5. Vices; 6. Mon. as Workshop; 7. Obedience;
8. Silence; 9. Asking Abbot while Silent; 10. Humility



transl. based on that of Luke Eberle, modified. and adapted for this webpage by L. Dysinger


Question of the disciples:
The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

V. Qvae est materies vel cavsa malorvm, qvae in fornace timoris Dei excoqvi debet, vel qvae est ervgo vel sordities vitiorvm, qvam de nobis debet lima ivstitiae mvndare?

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1These are the vices which we must guard against: 2first of all, pride, then disobedience, talkativeness; 3falsehood, avarice cupidity; 4jealousy, envy, iniquity; 5hatred, enmity, anger, quarreling, discord; 6fornication, drunkenness, gluttony; murmuring, impiety, injustice, laziness, theft; 8detraction, buffoonery, levity, impurity, idle speech; 9excessive or guffawing laughter, humming; 10covetousness, deceit, ambition, instability. 11All these things are not from God but are the works of the devil which on the day of judgment will get from God what they deserve, the hell of everlasting fire.

1 Cauenda in nobis uitia haec sunt: 2 primo superbia, deinde inoboedientia, multiloquium; 3 falsitas, auaritia, cupiditas; 4 zelus, inuidia, iniquitas; 5 odium, inimicitia, ira, rixa, contentio; 6 fornicatio, ebrietas, uoracitas; 7 murmurium, impietas, iniustitia, pigritia, furtum; 8 detractio, scurrilitas, leuitas, inmunditia, uaniloquium; 9 risus multus uel excussus, succinnatio; 10 concupiscentia, dolus, ambitio, uagatio. 11 Haec omnia non sunt a Deo, sed opera sunt diaboli, quae in die iudicii a Deo meritum suum perpetui ignis gehennam merentur.


Question of the disciples:
The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

I. Qvae est officina divinae artis vel operatio spiritalivm ferramentorvm?

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1The workshop is the monastery, 2where the instruments of the heart are kept in the enclosure of the body, and the work of the divine art can be accomplished with assiduous care and perseverance.

1 Officina uero monasterium est, 2 in qua ferramenta cordis in corporis clusura reposita opus diuinae artis diligenti custodia perseuerando operari potest.


Question of the disciples:
The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

VII. De oboedientia discipvlorvm,
 qvalis debeat esse.

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. 2But this kind is proper to the perfect, few in number, those who consider nothing more dear to them than Christ; 3because of the holy service they have vowed, for fear of hell, and for the sake of the treasures of eternal life, 4as soon as they hear something commanded by the superior they can tolerate no delay in conforming. 5It is of these that the Lord says: ‘No sooner do they hear than they obey me’. 6And he likewise says to those who teach: ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me’. 7Such as these, therefore, immediately relinquishing their own concerns and abandoning their own will, 8disengaging their hands and leaving unfinished what they were doing, comply by their actions with the voice of the one who commands, falling into step with prompt obedience. 9Thus in one and the same moment, so to speak, the command issued by the superior and what is done by the disciples, the two together, occur without any delay, in the swiftness of the fear of God.

1 Primus humilitatis gradus est oboedientia sine mora. 2 Sed haec forma paucis conuenit et perfectis, in his qui nihil sibi a Christo carius aliquid extimantes, 3 propter seruitium sanctum, quod professi sunt, uel propter metum gehennae uel diuitias uitae aeternae, 4 mox aliquid imperatum a maiore audierint, moram pati nesciunt in sequendo. 5 De quibus Dominus dicit: Obauditu auris abaudiuit mihi. 6 Et item dicit doctoribus: Qui uos audit, me audit. 7 Ergo hii tales relinquentes statim quae sua sunt et uoluntatem propriam deserentes, 8 mox exoccupatis manibus et quod agebant inperfectum derelinquentes, uicino oboedientiae pede iubentis uocem factis sequuntur. 9 Et ueluti uno momento praedicata magistri iussio et perfecta discipuli opera in uelocitate timoris Dei ambae res communiter citius explicentur.

10But this kind of obedience, proper to the few who are perfect, should not unduly alarm the souls of the weak and the indolent and make them despair, but, should inspire them to do likewise, 11So keeping in mind that among us there are assorted embodiments of misery, since a sluggish nature is the source of a great deal of laziness in some persons—12for it is well known that the hearing of certain ones is dulled by insensibility of the ears, and we also note that the minds of some are immediately distracted and wander off into a jungle of thoughts—13we therefore indulgently moderate the strictures of obedience on the part of the teachers. Accordingly, the master should not be irked at having to repeat his command to the disciples, 14as the Lord testified when, calling Abraham, he repeated his name a second time, saying: ‘Abraham, Abraham’. 15By this repetition. the Lord dearly showed us that one call is possibly not enough to ensure [his] being heard.

10 Sed haec paucorum perfectorum forma infirmorum et pigrium animos in desperatione sua satis non reddat adtonitos, sed moneat imitandos. 11 Nam considerantes in nobis diuersa esse uasa flebilia, cum multum in diuersis pigritiae contulit tarda natura, — 12 nam quorundam auditus noscuntur surdo stupore hebescere, quorundam etiam animos fusione subita in siluosis cogitationibus cernimus aberrare, — 13 ideoque remissius districtionem oboedientiae in doctoribus relaxamus, ut conbinata praeceptione ceptione discipulis et iussionem suam magistrum non pigeat repetire, 14 secundum testimonium Domini, qui uocans Abraham, nomen eius denuo repetiuit dicens: Abraham, Abraham. 15 Quae ergo repetitio manifestat nobis Dominum ostendisse non posse sufficere unam uocem auditui.

16As regards questions, when the master’s voice is twice directed to the disciples, it is only right to indulge by a repetition of the question those who do not reply, 17in such a way that if the disciple remains silent at first he should not be held at fault, but it should be considered a mark of respect reserved for the master. 18In this reverence the virtuous disciple is credited with hesitating to break the silence he maintains 19in order not to overwhelm you with replies rushing from a glib tongue as soon as you state your question.

