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stbenedictIn the monastery a portion of the Rule of St Benedict is read aloud each day.

For November 11, Chapter 34 on Whether All Should Receive Equal Shares is read. You can read the whole passage here.

He who needs less should thank God and not be discontented; but he who needs more
should be humbled by the thought of his infirmity rather than feeling important
on account of the kindness shown him.
Thus all the members will be at peace.

Above all, let not the evil of grumbling be present among you for any reason whatsoever
in the least word or sign.  If anyone is caught at it, let him be placed under very severe discipline.

There are a couple of profound principles of the spiritual life locked into this practical passage about shared life together. Benedict’s practical rules of community life always reflect the spiritual relationship with God.

As the Abbot gives to each what they need, and not always what they want, so God gives to us what we need and not always what we want. We are therefore never to compare ourselves to others. If we have more blessings we consider it a sign that we are weaker and need to have more.

Not only should we never compare ourselves to others, but we should also never complain. Grumbling is a mark of immaturity. Adolescents grumble. Grownups learn to be content in whatever circumstances God gives them. As St Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

When you catch yourself grumbling and complaining….Just stop it.

You’re better than that.

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