March 12, July 12, November 11
Chapter 34: Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is Necessary
Let us follow the Scripture,
“Distribution was made to each
according as anyone had need” (Acts 4:35).
By this we do not mean that there should be respecting of persons
(which God forbid),
but consideration for infirmities.
She who needs less should thank God and not be discontented;
but she who needs more
should be humbled by the thought of her infirmity
rather than feeling important
on account of the kindness shown her.
Thus all the members will be at peace.
Above all, let not the evil of murmuring appear
for any reason whatsoever
in the least word or sign.
If anyone is caught at it,
let her be placed under very severe discipline.
Enough, but not too much. Little, but not too little. Let people have what they need but only what they need. Those with less need rejoice and those with more need be humbly grateful. It sounds like a great system, doesn’t it? So why is it immediately followed by an admonition against murmuring?
Because people gossip, spread rumors, and complain. Benedict hated all of that stuff. He didn’t want people to be jealous of those who needed more got the more that they needed. He wanted us who have much to share freely with those who don’t have enough.
The people of the world need to learn this.