16 Nam in ipsis interrogationibus, cum repetita magistri uox repraebetur discipulis, secunda ideo interrogatio non respondentibus iuste indulgitur, 17 ut prima adhuc discipuli taciturnitas non reatui, sed reseruatae magistro reuerentiae custodia deputetur. 18 In qua reuerentia utilis discipulus tarde creditur frangere taciturnitatem, quam continet, 19 ut non ad interrogationem tuam mox praeceps in lingua suis te responsis occupet prius.

20But as regards commands, if the master must repeat his order, however slow or negligent the hearers may be, when what was first said is repeated to them a second time, it is by all means proper that the second delay be interrupted by acts of obedience. 21If however there should be a third delay on the disciple’s part—may it never happen!—it must be considered a fault, the perversity of contumacy.

20 In praeceptionibus uero ideo magistri iussio repetitur, ut, quamuis tardi aut neglegentes sint auditores, cum secundo eis dicta primitus repetuntur, usque adeo dignum est, ut secunda iam oboedientibus factis mora rumpatur. 21 Si uero tertia, quae absit ut contingat, in discipulis oboedientiae mora si fuerit, culpa contumaciae reatui deputetur.

22It is right and proper to consider here the theme of the two ways, namely, the broad road which leads to perdition, and the narrow road which leads to life. 23On these two roads proceed the various types of human obedience. 24Thus, on the broad road go men of the world and sarabaite and gyrovague monks. 25These live alone or two or three together, without a superior, on an equal footing and moving about as they please. 26Alternating in authority, taking turns in commanding one another whatever each one wishes, safeguarding for themselves whatever they individually choose—27since no one wants to be thwarted in his self-interest—such as these never banish dispute from themselves. 28Right after a violent quarrel these evilly-assembled men break up and 29wander off like a flock without a shepherd, dispersing in various directions, no doubt only to fall into the jaws of the wolf. 30It is not God who provides cells for them once again, but their self-will. Individually, on their own authority, each one for himself alone, they assume the title of abbot. And you find that there are more monasteries than monks.

22 Nam et illud de duabus uiis congrue hic et conuenienter taxandum est, id est latam, quae ducit ad interitum, et angustam, quae ducit ad uitam. 23 In quibus duabus uiis diuersorum hominum oboedientiae gradiuntur, 24 id est, per latam uiam saccularium et sarabaitarum et gyroua gorum monachorum, 25 qui aut singuli, bini et terni sine maiore ipsi sibi aequaliter uiuentes et uoluntarie ambulantes 26 et pro alterno imperio quidquid cuique placuerit sibi uicibus inuicem imperantes et quae uoluerint peculiariter in se defendentes, 27 cum in proprio unusquisque consilio non uult se uinci, scandalum sibi tales numquam faciant esse absentem. 28 Mox post studiosam litem male congregati a se inuicem separantes 29 et sicut grex sine pastore aberrans, per diuersa disparsus, sine dubio lupi faucibus occursurus, 30 prouidente sibi non Deo, sed arbitrio proprio nouas iterato cellas, et de se solo sibi soli abbatis nomine inponentes, monasteria uideas pluriora esse quam monachos.

31One may be confident that such as these walk the broad road in that, while retaining the name monk, they live in the same way as do those in the world, distinguished from them only by having the tonsure. They give obedience to their desires instead of to God. 32Trusting their own judgment they think that what is evil is allowed to them; 33whatever they want they call holy, and whatever they do not want they consider forbidden. 34They deem it proper to think about providing for their body rather than for their soul, 35in other words, that they better than anyone else can be concerned about food, clothing, and footwear for themselves. 36They recklessly fancy themselves so secure as regards the account they will have to give of their soul that, whereas they are living as monks according to their own judgment without the guidance of superiors, they think that in their cell they are perfectly observant of every law and all the justice of God. 37If perchance some superior or other, in passing by, offers them some suggestions for their improvement and tells them that this solitary manner of living is not good for them, the advice as well as the very person of the teacher immediately displeases them. 38Unmoved, they do not promise to reform by agreeing with him and heeding him, but reply that they must live all alone, 39ignoring what the prophet said: ‘Such are corrupt; they do abominable deeds’, 40and that testimony of Solomon which says: ‘There are ways which men think right, but whose end plunges into the depth of hell’.

31 In hoc enim uia lata a talibus creditur ambulari, cum in nomine monachi communi more uiuentes cum laicis, solo tunsurae habitu separati, oboedientias suas magis desideriis subministrant quam Deo, 32 et suo iudicio putant sibi licere quae mala sunt, 33 et quidquid uoluerint, hoc dicunt sanctum, et quod noluerint, hoc putant non licere, 34 et acceptum ducentes, ut cogitationibus suis corpori eorum magis prouideatur quam animae, 35 id est uictum, uestitum et calciarium magis sibi melius ipsi posse cogitare quam alium. 36 Nam de futuris ratiociniis animae neglegendo ita se reddunt securos, ut sine maiorum probationibus sub proprio arbitrio militantes, credunt se omnem legem et iustitiam Dei perfecte in cellula operari. 37 Nam si forte superuenientium quorundam maiorum cum emendationum quaedam eis monita ministrantur et inutilis eis docetur talis solitaria dispositio habitandi, mox ei displicet cum ipsa doctoris persona consilium. 38 Et statim non in consentiendo ei uel in sequendo eum emendationem promittunt, sed respondunt se uiuere debere simpliciter, 39 nescientes illud, quod dixit propheta: Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt in uoluntatibus suis, 40 et illud testimonium Salomonis, quod dicit: Sunt uiae, quae uidentur hominibus rectae, quarum finis usque ad profundum inferni demergit.

