March 12, July 12, November 11
Chapter 34: Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is
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.
The criterion is need. That’s the sole consideration. Who needs what? That’s all Benedict cares about that needs are met. Those who need more receive it. They need to understand that they receive it only because of need and not due to their former station in life or because of any merit. They receive solely because they are in need which is a humbling thing to be.
Those who need less are to be glad that they are not in need.After all, one day in the future they may be in need.
Benedict counsels to simply meet needs without argument, proof of merit, and it is not at another’s expense because the one who is not in need is not missing out on anything. I really wish that all who read these words grasp this concept. Meet needs and don’t shilly-shally about it, making up excuses or justifications for greed. Meet needs.
Once again we see the saint admonishing those who would murmur, i.e. complain or gossip or make sarcastic, snarky, snide comments. There are harsh penalties in the Rule for this sort of behavior. While not a fan of harsh anything, I believe life would be far more enjoyable without complaints, gossip, sarcastic, snarky, snide comments. Don’t you?