The Carthusian Order

Statutes

Ch. 1 Prologue
Ch. 2 Praise of Life in Solitude
Book 1 : The Cloister Monks
Ch. 3 The Cloister Monks
Ch. 4 The Keeping of Cell and Silence
Ch. 5 Occupations in Cell
Ch. 6 The Observance of Enclosure
Ch. 7 Fasting and Abstinence
Ch. 8 The Novice
Ch. 9 The Novice-Master
Ch. 10 Profession
Book 2 : The Lay Monks
Ch. 11 The Lay Monks
Ch. 12 Solitude
Ch. 13 Enclosure
Ch. 14 Silence
Ch. 15 Work
Ch. 17 The Novice
Ch. 18 Profession
Ch. 19 Donation
Ch. 20 The Formation of the Brothers
Book 3 : The Community
Ch. 21 The Daily Celebration of the Liturgy
Ch. 22 Of Life in Common
Ch. 23 The Prior
Ch. 26 The Procurator
Ch. 27 The Sick
Ch. 28 Poverty
Ch. 29 The Care and Administration of Temporal Goods
Ch. 30 Stability
Book 4 : The Order
Ch. 31 The Government of the Order
Ch. 32 The Canonical Visitation
Ch. 33 Conversion of Life
Ch. 34 The Function of our Order in the Life of the Church
Ch. 35 The Statutes Themselves
Book 5 : Rites and Acts of Carthusian Life
Ch. 36 Rites of Carthusian Life
Ch. 38 Election of a Prior
Book 6 : The Liturgical Seasons
Ch. 41 The Liturgy in our Order
Ch. 52 Liturgical Chant
Ch. 53 Ceremonies of the Community during the Divine Office
Ch. 54 Ceremonies for the Office in Cell
Book 9 : Sacraments and Suffrages
Ch. 62 The Sacraments
Ch. 65 Suffrages

Statutes

Book 3 : The Community

Chapter 21


The Daily Celebration of the Liturgy « »
  1. Having dealt with the life of the monk, insofar as he remains listening to God in cell and at work, with the help of God we will now speak of the community. For, the grace of the Holy Spirit gathers solitaries together to form a communion in love, in the likeness of the Church; which remains one, though spread throughout the world.
  2. When our Father St. Bruno entered the desert with his six companions, he was following in the footsteps of the monks of old, who had been completely dedicated to silence and poverty of spirit. But the particular grace of our first Fathers was to introduce into this form of life a daily Liturgy, which without detracting from the austerity of the eremitical vocation, would nonetheless join it, in a more visible way, to the hymn of praise which Christ the High Priest entrusted to his Church. We have maintained this Liturgy, as being thoroughly in accord with our solitary contemplative life.
  3. As in the synaxis of the monks of the first centuries, the most important moments in our Liturgy are the night vigils, combined with morning praise, the conventual Eucharistic celebration, and evening praise. For these Offices we come together in church.
  4. When we assemble for the Eucharist, the unity of the Carthusian family is consummated in Christ, who is himself present, and at prayer. This commemoration of the Lord’s sacrifice brings together every day all the cloister monks, as well as the lay monks who so desire.
    In addition, the monks who are priests celebrate a Eucharist in solitude, united to the entire Church. Then, the humble offering of their life in the desert is taken up into that of Christ, for the glory of God the Father.