41Such as these therefore travel the broad way because wherever the foot of their desires leads them, they immediately consent to follow, 42and most willing indulgence is unhesitatingly at the service of whatever their lust craves. 43 Breaking for themselves new paths of licentiousness and self-will without a master, they enlarge the way of their life by divers kinds of forbidden pleasures, 44 and toward whatever place their delights wish to go, they direct their wanton and criminal steps. 45 They never want to realize that for the creature man, death is stationed at the entrance of delight (Acta S.Sebast.4.14), 46 and  what is said to them, ‘Do not follow your lusts; restrain your desires’ - [this] they bypass with unhearing ears

41 Ideo enim uia lata a talibus ambulatur, quia quocumque eos desideriorum duxerit pes, mox adsensu sequuntur, 42 et quidquid concupierint concupiscentiae eorum, ilico paratissimus seruit effectus. 43 Et nouas sibi licentiae calles uel liberi sine magistro arbitrii facientes, uiam uitae suae inlicitis uoluptatum diuersitatibus delatant, 44 et quacumque eorum delectationes uoluerint progredi, licentes et patibulos sibi praebeunt gressos, 45 illud semper scire nolentes, quia homini creato mors iuxta introitum delectationis posita est, 46 et quod eis dictum sit: Post concupiscentias tuas non eas et a uoluntatibus tuis auertere, surdo auditu pertranseunt.

47 Those whom love urges on to eternal life, on the contrary, take the narrow way. 48 Not living according to their own discretion or obeying their own desires and pleasures, but walking by the judgment and command of another, 49 they not only exercise self-control in the aforesaid desires and pleasures and do not want to do their own will even if they could, 50but they also submit themselves to the authority of another. Living in monasteries, they wish to have an abbot over them and not bear this title themselves, 51Certainly such as these conform to what the Lord says: ‘I have come not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me’. 52And not doing their own will, denying themselves for the sake of Christ, they follow God whithersoever the command of the abbot leads them.

47 E contrario, quibus uero ad uitam aeternam ambulandi amor incumbit, ideo angustam uiam arripiunt, 48 ut non suo arbitrio uiuentes uel desideriis suis et uoluptatibus oboedientes, sed ambulantes alieno iudicio et imperio, 49 non solum in supradictis desideriis suis et uoluptatibus coartantur et facere suum nolunt, cum possunt, arbitrium, 50 sed etiam alieno se imperio subdunt et in coenobiis degentes abbatem sibi praeesse, non nomen ipsud sibi inesse desiderant. 51 Sine dubio hii tales illam Domini imitantur sententiam, quae dicit: Non ueni facere uoluntatem meam, sed eius qui me misit. 52 Et proprium non facientes arbitrium, abnegantes propter Christum semelipsos sequuntur Deum, quocumque abbatis praeceptio duxerit.

53Furthermore, under the care of the abbot, not only are they not forced to worry about temporal necessities, that is, food, clothing and footwear, but 54solely by rendering obedience in all things to the master, they are made secure about the account they will have to give of their soul and about whatever else is profitable for both body and soul. 55This is so because, whether for good or for ill, what happens among the sheep is the responsibility of the shepherd, 56and he who gave orders is the one who will have to render an account when inquiry is made at the judgment, not he who carried out the orders, whether good or bad.

53 Et non solum de temporalibus necesariis, id est uictum, uestitum et calciarium, non coguntur sibi sub abbatis sollicitudine cogitare, sed et de futuris suae ratiociniis animae, 54 solam in omnibus praeceptori oboedientiam ministrando, de ceteris utilitatibus suis tam corporis quam animae redduntur securi, 55 quia siue bene, siue male, pastori incumbit, quod in ouibus exercetur, 56 et illum tanget in discussionis iudicio rationem reddere, qui imperauit, non qui imperata perfecit, siue bona, siue mala.

57Now, it may be said that such as these travel the narrow way, because their own desires are never put into effect at all and they do not do what they wish. 58But bearing the yoke of another’s judgment, they are restrained from going where their own pleasure would lead them, and what they themselves would choose to do or achieve is denied them by the master. 59In the monastery their will is daily thwarted for the sake of the Lord, and in the spirit of martyrdom they patiently endure whatever commands they receive to test them. 60In the monastery they will assuredly say to the Lord, with the prophet: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered’. 61And later on, at the judgment, they will likewise say to the lord: ‘You tested us, God, you refined us like silver. 62You let us fall into the net. You laid heavy burdens on our backs. 63You have set men over our heads’. 64Therefore when they say, ‘You have set men over our heads’, it is evident that they are to have over them as God’s representative a superior, whom they fear in the monastery. 65And continuing with what is stated, they will rightly say to the Lord again, this time in the next world: ‘But now the ordeal by fire and water is over, and you allow us once more to draw breath’, 66that is, ‘We have gone through the thwarting of our own will and by serving in obedience we have come to the enjoyment of your love.’

57 Ideo enim uia angusta a talibus creditur ambulari, quia propria in eis desideria minime adinplentur et non quod uolunt perficiunt, 58 sed alieni iudicii iugum trahentes, quo ire delectationibus suis uoluerint, repelluntur, et a magistro eis, quod agere aut facere uoluerint, denegatur. 59 Amaricatur uoluntati eorum cottidie in monasterio pro Domino, et ad probationem quaeque iniuncta fuerint, sustinent uelut in martyrio patienter, 60 sine dubio illud Domino cum propheta dicturi in monasterio: Propter te morti adficimur tota die, extimati sumus ut oues occisionis, 61 et item postea dicturi in iudicio Domino: Probasti nos, Deus, igne nos examinasti, sicut igne examinatur argentum. 62 Induxisti nos in laqueum. Posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro. 63 Inposuisti homines super capita nostra. 64 Cum ergo dicent: Inposuisti homines super capita nostra, noscuntur habere super se debere maiorem constitutum uice Dei, quem in monasterio timeant. 65 Et subsequentes testimonium, conuenienter item Domino dicunt in illo iam saeculo: Transiuimus per ignem et aquam, et induxisti nos in refrigerium, 66 hoc est: “Transiuimus per amaricationes uoluntatum nostrarum et seruitio oboedientiae peruenimus ad tuae refrigerium pictatis.”

67But obedience such as this will be acceptable to God and gratifying to men only if the thing commanded is done without fear, without apathy, without hesitation, without murmuring or protesting, 68because obedience offered to superiors is given to God, as the Lord says to our teachers: ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me’, 69and elsewhere he says: ‘No sooner do they hear than they obey me’. 70Obedience is such, therefore, if it is given with good will, because ‘God loves a cheerful giver’. 71The disciple obeys with ill will if he reproaches not only us verbally but God inwardly about what he does in a bad mood. 72And even though he does what he was commanded, still it will not be acceptable to God, who sees that he is murmuring in his heart. 73To repeat, even though he does what he is told, but does it in a bad mood, 74he will get no reward for doing it, for God is watching his heart right now and finds in it the wretched disposition of one who acts in this way.

