of your having accepted this course for yourself.'

Sequitur: 9at ubi meliorati fuerint, a carnibus more solito omnes abstineant.9

Next: 9But when they are better, they should all abstain from meat in the usual fashion.

Sunt enim multi, qui hunc locum ita intelligunt: In hoc etiam loco animadvertendum est, quia non tantum dicit a carnibus omnes abstineant, sed intermiscuit more solito. Ideo dixit more solito, quia consuetudo erat monachis a carnibus abstinere non tantum quadrupedum sed etiam volatilium, sicut faciebat primitiva ecclesia, cujus morem monachi omnimodo sequi debent.

There are many who understand the statement thus: Here it must be remarked that he says not only they should all abstain from meat but adds in the usual fashion. Therefore he said in the usual fashion because it was the way of monks to abstain from the flesh of not only quadrupeds but also fowl, just as in the primitive church, whose customs monks ought to follow in every particular.

Erant etiam ex ipsis quidam separati, sicut narrat ecclesiastica historia, a conjugibus et parentibus viventes in remotioribus locis. Et ipsi quidem qui separati erant, vocabantur monachi sive monazontes, et habitacula eorum vocabantur monasteria, et nemo ex illis habebat proprium, sed omnia erant illis communia.

Certain of them, as ecclesiastical history tells, were separate from wives and relatives, living in remote locations. And certain of them were called monachi or monazontes, and their dwelling-places were called monasteria, and none of them had private property, holding everything in common.

Carnem autem nec quamlibet quisquam eorum comedebat, quos omnimodo sequi monachi debent, eo quod ex ipsis ortum est genus monachorum et ab ipsis similiter vocati sunt monachi; nam ipsi prius monachi fuerunt.

None of them ate flesh or the like. Monks ought to follow them in every particular, because from them arose the category of monks and likewise they are called monks after them, for they were monks first.

Et ideo pro consuetudine illorum mos erat monachis, ne quamlibet comederent carnem excepta infirmitatis necessitate.

Therefore, the custom of monks is in line with their ways, that they should not eat any meat, except in the necessity of illness.

Et propter hanc consuetudinem dicit B. Benedictus: more solito a carnibus omnes abstineant.

And it is after this custom that St. Benedict says, They should all abstain from flesh in the usual fashion.

Unde secundum illorum morem habitacula monachorum, i. e. monasteria, in remotioribus locis constituuntur, quatenus [page 414] ipsi separati a conjugibus inibi Deo quietius deserviant vivendo scilicet ad exemplum eorum in jejuniis et orationibus atque vigiliis seu etiam in aliia bonis operibus.

According to their custom monks’ dwelling-places, that is, monasteries, are built in remote locations so that [page 414], separated from their wives, by living very peacefully there they may serve God, that is by [their predecessors’] example in fasting and prayer and vigils and in other good works.

Et ideo non dixit specialiter, quibus carnibus, sed generali nomine carnibus, in quibus carnibus intelligendum est non tantum de quadrupedibus, sed etiam de volatilibus accipiendum.

And therefore he did not specify which flesh, but used the general term flesh, by which should be understood concerning not only that of quadrupeds, but also accepted concerning fowl.

Sicut S. Augustinus10 in tractatu psalmi centesimi quarti, ubi dicitur: Petierunt carnes, et venit coturnix;' nam volatilium carnes carnes dicuntur. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 104, c. 31 (40), CCSL 40, p. 1548]11

As St. Augustine says in his commentary on the 104th Psalm, where it says,  'They asked for flesh and a quail came:' flesh of fowl is called flesh. [cf. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 104, c. 31 (40)]

Et ideo, cum dicit more solito, non tantum de quadrupedum carnibus, sed de volatilium intelligunt eum multi dixisse, eo quod, sicut supra diximus, mos erat, tunc monachis, sicut abstinebant a carnibus quadrupedum, ita etiam a carnibus volatilium. Nam non facile inveniuntur monachi in scripturis divinis a carnibus quadrupedum abstinuisse et volatilia comedisse excepta necessitate infirmitatis, eo quod Cassiodorus dicit, dulciores carnes esse in volatilibus quam in quadrupedibus, et congruum non erat, [ut] ab his carnibus, quae non sunt dulces, h. e. quadrupedum abstinere et comedere eas carnes, quae dulciores existunt, sicut sunt in volatilibus.

Therefore, when he says in the usual fashion, many understand him to have spoken not only of the flesh of quadrupeds, but of fowl, because, as we said above, it was then the custom for monks to abstain from the flesh of fowl just as from that of quadrupeds. It is not easy to find monks in divine writings who abstained from the flesh of quadrupeds and ate fowl, except in the necessity of illness, because Cassiodorus says that the flesh of fowls is sweeter than quadrupeds' and it was not fitting to abstain from flesh that is not sweet, that is, quadrupeds', and to eat flesh that is sweeter, like fowls'.