    On days when the community aspect of our life is more in evidence, the monks may concelebrate, united in one priesthood.
  5. In night prayer, we keep a holy and persevering watch, awaiting the return of the Master so as to open to him as soon as he knocks. Evening praise is celebrated as the decline of the day invites the soul to a spiritual sabbath.
  6. The other canonical Hours of the Liturgy are usually recited in cell. On Sundays and solemnities, Terce, Sext and None are sung in choir.
  7. Liberty of spirit is a mark of the solitary life. The Liturgy celebrated in the secret of the cell should reflect this, be in profound harmony with the aspirations of the heart, while always remaining an act of our community life. At the sound of the bell, all pray at the same time, so that the whole monastery becomes a single act of praise to the glory of God.
  8. When celebrating the Divine Office, the monks are the voice and heart of the Church. Through them, the Church presents to the Father, in Christ, praise, supplication, adoration, and humble petition for pardon. The monk fulfills this important role by his whole existence, but in a more explicit and public way in the Liturgy.
  9. The monk unceasingly meditates the Holy Scriptures, until they become part of him. That is why we receive them as the bread of Christ when they are distributed to us by the Church in the Liturgy.
  10. The conventual Liturgy is always chanted. Our Gregorian chant is part of the patrimony of our Order which we have kept from the very beginning. We know that these melodies favor interiority and spiritual sobriety.
  11. The Office of the cloister monks is that which is described in our liturgical books. The participation of the lay monks in the Sacred Liturgy can take various forms (49.10), but all have the value of public prayer of the Church.
  12. Besides the Divine Office our Fathers have transmitted to us the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ordinarily each one of its Hours precedes the corresponding Hour of the Divine Office. By this prayer we celebrate the eternal newness of the mystery that is Mary’s spiritual engendering of Christ in our hearts.
  13. Since the Lord has called us to represent the whole of creation before his face, we should intercede for all; for our brothers, our families, our benefactors and for all the living and dead.
  14. We frequently celebrate the Liturgy of reconciliation; a perpetual Easter of the Lord renewing our lives as sinners seeking his face. In fact the quality of our life of prayer depends on our making conscientious personal use of the Sacrament of Penance.
  15. Since our vocation is to remain ever awake to the presence of God, our whole life becomes a Liturgy, whether we offer the official prayer of the Church, or follow the movement of our heart. This Liturgy becomes more explicit at times; but the diversity is by no means source of division, since it is always the same Lord who exercises his priesthood in us, praying to the Father in the one Spirit.