67 Sed haec ipsa oboedientia tunc acceptabilis erit Deo et dulcis hominibus, si quod iubetur, non trepide, non tepide, non tarde uel cum murmurio uel cum responso nolentis efficiatur, 68 quia oboedientia, quae maioribus praebetur, Deo datur, sicut dicit Dominus doctoribus nostris: Qui uos audit, me audit, 69 et alibi dicit: Obauditu auris obaudiuit mihi; 70 ergo ipsa oboedientia si cum bono animo a discipulis praebeatur, quia hilarem datorem diligit Deus. 71 Nam cum malo animo discipulus oboedit, si non solum nobis de ore, sed et Deo de corde inproperat, quod malo animo facit. 72 Et quamuis inpleat quod ei fuerit imperatum, tamen acceptum iam non erit Deo, qui cor eius respicit murmurantem, 73 et quamuis faciat quod iubetur, tamen cum malo illud animo facit. 74 nullam ei de ipso facto mercedem Dominus inputabit, cum scrutans mox Deus corda eius, triste facientis uotum in eo inuenerit.


Question of the disciples:
The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

VIII. De tacitvrnitate discipvlorvm, qvalis et qvanta debeat esse.

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1The structure of the human race is our poor little body. 2Although it is small in stature and in some of the taller men reaches a height of scarcely five feet from the ground—3oh, the emptiness of boasting, every man living!—4despite its littleness, it thinks that by its wisdom it can measure ‘the height of the sky and the breadth of the earth’. 5So, knowing we are weak vessels made of the earth’s slime and, so to speak, clods of dirt thrown up from the earth for a short time only to fall back again into their furrow, let us as dust of the earth be made humble and admit what we are.

1 Ilumani generis macina nostrum est corpusculum, 2 et cum sit mensura paruum et in aliquantis prolixis hominibus uix quinque a terra pedibus erigatur, — 3 o iactantiae uanitas, omnis homo uiuens, — 4 in ipsa paruitate sua altitudinem caeli et latitudinem terrae putat se sua sapientia mensurare. 5 Vnde scientes nos ex limo terrae esse uasa flebilia et quasi quasdam terrae glebas ad paruum tempus erectas de terra, in suo sulcu denuo recasuras, humiliati ergo tamquam de terra puluis dicamus quod sumus.

6Therefore the flesh of our poor little body is a sort of lodging for the soul, assigned to the service of life as a sheath serves for the sword. 7We hold that the soul has its seat fixed in the root of the heart. 8This root has two main branches in the body, and these are very susceptible to sin. 9The one we may think of as a physical wall with windows through which the soul, with the eyes as the apertures, looks out, and we know that it is always inviting from within what it desires. 10In the other branch the soul echoes in us what the heart has conceived and produced, bringing it by means of the tongue to the birth of speech, so that, issuing through the door of the mouth, it demands to be heard by others. 11And whatever stirs and moves in us is the soul acting in the body.

6 Ergo haec caro corpusculi nostri quasi quaedam domus est animae, sic uitae ministerio adtributa, sicut seruit gladio theca. 7 Sedem uero ipsius animae in cordis credimus radicem fundatam. 8 Quae radix duo in corpore supremos possidet ramos et plus fragiles in peccato: 9 unum, in quo corporali muro quasi per quasdam fenestras oculorum foraminibus deintus animam credimus respicere et de intrinsecus concupiscentias suas ipsam semper intellegimus inuitare; 10 alium ramum, in quo conceptos fetos cordis ipsa in nobis sonat, parturiens per linguam eloquium, ut per portam exiens oris occupet alienum auditum. 11 Et quidquid in nobis agitatur et mouetur, animae est actus in corpore.

12On the other hand, it follows that when the soul leaves its dwelling, everything that was done in the living man by the now-departed soul ceases in the dead man. 13Soon its dead clod is returned to the earth, man’s dust reverts to the nature of dust. Man is buried in a grave, the grave is filled in again, his dust takes on again the quality of a dirt road. 14It is thus evident that this is the same dust that was in the man when he was alive, that it was held up by the firmness of the soul, and that it was temporarily transformed for transitory life. 15Therefore when the soul’s firmness in us departs, the dust of our body cannot remain erect; 16falling back into its proper nature, the earth buries in its bosom the creature which it had engendered.

12 Vnde e contrario fit, ut migrante de ipso domicilio anima, totum in mortuo homine desit, quod agebatur in uiuo ab anima, quae migrauit, 13 et mox sua terrae mortua reddita gleba, reuertens in natura terrae hominis terra, absconsoque homine in sepulchro recoperta fossa, in figura sua terra redeat pauimenti, 14 ut similis tunc fuisse terra uiuente agnoscatur in homine, quae animae fuerat rigore erecta et peregrinae uitae mutata ad tempus; 15 ideo animae in nobis migrante rigore, stare non potest nostri corporis terra, 16 sed cadens in naturam suam abscondat in sinu suo terra facturam, quam genuit.

17So if this soul in us activates the seeing of the eyes, the speaking of the mouth, the hearing of the ears, and, 18because it will some day be called to account by its maker, desires to obey the will of God and while in this life to serve under his command, 19it must close the windows of the eyes to its cravings and lower its gaze, fixing it on the ground. 20It must do this so that it does not see evil; when our eyes are cast down, the soul will not yearn for whatever it sees.

17 Ergo si haec anima in nobis oculorum uisum, oris eloquium, aurium agit auditum, 18 et cupit propter futuram discussionem factoris sui uoluntati Dei obtemperare et eius, dum uiuit, militare praeceptis, 19 claudat concupiscentiis suis oculorum fenestras et humiliatos declinet in terra aspectos, 20 ut mala non uideat, et cum curuatus fuerit noster obtutus, nec quaecumque niderit anima concupiscit.