Sic enim Cassiodorus in tractatu psalmi centesimi quarti loquitur: 'Petierunt carnes, et venit coturnix.' Intuere, quemadmodum superata sunt vota desiderantium. Carnes petit populus Hebraeorum et coturnices accepit. Constat enim tam in volatilibus, quam in quadrupedibus carnes esse, sine dubio dulciores. [cf. Cassiodorus, Expositio psalmorum 104:40, CCSL 98, p. 954]

So says Cassiodorus in his commentary on the 104th Psalm: ‘They asked for flesh, and a quail came.' See how the wishes of those desiring were fulfilled: the Hebrew people asked for flesh and received quails. It is clear that there is flesh not only in fowls, without doubt sweeter, but also in quadrupeds. [cf. Cassiodorus, Expositio in Psalmos 104:40]

Insuper et B. Hieronymus ad Salvinam dicit hoc modo: Procul sint a conviviis tuis phasides aves, crassi turtures, attagen jonicus, et omnes aves, quibus amplissima patrimonia avolant. Nec ideo te carnibus vesci non putes, si suum, leporum atque cervorum et quadrupedum animantium esculentias reprobes; non enim haec pedum numero, sed suavitate gustus judicantur. [Jerome, Epistola 79, PL 22, col. 729]

Moreover, St. Jerome wrote to Salvina thus: Pheasants, fat turtledoves, partridge from Ionia, or any birds with whom a very great inheritance flies away should be far from your table. Nor should you think you do not eat meat if you refuse pork, rabbit, venison, and the delicacies of quadrupeds: none of this is to be judged by the number of feet, but by sweetness of taste. [Jerome, Epistola 79]

Ergo quia ita est sicut [page 415] isti duo, i. e. Hieronymus et Cassiodorus testantur, in volatilibus dulciores esse carnes quam in quadrupedibus, et non propter numerum pedum, sed propter suavitatem gustus a carnibus est abstinendum, quomodo recte possumus intelligere, S. Benedictum praecepisse monachis ab aliis carnibus esse abstinendum, quae non sunt ita dulces, sicut est in quadrupedibus, carnes autem dulciores, sicut sunt in volatilibus, non praecepisse esse abstinendum?

Therefore, because it is just as [page 415] these two, that is, Jerome and Cassiodorus, bear witness that flesh of fowl is sweeter than that of quadrupeds, and we should abstain from flesh not according to the number of feet, but the sweetness of taste, how can we rightly understand that St. Benedict taught monks that they must abstain from other flesh which is not so sweet (as in the case of quadrupeds), but did not teach abstention from sweeter flesh (as in the case of fowl)?

Dulciores carnes sunt in volatilibus quam in quadrupedibus; possumus etiam utcumque cognoscere in divitibus hominibus, qui in epulis viventes in convivis suis post carnes quadrupedum sibi adlatas ministrari sibi volatilium carnes praecipiunt causa suavitatis atque delectationis.

The flesh of fowl is sweeter than that of quadrupeds. We can, however, also know that among rich men, living in their banquests, order the flesh of fowl brought to be served at their tables after the flesh of quadrupeds, on account of the sweetness and delicacy of the former.

Et forte dicit aiiquis, 'Hoc non esse verum, ut volatilia nobis prohibuisset edere S. Benedictus, tantum quadrupedum vetuisset,12 eo quod inferius manifestat, a quibus carnibus abstinendum esset dicens: carnium quadrupedum omnimodo abstineatur comestio [Regula Benedicti, c. 39.11].'

And perhaps someone will say, 'It is not true, that St. Benedict prohibited us from eating fowl, only quadrupeds, because it is clear below, from which flesh we should abstain, when he says, They should abstain entirely from the flesh of quadrupeds [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 39.11].'

Cui respondendum est: 'Non ideo hoc dixit S. Benedictus, ut tibi concessisset volatilia edere, sed tantum quadrupedibus abstinere, quod omnimodo non videtur congruus esse sensus, quia, sicut S. Hieronymum manifestavimus superius dixisse, non propter numerum pedum a carnibus abstiuetur, sed propter suavitatem gustus, eo quod, sicut praefatus sum, Cassiodorum testatum esse, dulciores carnes esse13 in volatilibus, quam in quadrupedibus.'

To which we should reply that St. Benedict did not say this to permit you to eat fowl, but only to abstain from quadrupeds, because the meaning does not seem to make sense at all, because, as we made clear above, St. Jerome said abstaining from flesh is not on account of the number of feet, but the sweetness of taste because, as we said before, Cassiodorus bore witness that the flesh of fowl is sweeter than that of quadrupeds.

