Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren, April 7, 2017

April 7, August 7, December 7
Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren

Let clothing be given to the brethren
according to the nature of the place in which they dwell
and its climate;
for in cold regions more will be needed,
and in warm regions less.
This is to be taken into consideration, therefore, by the Abbot.

We believe, however, that in ordinary places
the following dress is sufficient for each monk:
a tunic,
a cowl (thick and woolly for winter, thin or worn for summer),
a scapular for work,
stockings and shoes to cover the feet.

The monks should not complain
about the color or the coarseness of any of these things,
but be content with what can be found
in the district where they live and
can be purchased cheaply.

The Abbot shall see to the size of the garments,
that they be not too short for those who wear them,
but of the proper fit.

Let those who receive new clothes
always give back the old ones at once,
to be put away in the wardrobe for the poor.
For it is sufficient if a monk has two tunics and two cowls,
to allow for night wear and for the washing of these garments;
more than that is superfluity and should be taken away.
Let them return their stockings also and anything else that is old
when they receive new ones.

Those who are sent on a journey
shall receive drawers from the wardrobe,
which they shall wash and restore on their return.
And let their cowls and tunics be somewhat better
than what they usually wear.
These they shall receive from the wardrobe
when they set out on a journey,
and restore when they return.

Some thoughts:
As it happens, I was looking through some stuff I’d written a few years ago and discovered this piece I had written about today’s reading. At the time the big news was that we were going to be given “stimulus checks” that we could spend and stimulate the economy the Bush adminstration had destroyed. I also thught it a strange sense of prioritites that poor people were give half of what rich people were given. Nine years later, I still thank that was strange.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote that day.
Ok. I get it. Each monk has exactly what they need, no more, no less with a decent fit. What a concept. What changes would you make to your wardrobe were you to apply what our good father Benedict says here?
I find the timing interesting as the federal government gets ready to send out the economic stimulus checks. So I just had to share this because this is what I thought about as I read today’s selection from the RB:
Take your “stimulus check” and Give It 4 Good! Giveit4goodIt’s time for an intervention. Our economy is based on unsustainable overconsumption. And now, we’re being sent checks and told the answer is to spend even more. Meanwhile, more than a billion people live on less than $1 a day.
It’s insanity. And it’s time to make a stand. Time to put our treasure where our heart is. Time to choose compassion over consumption. It’s time to Give It 4 Good.
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation invites you to become part of a movement for economic sanity and moral accountability.
Join others across the nation and give 100%, 10% or even 0.7% of next month’s so-called “economic stimulus” check to an organization of your choice working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Just visit to find out how.
At, you’ll also find resources for deciding where to give, advocacy actions, how to spread the word, resources for starting conversations about consumerism in your congregation and family … and much more.
Once you’ve taken the pledge, spread the word. Email your friends and family and tell them you have taken this important step. Let the people at the nonprofit you have designated know so they can encourage others to Give It 4 Good. Put a button on your website and a flier in your congregation.
Go to the site. Take the pledge. Then keep checking back to see who has Given it 4 Good, how much has been given and where the money is going to Make Poverty History.
Christ’s peace,
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Giving It 4 Good is as easy as:
1) Take the pledge — Click here and take the Give It 4 Good pledge (see below) and give 100%, 10%, 0.7% or
another % of your choosing of your “economic stimulus check” to an organization working toward the MDGs.
Want more information and ideas on where to give first? Go to
2) Tell your elected officials – Click here to learn about advocacy actions you can take.
get resources — buttons for your website, fliers, bulletin inserts and more — to spread the word about this movement.
4) Continue the conversation — Click here for resources for prayer and study on the issues of overconsumption and consumerism.
The “Give It 4 Good” Pledge
“Because I take seriously Christ’s admonition that ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matt. 6:31), and
“Because I believe reaching out in compassion to the extreme poor around the world is more important than propping up an economy based on unsustainable consumption.
“I am donating all or part of my 2008 tax rebate/economic stimulus check (or all or part of the amount I would be receiving if I qualified for a check) to not-for-profit organizations that support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
“Instead of spending it, I am Giving It For Good.”

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