Chapter 22


Of Life in Common « »
  1. The solitary life, in the cell or the obediences, enkindles and nurtures in our hearts the fire of divine love, which is the bond of perfection, and makes us members of one body. We express this love that we bear for one another when we come together, as a community, showing by our words and behavior our joy at meeting our brothers, and our willingness to forget ourselves for them.
  2. The Sacred Liturgy is the noblest form of community life, since it establishes the deepest and most intimate communion among us. When we join in it each day, we have but one heart and one soul, as we present ourselves before God.
  3. The Chapter House is a place well worthy of our esteem. Therein it was that we asked to be received as the very humble servant of all; therein, too, we avow our faults in the presence of our brothers; and therein, also, we hear spiritual reading and discuss matters pertaining to the common good.
  4. On certain solemnities, we all meet in Chapter to hear a sermon from the Prior or from whomever the Prior appoints. After None on Sundays and solemnities — with the exception of the solemnities of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost and those that fall on weekdays in Lent — we go to the Chapter House to hear a reading from the Gospels or from the Statutes. Every second week, or once a month, according to the custom of the House, we publicly avow our faults there. Each person can confess faults committed against his brothers, the Statutes, and also against the general obligation of our engagement. And since solitude of heart requires for its preservation the wall of silence, he who breaks silence must always proclaim his fault and perform some public penance in accordance with accepted procedure. When the accusation has been made the Prior can opportunely give admonitions.
  5. On Sundays, at a suitable time, the brothers are to meet in Chapter, or in some other place, where they will hear a reading and an explanation of the Statutes, or else a father, appointed by the Prior, will instruct them in Christian doctrine. They will also proclaim their faults, unless they have already done so with the fathers.
  6. When some matter has to be discussed, or if the Prior wishes to have the advice of the community, the monks, at the request of the Prior, will assemble in Chapter.
  7. We take dinner together in the refectory on Sundays and solemnities on which days we meet together more frequently, so that we may taste something of the joy of family life. The refectory, which we enter after an Office in the Church, brings to mind the Last Supper, a repast which Christ hallowed. The tables there are blessed by the celebrant of the Conventual Mass; and while food for the body is being served to us, we are at the same time spiritually nourished by the reading of things divine.
  8. A period of conversation is accorded the fathers after the Chapter at None; the Prior can grant this to the brothers who desire it on any solemnity. Once a month, however, there is a recreation for all the brothers; on this day, if the Prior so wishes, fathers and brothers may have a common recreation, to which even the novices and junior professed may be invited.
  9. At recreation, let us remember St. Paul’s exhortation: rejoice, be of one mind, have peace, so that the God of peace and love may abide within us. Since a colloquium is an assembly together of the community, let us not separate ourselves from the main body; nor should we speak elsewhere, but only there where all are assembled — except, perhaps, a few words.
  10. Since, as St. Bruno says, when wearied by our quite austere rule and application to spiritual things, our rather delicate natures can often be refreshed and renewed by the charms and beauties of woods and countryside, the fathers have a walk every week — with the exception of Holy Week. The brothers are to have a similar walk every month, at which, however, attendance is optional. But they must take part in the walk at least three or four times a year. Fathers and brothers can take this walk together, at the discretion of the Prior.
  11. In accordance with a very old custom of our Order, an exceptionally long walk is granted once a year, which the fathers and brothers, and also the junior professed and novices, are permitted to have together, if it seems suitable to the Prior. On this walk, it is permissible to go beyond the limits assigned by the General Chapter, and also to bring something to eat. However, Carthusian frugality is to be observed; when eating, we must be well-removed from strangers. The Prior is allowed to grant another walk of this kind, on which we do not eat, however.
  12. Our walks should be such as to further brotherly union and also the spiritual progress of our souls. Hence all are to walk together, taking the same route so that each one can, in turn, talk with the others — unless, for a reasonable cause, it seems better to have two or three groups. Should it be necessary to go through a town or village, they will be content simply to pass through, preserving due decorum, nor may they ever enter the houses of seculars. They should not hold conversation with strangers, nor give them anything. On the walks, we are not to eat or drink anything, except plain water, found by the wayside.
  13. These conversations together are intended to help us to grow in mutual love, and to moderate somewhat our solitude. Let us be on our guard against talking excessively, or shouting, or indulging in indecorous laughter. Let our conversations be religious, not frivolous or worldly; sedulously let us shun even semblance of detraction or murmuring. Should a difference of opinion arise, let us know how to listen and to see the matter from the other’s point of view so that in all things, the bond of mutual love will grow ever stronger.
  14. Opera communia may be held three times a year at the discretion of the Prior — who may also, if he wishes, omit them entirely. This work in common — during which silence is to be observed in the manner prescribed in chapter 5.6 — may be continued for three days. As well as work which the Sacristan might require, the Prior may enjoin something of assistance to the brothers; if so, the fathers will be very happy indeed to have this opportunity of participating in the ministry of the brothers. In the week of opera communia, the walk is optional for the fathers.
  15. Any fathers who so desire, may, once a month, with the Prior’s consent, devote the time of the walk to some work, in the manner prescribed for opera communia, yet with permission to speak.