Sed intelligendum est, propterea S. Benedictum dixisse a carnibus quadrupedum esse abstinendum, ne quilibet monachus diceret: 'Volo quadrupedum carnes comedere, quia mihi Pater Benedictus non vetuit eas carnes, quae non sunt dulciores, ut sunt quadrupedum, sed eas mihi vetuit, quae dulciores sunt, sicut sunt volatilia, eo quod scriptum divina ea, quae ad delectationes attinent, inhibeat, non ea, quae ad sustentationem humanae imbecillitatis atque infirmitatis attinent, sicut habes: Carnis curam ne feceritis in concupiscentiis.' [Rm 13:14]

But it must be understood that St. Benedict said we should abstain from the flesh of quadrupeds lest some monk say, 'I want to eat the flesh of quadrupeds, because my father Benedict did not forbid the flesh that is not sweeter, those of quadrupeds, but he forbade those which are sweeter, fowl, because Scripture prohibits divine things that pertain to pleasures, not those things that pertain supporting human weakness and illness, as you have it, Make no provision for the flesh in your desires.' [Rm 13:14]

Vido modo, cum dicit [page 416] in concupiscentiis, intelligitur, concessisse in necessitatibus curam carnis esse habendam, quia mos est sanctorum praedicatorum, illam causam specialiter manifestare, de qua potest aliqua dubitatio nasci, sicut facit S. Matthaeus evangelista, qui de B. Joseph dicit: Non cognovit eam, donec peperit filium suum primogenitum. [Mt 1:25]

See now, that when [St. Paul] says [page 416] in your desires, it is understood that he allows that there should be provisions for the flesh in necessities, because is the custom of holy preachers to make that case especially clear, concerning which no doubt whatsoever can arise, as with the evangelist St. Matthew, who said of St. Joseph, He did not know her until she bore her firstborn son. [Mt 1:25]

Quem sensum B. Gregorius in moralibus libris ita exponit dicens: Non quod hanc post nativitatem Dei cognoverit, sed nequaquam illam contigit, etiam cum conditori suo matrem esse nescivit.

The sense of this St. Gregory explains thus in Moralia in Job: It is not that he knew her after the birth of God, but that he never touched her even when he did not know she was mother to his creator.

Nam quia eam nequaquam contingere valuit, postquam redemptionis nostrae ex ejus utero celebrari mysterium agnovit, de illo profecto tempore necesse erat, ut evangelista testimonium ferret, de quo propter Joseph ignorantiam dubitari potuisset. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob VIII, c. 52.89, CCSL 143, p. 452]

For because it was in no way possible for him to touch her after he knew that the mystery of our redemption was performed from her womb, it was clearly necessary that the evangelist bear witness concerning that time, concerning which, on account of Joseph's ignorance there might have been doubts.[Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob VIII, c. 52.89]

Sic itaque S. Benedictus intelligitur in hoc loco fecisse, cum de illis carnibus dicit specialiter, esse abstinendum, hoc est, quadrupedum, unde poterat dubitatio nasci, utrum debuissent propter non suam magnam dulcedinem, annon debuissent comedi.

So St. Benedict is understood to have said in this place, when he spoke in particular of flesh, that we must abstain, that it, from the flesh of quadrupeds, so that no doubt could arise about whether or not they should be eaten on account of their meager sweetness.

Ceterum de volatilium carnibus non erat ei opus dicere specialiter, non esse comedendas, quia certus erat, non debere eas comedi, eo quod dulciores sunt, et cognoverat, etiam Dominum superasse vota desiderantium in deserto, sicut Cassiodorus dicit, non ministrando carnes quadrupedum, sed carnes volatilium tribuendo, quae dulciores videlicet carnes sunt, quam in quadrupedibus existunt.

But he did not need to speak in particular on the point that the flesh of fowl should not be eaten, because it was certain that they should not be eaten, because they were sweeter, and he knew also that the Lord overcame promises of desirable things in the desert,7 just as Cassiodorus said, not through serving the flesh of quadrupeds, but giving the flesh of fowl, which is sweeter flesh than there is in quadrupeds.

1. priusquam (?). (Mittermüller).
2. vite (?). (Mittermüller).
3. Quotation not identified. It also appears in Dialogus cuiusdam magistri de esu volatilium, non licito monachis sanis, PL 213, col. 937C
4. istis talibus (?). (Mittermüller).
5. manducandum (?). (Mittermüller).
6. deducere (?). (Mittermüller).
7. venire (?). (Mittermüller).
8. volo. Codd. Tegerns. et Fürstz. (Mittermüller).
10. dicit (?). (Mittermüller).
11. S. August. 1. c. Non coturnicem concupiverunt, sed carnes quia vero et coturnix caro est . . . . (Mittermüller).
12. vetuisse (?). (Mittermüller).
13. sunt (?). (Mittermüller).

1. There is no 'before all and above all' concerning children in the RB.
2. The pain to which Hildemar refers is not specified. In the Greek tradition that was the basis for early medieval medical knowledge, hot, warm, cool, and cold baths had various healing powers.
3. See RB 22. Benedict’s instructions on sleeping arrangements hints at concern to prevent sexual contact; Hildemar is much more explicit.
4. Here Hildemar takes up the catechetical mode of argumentation.
5. I cannot trace this quotation.
6. An incomplete paraphrase of RB 39:11.
7. See Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4.

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