March 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults
Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault
be excluded both from the table and from the oratory.
Let none of the brethren join him
either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him,
abiding in penitential sorrow
and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle
where he says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5).
Let him take his meals alone
in the measure and at the hour
which the Abbot shall consider suitable for him.
He shall not be blessed by those who pass by,
nor shall the food that is given him be blessed.
The Amish have a practice they call shunning. When a member of their congregation does something that is considered sinful, no one speaks to that person or acknowledges that person’s existence for the period of time set by the pastor, even if that person is working side by side with others. The shunned person is completely ignored. That segment of time is supposed to allow the shunned person time to think about the reason for the shunning so that person may come to repentance.
This sounds a lot like what Benedict writes above, It sounds harsh, I know. I daresay it is extremely uncomfortable for all to live through. But Benedict’ school is to help us learn what it is to live a holy life. While I realize that living a holy life is not a big priority for many, i think it is a desirable way to live.