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Today’s Reading from the Rule of Benedict

November 6, 2009


Chapter 30: How Boys Are to Be Corrected

Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.
With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore,
or those who cannot understand the seriousness
of the penalty of excommunication,
whenever such as these are delinquent
let them be subjected to severe fasts
or brought to terms by harsh beatings,
that they may be cured.

Don’t let our own age’s revulsion at corporal punishment (which was
thought perfectly sane when St. Benedict wrote,) blind you to the
pearl of great price herein. “Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.”

Probably unintentional (but the Holy Spirit can sneak a lot of His
stuff into our words,) is the poetic ambiguity of the words “every
age.” That can mean all ages of an individual AND all ages of
history. Quite evidently, the best minds of our own age no longer
subscribe to beating sense into someone as a terribly useful method.
So we affirm that and move on to the good stuff here.

The good stuff is personalism in the extreme. Every person is
different at every stage of their lives and every age in which people
are born produces different people. We are different from the
generations before us because everything that formed us was NOT
identical to the external forces which formed our elders.

+ Brother Jerome, Daily Reflections on the Holy Rule

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