March 16, July 16, November 15
Chapter 37: On the Old and Children
Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness towards
these times of life, that is towards the old and children, still
the authority of the Rule should also provide for them.
Let their weakness be always taken into account, and let them by
no means be held to the rigor of the Rule with regard to food. On
the contrary, let a kind consideration be shown to them, and let
them eat before the regular hours.
It is like Benedict’s kindness that he makes provision in the Rule for children and the elderly. They were a vulnerable population in his day, as were widows. While I have seen kindliness to children, I have not seen so much of that for the elderly. We need it.
Children and the elderly both need certain types of food, Benedict tells us, so that they may flourish. Benedict talks a lot about food in the RB. He expects his monastics to abstain from meat except for certain holy days, but this does not apply to children and the elderly. Of course, once a child reached the age of thirteen, that child was pretty much considered an adult and at that time would join the monastics in the fast from meat.
Loving the phrase “kind consideration.” Wherever we are, with whomsoever we might be with, let us always show a kind consideration.