Chapter 23


The Prior « »
  1. Every House of the Order where at least six professed qualified to vote are present, can elect their own Prior. The election, however, must be held within forty days: that time having elapsed, the Reverend Father or the General Chapter will provide the House with a new Prior.
  1. The Prior, following the example of Christ, is among his brothers as one who serves. He guides them according to the spirit of the Gospel and the traditions of the Order, which he himself has received. To all by word and by life he strives to be of benefit; in particular to the cloister monks, from whose number he has been taken, he should offer an example of peaceful repose, stability, solitude, and all the other observances of their life.
  2. His seat in all places and his clothes do not differ by any kind of dignity or luxury from those of the others; nor does he wear anything indicating that he is Prior.
  1. The Prior, since he is the common father of all in the monastery, should show the same solicitude for all, brothers and fathers, visiting them from time to time in their cells and obediences. If someone comes to his cell, let him receive him with all love, and always give a willing hearing to each one. Let him be such that the monks - especially those suffering trials - can have recourse to him, as to a loving father, and even, if they so wish, freely and spontaneously open their souls to him. He does not judge according to human standards, but together with his monks strives to listen to the Spirit in a common seeking of the will of God, for the interpretation of which for his brothers he has received a special mandate.
  2. The Prior must not relax regular discipline with a view to being loved; that would not be to guard the flock but to lose it. On the contrary, let him govern the monks as sons of God, and strive to develop in them a spirit of voluntary submission, so that in solitude they may more fully conform themselves to the obedient Christ.
  3. The monks, for their part, should love and reverence their Prior in Christ, showing to him at all times deference and humble obedience. Let them have confidence in him who has assumed the charge of their souls in the Lord, and cast all their care on him whom they believe to represent Christ. Far from being wise in their own eyes and from relying on their own understanding, let them turn their hearts to the truth and give heed to their father’s counsels.
  4. The Prior is to ensure that young choir monks when they first come to live among the solemnly professed, converse brothers who have just made solemn Profession, and donates who are no longer under the care of the Novice-Master, are not left to themselves and to the bidding of their own wills; for experience teaches that these are the crucial years of our vocation and that on them the whole subsequent life depends. And so talking with them simply and in private, he should give them fatherly even brotherly help. Moreover, he is to be careful, as far as possible, not to appoint any monk too soon after the completion of his studies, to office - especially not to that of Procurator.
  5. The Prior is to see that the brothers’ Chapter is regularly held and is to provide for their instruction in either Christian doctrine or the Statutes once a week. Since this is a serious duty, let him carefully ensure that the brothers receive a solid formation and that books suitable for this purpose are given to them.
  6. Let him also be solicitous concerning the sick and those in trial or affliction, knowing from experience how harsh solitude can become for us at times.
  1. The Prior should willingly provide his monks with books, since these are the imperishable food of the soul. It is fitting that monks should find their nourishment primarily in Holy Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and proved monastic authors. He is to supply them also with other books of sound quality, carefully selected for their usefulness to each individual. For in solitude we read, not to be informed about the latest opinions, but so that faith may be nourished in peace and prayer fostered. If necessary, the Prior can prohibit a book to his monks.
  1. Before deciding anything in matter of importance belonging to the obedience of one of his Officers, the Prior should consult him and try to reach a decision by common consent with him. The Officers, however, are always to accept his decisions with filial submission. Moved by paternal affection, the Prior should learn to know them and their problems; he should help them and support their authority before everyone else; and also, if necessary, charitably admonish them. He should not act as if good external order were his sole concern, but rather by his own docility to the Spirit he should mirror to all the love of Christ. For the peace and concord of the House depend in great measure on the Prior and his Officers being in full accord and of one mind.
  1. The Prior should not eat with guests in his House freely and indifferently, but only with such people as cannot easily be denied this – even then, the rarer the better.
  2. A Prior who is prevented by age or infirmity from taking care of his flock and from giving an example of regular observance, will humbly acknowledge this, and, without waiting for the General Chapter, will ask the Reverend Father for mercy. We exhort the Definitors, moreover, not to leave in office Priors weakened by old age or bad health.
  1. Let the Prior, whose office requires no small degree of self-denial, apply to himself these words of Guigues: "Your Lord has deputed you to be the servant of your sons; let your effort be that they do, not what you like, but what profits them. It is for you to adapt yourself to their utility, not bend them to your will; for they have been entrusted to your care, not for you to preside over, but so that you may be of use to them."