21Thus our soul has in place its door the mouth, and its lock, the teeth, which it closes to depraved speech so the soul may not offer the excuse that its maker did not in any way provide it with defenses for its protection. 22In other words, when some sin arises from the root of the heart and sees that its exit is blocked by the enclosure of the outside wall, namely, the mouth and the teeth, 23returning again to the root of the heart it perishes there as a miscarriage and is dashed upon the rock while yet young instead of being born of the tongue and growing up to be punished.

21 Habet deinde anima nostra constitutam portam oris et seram dentium, quam prauo claudat eloquio, — ut non excuset anima factorem suum muniminum sibi minime custodiam fabricasse, — 22 id est ut, cum promouerit a cordis radice aliquod peccatum et senserit se exterioris muri clusura, id est oris et dentium, sibi exitum denegari, 23 reuertens denuo ad radicem cordis, ibi pereat in auortione sua et ut paruulus adlidatur ad petram, quam nascendo per linguam crescat ad poenam.

24As to the other branches of our body which are subject to the rule of the heart, they are easily restrained from sin, that is, touching with the hands and walking with the feet, 25because shackling in chains holds the thief in check, and fear of judgment the murderer, and hobbling restrains the fugitive.

24 Alios uero ramos corporis nostri, qui imperio cordis deseruiunt, a peccato facile refrenantur, id est tactus manuum et gressus pedum, 25 quia et furem clusura catenae et homicidam timenda refrenant iudicia et fugacem retinet peduca.

26Therefore the three faculties we referred to above, that is, thought, speech and sight, must be very carefully kept under guard so that as soon as an evil thought takes hold of the mind, the brethren should immediately sign themselves on the forehead, and the breast too, and not delay in recalling the precepts of Christ. 28And let the brother say to himself with the prophet: ‘I remembered God and I was consoled’. 29And again he says: ‘By you I shall be delivered from temptation, and by the help of my God I shall leap over the wall’.

26 Ergo illa, quae superius diximus, tria suprema cautius debent a fratribus custodiri, id est cogitatio, eloquium et aspectum, 27 [cogitatio:] ut mox captiuauerit mentem mala cogitatio, signata statim a fratribus sua fronte uel ipsum pectus, mox ad praecepta Christi suam conuertant memoriam. 28 Et dicat sibi frater cum propheta: Memor fui Dei et consolatus sum. 29 Et item dicat: A te eripiar a temptatione et in Deo meo transgrediar murum.

30But if negligence has put angry or depraved or vain speech into the mouth, the brother, immediately closing his mouth and sealing it with a sign of the cross, will say to himself in his heart, 31speaking with the prophet: ‘I said, “I will watch my ways, so as not to sin with my tongue; I will set a curb on my mouth”. “I remained silent and was profoundly humbled, and I refrained from saying even good things”’. 32In other words, the prophet shows that if at times one should refrain from good speech for the sake of silence, much more should one avoid evil words because of punishment for sin. 33Therefore, although permission to engage in good and holy and edifying conversation may be granted to perfect disciples, 34though rarely because of the dignity of silence, brothers who have not been asked anything should suppress in silence talk of any other kind until the curb on their muted mouth has been removed by a question from the abbot. 35To repeat, silence must be most carefully kept by the brothers because ‘Where words are many, sin is not wanting’. 36Therefore ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’. 37It befits the master to speak and to teach; the disciple should be silent and listen.

30 Si uero eloquium iracundum aut prauum aut uanum neglegentia ori armauerit, mox clauso ore et signato crucis sigillo, in corde sibi frater loquatur, 31 dicens cum propheta: Dixi, custodiam uias meas, ut non delinquam in lingua mea. Posui ori meo custodiam. Obmutui et humiliatus sum nimis et silui a bonis, 32 hoc est, ostendit propheta, si a bonis eloquiis propter taciturnitatem debet interdum taceri, quanto magis a malis uerbis propter peccati poenam debet cessari. 33 Ergo quamuis de bonis et sanctis et aedificationum eloquiis perfectis discipulis propter taciturnitatis grauitatem rara loquendi concedatur licentia, 34 tamen ab aliis uerbis non interrogati fratres tamdiu in taciturnitate siliscant, quamdiu taciti frena oris eorum abbatis interrogratione laxentur. 35 Ideo namque taciturnitas debet magnopere fratribus custodiri, quia in multiloquio non effugitur peccatum. 36 Et ideo mors et uita in manibus linguae. 37 Nam loqui et docere magistrum condecet, tacere et audire discipulum conuenit.


Question of the disciples:
The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

VIIII. Qvo ordine tacentes fratres aliqvas interrogationes faciant abbati.

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1Since the disciples are restrained from both evil and good speech by the curb of silence, and since the avenues of their unrestricted freedom are kept under surveillance by the master who is present, 2when any necessary and advantageous questions arise, the disciples, 3with head bowed in humility, are to remain standing before the superior, their mouth closed and stamped with the seal of gravity, until with the key of Benedicite they open their mouth which has been closed in silence. 4If at the first Benedicite requesting leave to talk, the master’s permission be not yet given, 5the disciple, again bowing his head and repeating only the Benedicite, is to ask permission of the abbot a second time. 6But if even so he gets no reply from him, let the disciple again bow in humility and at this point let him, the brother, withdraw, 7lest it seem to the abbot that he is too insistent or presumptuous. 8Having returned to his work, let him continue to play his part as a man of silence, 9in quiet humility thinking that in the abbot’s judgment he was deemed unworthy to speak. 10Or again, let the disciple think that perhaps the enclosure of silence was not opened for him in order to test and gauge his humility.

