March 11, July 11, November 10
Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own
This vice especially
is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
Let no one presume to give or receive anything
without the Abbot’s leave,
or to have anything as his own —
whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be —
since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
at their own disposal;
but for all their necessities
let them look to the Father of the monastery.
And let it be unlawful to have anything
which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
Let all things be common to all,
as it is written (Acts 4:32),
and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.
But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
let him be admonished once and a second time.
If he fails to amend,
let him undergo punishment.
As i understand it, every Lent, monastic Benedictines have to write a list of everything they have in their cells, take it to the abbess/abbot and receive permission to continue to have it in their cells. I look around my home and it would probably take me all of Lent to make such a list. I’ve been convicted for sometime that I Too Much Stuff. In 2003 I packed my car in case of evacuation as the Cedar Fire headed my way. I had the cats, my spinning wheel, photos and pictures, clothing, any books I had borrowed from someone else all packed. And there was still room in my car. I looked at bookcases and in that moment, I knew I had Too Much Stuff because I realized that for any book I saved, there would be another I regretted losing.
I have been downsizing the books considerably, but there is still more to go. My friends are feeling more like they might be willing to help me move again, if the occasion arises. They’ve refused for 3 moves because they just couldn’t face moving those books.
How do you feel about your possessions?