Chapter 26


The Procurator « »
  1. Over the brothers of the House, the Prior is to appoint one of the solemn professed as a diligent Procurator - for so we wish him to be called. Who like Martha - whose office he assumes - will be occupied and troubled about many things; nevertheless, he is not to abandon completely or shrink from the peace and silence of his cell. On the contrary, he should be ever ready - in the measure that the affairs of the House permit - to return to his cell as to a very secure and tranquil haven where, through reading, prayer and meditation, he will be able both to calm the turbulent emotions of his soul which arise from the planning and care of external things, and also to store up within himself some helpful thought which he might gently and prudently impart to the brothers entrusted to him.
  1. The Procurator should regularly visit those monks who are too sick to go to the church, showing them kindness and painstaking care. Otherwise, he is not to visit the fathers nor to enter their cells without permission, nor to speak with them outside their cells, except if he meets them having a conversation authorized by the President. He may, however, speak a few words to them at the cell door. But he must be very careful not to bring worldly news into the House; for it is precisely the object of his office to ensure that the monks can live in the peace of contemplation.
  2. The obediences of the brothers and their health will ever be the object of the Procurator’s care and loving attention. He will guide them, above all, by example - for actions are more eloquent than words; and they will willingly imitate the Procurator if he himself imitates Christ. He should be especially careful that the brothers are not overburdened with work. So that they may be able to devote sufficient time to recollection in cell, their daily work period should not normally exceed seven hours.
  3. Each brother is responsible for his obedience, and in turn the Procurator should support his authority in the work committed to him. He should consult the Procurator about this work and submit himself to his will; however, insofar as the situation permits, the Procurator should allow the brothers to act with all due liberty, the better to fulfill their allotted tasks. Should he wish to change something in their obediences, he should not do so without consulting - or at least notifying them.
  4. The Procurator - and also all the other Officers of the House - must be careful not to abuse their office by allowing themselves dispensations or unnecessary things which they would be unwilling to concede to others.
  5. It is the duty of the Procurator to look after guests, to meet them on their arrival, and to visit them. Should the Prior be absent, the Procurator may absent himself from the refectory to take care of the visitors. But he is not to eat with guests as a normal rule, but only with those to whom this mark of attention cannot be easily refused. And even then the more rarely the better. Only the Procurator, and, in the absence of the Prior, the Vicar, may be present when guests are having a meal.
  1. Should the Procurator relinquish his office, he will leave behind him all solicitude and all that is superfluous, so that he may follow Christ alone into the desert.

Chapter 27


The Sick « »
  1. Sickness and the infirmities of old age invite us to a new act of trusting confidence in our heavenly Father who, by means of these infirmities, conforms us ever more perfectly to Christ. In this way, united in a very special manner with the great work of our redemption, we become united ever more intimately with the entire Mystical Body of Christ.
  2. The Prior will show special kindness towards the sick and the aged, and towards those who are being purified by some trial. And we counsel all who have charge of the sick to do likewise. As far as the resources of the House permit, let all that is necessary or helpful, be lovingly provided for them; and in all matters, however personal, in which they cannot take care of themselves, let them be humbly helped; and let those who render these services esteem themselves very fortunate. Those who suffer from some nervous problem - which in solitude is especially oppressive - are to be encouraged and sustained in whatever way possible so that they may realize that they can give glory to God, provided that, forgetful of self, they offer themselves whole-heartedly to the loving designs of him who is their Father.
  3. Let the sick, however, be very carefully warned, in accordance with a remark of St. Benedict, not to distress those in attendance on them by asking for superfluous or impossible things or perchance by grumbling; and, mindful of the religious state they have adopted, let them realize that, just as healthy monks differ from healthy layfolk, so too sick monks should differ from sick layfolk, lest - which heaven forbid - on the occasion of illness, their souls grow narrow and this contact with the Lord prove vain.
  4. The sick then are to be encouraged to bear in mind the sufferings of Christ; those who look after them - the compassion of Christ. In this way, the former will get strength to suffer patiently; the latter, strength to serve readily. And when the sick reflect that they are being served on account of Christ, and the assistants that they are serving likewise for Christ’s sake, the former will not feel proud nor the latter humiliated as each awaits from the same Lord the reward they have earned, one by suffering and the other by compassion.
  5. As befits those who practice the poverty of Christ, let us be content with the services of the ordinary local doctor, or if the case should so require, of a more specialized physician from among the neighboring towns. If however in addition to the local doctor, any father should wish to consult a still more skilled one, the Prior may allow him - provided he returns the same day - to go to one of those neighboring towns which the Visitors, with the consent of either the Reverend Father or of the General Chapter, have designated. Also, the Prior can permit a monk to be admitted to the hospital, but it is advisable to inform the Reverend Father.
  6. In the measure possible let our sick monks, as befits souls in search of solitude, receive the necessary treatment in their own cells. We should not attach too much importance to the counsels of certain doctors who may perhaps advise going outside or who prescribe cures and remedies which ill accord with our rule; it is we alone who will have to give an account to God as to how we have observed our vows. We should be careful too not to use medicines in an abusive degree with damage to our quest of spiritual perfection - and very possibly to our health - and also adding to the financial burden of the House.
  7. In all the foregoing let us commit ourselves in a docile spirit to the will of God, remembering that the trial of infirmity prepares us for the joys of eternity and making our own the words of the psalmist: "I have rejoiced at the news that they brought me: we are going to enter the house of the Lord."