1 Cum de malis tamque bonis eloquiis freno taciturnitatis constringuntur discipuli et licentiae eorum aditus praesentis magistri custodia obseruantur, 2 cum necessariae utilitati eorum aliquae interrogationes aduenerint, 3 adhuc clauso ore et signato tacite grauitatis sigillo, stantes ante maiorem inclinato humilitatis capite, clausum in silentio os claue benedictionis aperiant. 4 Quod si semel dictae benedictioni ad postulandum eloquium adhuc non respondeat magistri permissio, 5 iterata humiliatio capitis et benedictione sola iterum repetita denuo ab abbate postuletur licentia. 6 Quod si nec sic ab eo responsum fuerit, curuato item in humilitate discipulo, iam ipse frater se tunc demum remoueat, 7 ne aut nimius ei aut appareat inprobus, 8 et suo operi redditus adhuc gerat personam tacentis, 9 ut in ipsa humilitate taciturnitatis extimet semetipsum indignum iudicatum ad loquendum abbatis iudicio, 10 aut forte ad probationem inueniendae humilitatis putet sibi discipulus taciturnitatis ideo fuisse non aperta clusura.

11The reason we have said that only the Benedicite should be repeated a second time is that, even when this is said alone with nothing added, silence is nevertheless maintained; 12when it is repeated and departure follows quickly upon refusal, one should feel that humility thus tested has been preserved. 13Now, the disciple’s repetition is presented to the master 14not solely to enable the master to remain silent for a long while as a spiritual test to gauge the humility of the disciple, 15but so that, though physically present, he will not with deaf ears fail to pay attention to the voice of the disciple asking, because his mind is preoccupied and his regard averted because he is overwhelmed by other thoughts; 16and so that the disciple may not, by his excessive and importunate humility, provoke the master to give way to the vice of anger, 17thus making the humility of a troublesome person the occasion for offense.

11 Ideo enim ipsam solam benedictionem denuo diximus repetiri, ut cum sola est et sine alio eloquio, tamen reseruata diu taciturnitas conseruetur, 12 cum denuo repetitur et post ipsam mox a nolente disceditur, adhuc conseruari probata humilitas sentiatur.13 Nam ideo repetitio discipuli reoffertur magistro, 14 ut non solum propter spiritalem probationem ad inueniendam humilitatem discipuli diu possit tacere magister, 15 sed ne et corporaliter per cogitatum animo occupatus, uultus eius aliis cogitationibus obstupescens uocem praecantis discipuli surdis auribus praetermittat, 16 et ne ipsum magistrum per nimiam et inportunam humilitatem in irae cogat uitio declinare 17 et inportuni humilitas in inpedimento scandali deputetur.

18This is why we said that after the second Benedicite a third should not be added if the Superior does not consent, 19but the disciple should promptly withdraw and in silence finish the work he was doing.

18 Ideo enim diximus post secundam suggestam benedictionem nolenti maiori tertiam iam non repetiri debere, 19 sed mox discipulum exinde debere discedere et cum ipsa taciturnitate opus laboris, quod faciebat, debere perficere.

20The disciples are to do such questioning by means of the Benedicite—the only relaxation of silence conceded, and this reluctantly—with head bowed in humility. 21This applies everywhere and at all times, which means, in the monastery, in the fields, on the road, in the garden, and any place whatever, 22so that the thought of God, for whose sake all this is done, may never be absent from our mind. 23If someone not aware of the situation perchance asks his brother, ‘Why are you silent and sad, and going about with downcast face?’ 24he will reply, ‘Because I flee from sin and fear God, and so that I may be on my guard against everything that God hates. This is why I always keep close watch over myself.’ 25When seated at table, however, if someone wishes to let the abbot know that he has questions, 26before saying the Benedicite he should knock with his knife or spoon or bread to indicate to the master the disciple’s desire to speak.

20 Haec interrogatio benedictionis, quae uix sola de taciturnitate laxatur, cum inclinatione humiliati capitis a discipulis praebeatur, 21 id est in omni loco per omnem horam, hoc est in monasterio, in agro, in uia, in horto uel in quouis loco, 22 ut numquam desit menti nostrae memoria Dei, propter quem aguntur haec omnia, 23 ut cum forte aliquis ignarus talem fratrem interrogauerit dicens: “Quare tacitus et tristis es et inclinato ambulans uultu?” 24 respondeat ei: “Quia fugio peccatum et timeo Deum et ut custodiam me ab omne quod odit Deus, ideo sum mihi semper sollicitus.” 25 Ad mensam uero sedentes, si interrogationes suas abbati uoluerint intimare, 26 ante benedictionem dictam cultelli aut coclearii aut panis percussura indicium sit magistro discipuli postulantis eloquium.

27We have prescribed that all this, necessary to the soul for God’s sake, is to be observed with such a strict safeguarding of silence 28in order that no one be too easily misled by forgetfulness and ever be quick with his tongue. 29For when silence is hedged in by the enclosing wall of the mouth, what should be long-considered and cleansed in the heart can then issue pure and sinless from the mouth. 30As the apostle says: ‘Guard against foul talk; let your words be for the improvement of others’. 31And it is likewise written: ‘The wise man is known by the fewness of his words’. 32So we must greatly fear and at all times guard against much talking 33because where words are many it is impossible to prevent some that are sinful from coming out, 34according to what is written: ‘A flood of words is never without its fault’. 35So the prophet too, giving us a norm, shows that he is careful in this matter and that silence must be kept whether the words are evil or good, 36saying: ‘I said, “I will watch my ways, so as not to sin with my tongue; I have set a curb on my mouth. I kept dumb and refrained even from good words.”’ 37Thus it is made clear to the perfect disciple that he must refrain from both evil and good words, 38because even though what is to be said may be good, teaching belongs not to the disciples but to the master. 39For, as Scripture again says: ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue’. 40Therefore it must be very carefully and rightfully kept in check.

27 Haec omnia animae pro Deo necessaria ideo sub tanta taciturnitatis constituimus clusura seruari, 28 ut ab obliuione quis non decipiatur tam facile et praeceps sit semper in lingua. 29 Nam cum per clusuram oris taciturnitas continetur, diu tractetur uel purgetur in corde, quod possit mundum et sine peccato de ore proferri, 30 dicente apostolo: Omne uerbum uanum de ore uestro non procedat, sed si quis est ad aedificationem. 31 Et item dicit scribtura: Sapiens paucis innotescit. 32 Et maxime timere ideo et omni hora nos a multiloquiis custodire debemus, 33 quia non potest fieri ut inter multa uerba aliquanta non exeant cum peccato, 34 secundum scribturam dicentem: In mulliloquio non effugitur peccatum. 35 Vnde et propheta, tradens nobis formam, ostendit se de his esse sollicitum et tam a malis quam a bonis eloquiis debere tacere, 36 dicens: Dixi, custodiam uias meas, ut non peccem in lingua mea. Posui ori meo custodiam. Obmututi et tacui etiam a bonis, 37 hoc est, ostenditur perfecto discipulo tam de malis quam de bonis eloquiis debere taceri, 38 quia etsi loquenda sunt bona eloquia, non discipulis sed magistro debetur doctrina. 39 Nam et sicut dicit scribtura: Vita et mors in manibus linguae. 40 Diligenter ergo et iuste debet ipsa amplius refrenari.

