Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be, January 10, 2017

January 10, May 11, September 10
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

Let the Abbess always bear in mind
that at the dread Judgment of God
there will be an examination of these two matters:
her teaching and the obedience of her disciples.
And let the Abbess be sure
that any lack of profit
the master of the house may find in the sheep
will be laid to the blame of the shepherd.
On the other hand,
if the shepherd has bestowed all her pastoral diligence
on a restless, unruly flock
and tried every remedy for their unhealthy behavior,
then she will be acquitted at the Lord’s Judgment
and may say to the Lord with the Prophet:
“I have not concealed Your justice within my heart;
Your truth and Your salvation I have declared” (Ps. 39:11).
“But they have despised and rejected me” (Is. 1:2; Ezech. 20:27).
And then finally let death itself, irresistible,
punish those disobedient sheep under her charge.


Some thoughts:
At first I read this and I think what a thankless job! To be held accountable for God not only for the quality of what is taught but also to be held accountable for the way others obey what is taught. The first one, ok. the latter, Whoa, Nellie!! How could a spiritual teacher possibly be responsible for what then taught do with the teaching?
Then I realised it is not merely the speaking and the hearing that are at issue, but the doing. The one who teaches is as much responsible for the doing as are any hearers.
What do you think?

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