Chapter 28


Poverty « »
  1. The monk has elected to follow Christ in his poverty and by this poverty to be enriched. Depending on God and in no wise on things terrestrial, he has treasure in heaven and it is there that his heart ever tends. Recognizing that he owns nothing, he is ready to place in the Prior’s hands freely and spontaneously all that has been entrusted to him whenever the latter so desires.
  2. Those who are solemnly professed are to have nothing but what the Order concedes to them for simple use. They have given up the right of asking or receiving from another or of making gifts or of transferring ownership without permission. Even amongst ourselves we cannot exchange or receive anything whatever without permission.
  3. While those in temporary vows and donates retain ownership of their property and the power to acquire more, they should not keep anything personal for themselves as also is the case for novices. Let the Novice-Master inspire his newcomers with a singular love for poverty and a deep sense of separation from temporal goods and comforts.
  4. In accordance with the counsels of Guigues if a garment or something of that sort be sent as a gift to one of the monks by a friend or relative let it be given not to him but rather to someone else lest it seem to belong to him. Hence let no member of the Order claim a right of use or any other right in reference to books or to anything else which the Order may have received thanks to him; but if that use be granted to him, let him receive it with gratitude clearly understanding that it belongs not to him but to others. No one is ever to have money under his control or in his possession.
  5. Since the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, let poverty and simplicity be strictly observed in our cells. Let us be constantly vigilant that there be nothing there that is superfluous or over ornate - willingly even seeking the opinion of the Prior in this matter.
  6. Whoever is temporarily replacing another in an obedience may not change anything whatever therein without permission. Moreover, the monks themselves are not to change or install anything in their cells or obediences without first submitting it to the Prior and obtaining his permission.
  7. The Prior will provide all the monks with whatever is necessary in matter of attire. All members of the Order wear a white habit and cowl; they receive two habits, and two or three cowls. The cloister monk - but not the converse brothers or donates - wear a hairshirt and a cincture cord. All novices wear a black cape whenever the community meets. When we go outside the bounds we wear a coat.
  8. In our dress there should be nothing unduly elegant or superfluous or that otherwise offends religious poverty and simplicity. For in this matter, our Fathers aimed simply at covering themselves and at protecting themselves from the cold, believing that it is certainly fitting for Carthusians that both their clothes and all else they use should be well worn. While we too should be inspired by this same ideal, we must nevertheless take care that our habits and cells are well kept and clean. Unless we are sick or on a journey, our bed should be in conformity with monastic austerity.
  9. Somewhat costly equipment is permitted only to those for whom, in the Prior’s opinion, it is necessary. Musical instruments are quite out of keeping with our life, as are games of every sort. However, instruments which guide or assist the voice may be used for teaching our chant but all forms of radio are completely excluded.
  10. So great is the diversity of local conditions that what is necessary in one region may frequently be superfluous in another, so that it is impossible to establish a definite universal law for all countries. Accordingly, we exhort the Priors to show themselves gracious and cooperative in providing for the needs of their community, in the measure that their resources permit. If they are moved by Christ’s love, they will in no way leave themselves open to any reproach in this matter, nor will they, by being grudging cause their monks to err by ownership. For the more willingly that poverty is embraced, the more acceptable it is to God. For it is the free surrender of the goods of this world that is praiseworthy - not the deprivation.