41So it is with good reason that such strict custody and observance of silence is demanded of the perfect and the pure of heart and those cleansed from sin, who fear the everlasting fires of hell and seek the immortal treasures of eternal life. 42Therefore when the abbot is present, only the disciples who have been asked may speak. 43When the abbot is not present, they may converse if it is about the word of God, but quietly and humbly, not with a loud voice, for speaking quietly always proceeds from humility. 44But if the disciples begin to speak about frivolous or worldly matters or anything that has no reference to God, their deans must immediately impose silence upon them. 45Psalms and Scriptures the brothers may, however, be permitted to rehearse by heart to themselves while they are working, outside the three hours daily when there is reading and not work.

41 Hanc enim tantam taciturnitatis districtam custodiam perfectis et puris corde et mundis a peccato, timentibus perpetua gehennae incendia et quaerentibus uitae aeternae diuitias inmortales, merito praecipitur obseruanda. 42 Ideoque praesente abbate non loquantur nisi interrogati discipuli. 43 Absente uero abbate, si de uerbo Dei, sibi tamen lente et humiliter, non clamosa uoce loquantur, quia omnis lente locutio ab humilitate descendit. 44 Si uero de inanibus aut de saecularibus uel quibusuis uerbis, quae ad Deum non pertinent, incoauerint discipuli loqui, mox a praepositis suis eis imperetur silentium. 45 Psalmos uero uel scribturas extra illas tres horas, in quibus cottidie sine labore tanget legi, et sic laborantes fratres recensere sibi ex animo permittantur.

46Above we prescribed a very strict enclosure of silence in the abbot’s presence for those who are perfect in the sight of God, 47those who are never caught forgetful of God and who earnestly seek to guard against vices of the tongue, wholly pure as the angels, and who endeavor to refrain from good as well as evil speech for the Lord’s sake. 48But since grace in its diversity, granted according to the measure of faith, can be weakened especially in the negligent, we make this concession to the tepid and imperfect and to those unconcerned about themselves: 49when they wish to inquire about profane matters which have nothing to do with spiritual edification, and provided no sin is involved, at most they may take the liberty of speaking only if permission is granted after a blessing has been asked, 50If the question is about something spiritual, however, the disciple should speak immediately after asking a blessing. 51But we condemn by total exclusion any buffoonery and idle talk and such as causes laughter, and we do not permit the disciple to open his mouth for such words.

46 Hanc uero tantam taciturnitatis clusuram superius praesente abbate de perfectis apud Deum taxauimus, 47 his quibus numquam de Deo obliuio subripit et uitiis oris quaerunt diligenter cauere ut ex toto mundi uelut angeli, et a bonis et a malis eloquiis quaerunt tacere pro Domino. 48 Sed quia diuersitas concessae gratiae secundum mensuram fidei maxime in neglegentibus poterit minorari, tepidis et inperfectis et minus in se sollicitis hoc relaxamus, 49 ut de saecularibus inquirendis, dumtaxat sine peccato aliquid, quae ad aedificationem spiritalem non pertinent, nisi petita benedictione fuerit magis concessa permissio, loquendi licentia non sumatur, 50 de aliquo uero spiritali interrogando sermone post benedictionem petitam mox loqui debere discipulum. 51 Scurrilitates uero uel uerba otiosa et risum mouentia aeterna clusura damnamus et ad talia eloquia discipulum non aperire os permittimus.

c10,HUMILITY (cf. RB

Question of the disciples:

The Lord has replied through the master:

Interrogatio discipulorum:

X. De hvmilitate fratrvm, qvalis debeat esse vel qvibvs modis adqviritvr vel qvomodo adqvisita servatvr.

Respondit Dominus per magistrum:


1Holy Scripture cries out to us, brothers, saying: ‘Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted’(Luke 14:11; 18:14). 2In saying this, therefore, it makes clear to us that all exaltation is a kind of pride. 3The prophet shows that he was on his guard against this, saying: ‘O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor are my eyes haughty’(Ps 131:1). And he continues in the same vein: ‘I do not busy myself with great things, nor with things too sublime for me’. 4But what ‘if I was not humble minded, if I exalted my soul? Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so will you requite my soul’ (Ps 131:2).

1 Clamat nobis scribtura diuina, fratres, dicens: Omnis qui se exaltat, humiliabitur, et omnis qui se humiliat, exaltabitur. 2 Cum haec ergo dicit, ostendit nobis omnem exaltationem genus esse superbiae. 3 Quod se cauere propheta indicat, dicens: Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum neque elati sunt oculi mei. Et item repetit: Neque ambulaui in magnis neque in mirabilibus super me. 4 Sed quid si non humiliter sentiebam, si exaltaui animam meam? Sicut ablactatum super matrem suam, ita retribues in animam meam.

RM 10.5 Jacob's Ladder represents present life rises to heaven by the rungs of the heavenly ladder

(cf RB 7.5: Jacob's Ladder)

5 So, brothers, if we wish to reach the summit of supreme humility and if we would arrive swiftly at that heavenly exaltation to which one rises by the humility of the present life, we must, 6by our deeds mounting up, erect that ladder which, raised to heaven, appeared to Jacob in a dream and on which angels descending and ascending were shown to him (Gen. 28:12). 7We do not doubt that this going down and up has no other purpose than to show that exaltation descends and humility ascends.