Chapter 29


The Care and Administration of Temporal Goods « »
  1. The temporal goods that the Prior administers belong, not to him, nor to any human owner, but to the poor man Christ, and it is to him that the Prior must render an account of his stewardship. It is thus part of his function to guide the Officers and their assistants in their administration of temporal affairs, and, having in mind God and the voice of his own conscience and the spirit of our Order and its Statutes, to carry on the affairs of the House with prudence and discretion, and to be specially careful that money be not spent wrongfully.
  2. When a new Prior is installed, the Procurator will furnish him with a statement of the principal assets of the House, both movable and real. This statement, countersigned by the new Prior and his Council, is to be preserved in the archives.
  1. As regards the support of our Houses, our Fathers thought it wiser not to await the receipt of gifts, but, God helping, to set up sources of annual income. For they did not consider that for the sake of uncertain profits well defined liabilities which can neither be discharged or rejected without risk should be accepted – especially as the mere idea of wandering about in quest of alms inspired them with horror.
  2. We are of the opinion, however, that, with God’s help, modest resources would suffice if there still dwells within us zeal for the ideals of our first Fathers in matters of simplicity, poverty, and sobriety, in all that we wear and eat and use; and if, moreover, we are making daily progress in detachment from the world and in love for God – who should be the source of every action and the support of every trial. To us, indeed, most certainly apply those words of our Lord: "Be not solicitous for the morrow, your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things; seek first the Kingdom of God and his justice."
  1. While each House may lawfully possess whatever is necessary for a life in accordance with the letter and spirit of our vocation, nevertheless, if genuine witness is to be given to true poverty, all that savors of luxury, inordinate gain, or accumulation of wealth must be sedulously avoided. Nor is it sufficient that the monks be subject to their superiors in their use of temporal things; they must be, as Christ was, really poor, having their treasure in heaven. We must avoid, not only anything that might be termed sumptuous, but even excessive concern for convenience, so that everything in our Houses will reflect that plain simplicity which our vocation requires.
  1. While our buildings should, indeed, be both sufficient and suitable for our purpose, simplicity should nevertheless be everywhere in evidence. For our Houses should not seek to be monuments of vainglory or art, but simply to give testimony to the poverty of the Gospel.
  1. Finally, we beg and exhort all the Priors of the Order, by the tender love of Jesus Christ, our God and our Savior, who offered himself for us on the cross in total holocaust, that they devote themselves whole-heartedly to almsgiving on as lavish a scale as their resources will permit. Let them be persuaded that whatever is spent or retained in excess is, as it were, a theft from the poor and from the needs of Mother Church. Directing our property in this way towards the common good, we imitate the early Christians among whom none called anything his own, but for whom all things were in common.

Chapter 30


Stability « »
  1. A monk’s surrender of himself to God will not be really perfect unless he faithfully persevere in that intention all the days of his life - as, indeed, at solemn Profession, he freely promised to do. Since this is an irrevocable commitment, before making it, he should first sit down and consider whether he really wants to yield himself to God forever. By virtue of his Profession, a monk is, as it were, incorporated into a family chosen for him by God, wherein he is to settle down for ever, both in mind and body.
  2. Let each one, therefore, having been totally dedicated to God, in his own function either as father or brother, not only continue in that state to which he has been called, but also strive to attain ever greater perfection therein, thus enriching the sanctity of Mother Church, to the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity, One and Undivided.
  1. Our monks should not too easily persuade themselves that they have good reasons for asking their superiors to transfer them to another House. Many have been misled by the imagined charm of distant countries and by the attraction of change. Moreover, it is not becoming for a monk to attach too much importance to climate or to food, or to the temperament of those around him, or to other differences of that sort.
  1. We are well aware how much patience and perseverance in the situation in which God has placed us, contribute to contemplation of things divine. For it is not possible for a man to keep his mind firmly fixed on one person if, beforehand, he has not perseveringly kept his body in one place. And if the mind is to draw near to him in whom there is neither change nor shadow of alteration, it must adhere unshakably to its undertaking.
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