5 Vnde, fratres, si summae humilitatis uolumus culmen adtingere et ad exaltationem illam caelestem, ad quam per praesentis uitae humilitatem ascenditur, uolumus uelociter peruenire, 6 actibus nostris ascendentibus scala illa erigenda est, quae erecta in caelum in somnio Jacob apparuit, per quam ei descendentes et ascendentes angeli monstrabantur. 7 Non aliud sine dubio descensus ille et ascensus a nobis intellegitur, nisi exaltationem descendere et ascendere humilitatem ostendit.

8Now, this ladder set up is our life in the world, and with heart and head made humble in this, its present time, it lifts up to heaven its last end, death, exalted by the Lord. 9We hold as absolutely certain that the sides of this ladder are our body and soul, into which sides God’s call has inserted various rungs of humility and discipline which must be climbed. 8 Scala uero ipsa erecta nostra est uita in saeculo, quae humiliato corde et capite suo in praesenti hoc tempore, exaltatum a Domino mortis exitum erigat ad caelum. 9 Latera enim eius scalae certissime credimus nostrum esse corpus et anima, in qua latera diuersos grados humilitatis uel disciplinae euocatio diuina ascendendos inseruit.

10The disciple, then, mounts the first rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if, having the fear of God always before his eyes, he at all times shuns forgetfulness and is ever mindful of all that God has commanded, 11thus constantly pondering in his mind how hell burns because of their sins those who despise the Lord, and what eternal life has in store for those who fear God. 12And at all times keeping himself from sins and vices, of thought, tongue, hands, feet and self-will, as also from the desires of the flesh, 13let the disciple be sure that God is always, at every moment, looking at him from heaven and that his deeds are everywhere kept in view by the Divinity and are all reported day after day by the angels.

10 Primum itaque humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si timorem Dei sibi ante oculos semper ponens, obliuionem omni hora fugiat 11 et semper sit memor omnia, quae praecepit Deus, ut quomodo et gehenna contemnentes Dominum de peccatis incendat, et uita aeterna quid timentibus Deum praeparet, animo suo semper reuoluat. 12 Et custodiens se omni hora a peccatis et uitiis, id est cogitationum, linguae, manuum, peduum uel uoluntatis propriae sed et desideria carnis, 13 extimet se discipulus a Deo semper de caelis respici omni hora et facta sua omni loco ab aspectu diuinitatis uideri et ab angelis omnia renuntiari cottidie.

14The prophet makes this clear to us when he shows that God is thus always present to our thoughts, when he says: ‘God searches hearts and souls’, 15And again he says: ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of men, and how empty they are’. 16He also says: ‘You have understood my thoughts from far away’. 17Likewise: ‘For the thought of man shall give you praise, 18and ‘the heart of the king is in the hand of God’. 19So in order to be on his guard against the perverse thoughts of his heart, let the virtuous brother always tell himself this in his heart: ‘Then shall I be spotless in his presence if I have kept myself from my iniquity’.

14 Demonstrans nobis propheta, cum in cogitationibus nostris ita Deum semper esse praesentem ostendit, dicens: Scrutans corda et renes Deus. 15 Et item dicit: Dominus nouit cogitationes hominum, quoniam uanae sunt. 16 Et item dicit: Intellexisti cogitationes meas a longe. 17 Et item dicit: Quia cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi, 18 et cor regis in manu Dei. 19 Nam ut sollicitus sit aduersus cogitationes cordis sui peruersas, dicat sibi semper utilis frater in corde hoc: Tunc ero inmaculatus coram eo, si obseruauero me ab iniquitate mea.

20We understand, moreover, that God is always present when the tongue speaks, since the voice of the Lord says through the prophet: ‘He who speaks falsehood shall not stand before my eyes’. 21And likewise the apostle says: ‘You shall give account of every idle word’, 22because ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’.

20 Ad linguae uero eloquia ita nobis agnoscimus Deum semper esse praesentem, cum dicit per prophetam uox Domini: Qui loquitur iniqua, non direxit in conspectu oculorum meorum. 21 Et item dicit apostolus: De uerbo uano reddetis rationem, 22 quia mors et uita in manibus linguae posita est.

23Furthermore, we understand that God is present at our manual labor, since the prophet says: ‘Your eyes have seen my unfinished work’.

23 In opere uero manuum nostrarum ita agnoscimus Deum nobis esse praesentem, cum dicit propheta: Inperfectum meum uiderunt oculi tui.

24Then as regards walking with our feet, we understand that God is always present, since the prophet says: ‘Without iniquity have I run and directed my steps. 25Rise up to meet me, and behold’. 26And again he says: ‘Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? 27If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I sink down to hell, you are present there. 28If I take wing before dawn, if I settle at the furthest limits of the sea, 29even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me up’.

24 In gressu uero peduum nostrorum ita agnoscimus Deum nobis semper esse praesentem, cum dicit propheta: Sine iniquitatem cucurri et dirigebam. 25 Exurge in occursum mihi et uide. 26 Et item dicit: Quo ibo ab spiritu tuo et quo a facie tua fugiam? 27 Si ascendero in caelum, tu illic es, si descendero in infernum, ades. 28 Si sumpsero pinnas meas ante lucem et habitauero in postremis maris, 29 etenim illuc manus tua deducet me et tenebit me dextera tua.

30And as to our own will, we are forbidden to do it in the Lord’s presence, for Scripture tells us: ‘Keep your desires in check’. 31And we also ask the Lord in the Our Father that his will be done in us. 32So we are properly taught not to do our own will, when we take heed of what Holy Scripture says: ‘There are ways which men think right, but whose end sinks into the depth of hell’, 33and likewise when we fear what is said of the negligent: ‘They are corrupt and have become abominable in their desires’.

30 Voluntatem uero propriam ita, praesente Domino, facere prohibemur, cum dicit scribtura nobis: Et a uoluntatibus tuis auertere. 31 Et item rogamus Dominum in oratione dominica, ut fiat illius uoluntas in nobis. 32 Docemur ergo merito nostram non facere uoluntatem, cum cauemus illud, quod dicit sancta scribtura: Sunt uiae, quae putantur ab hominibus rectae, quarum finis usque ad profundum inferni demergit, 33 et cum item pauemus illud, quod de neglegentibus dictum est: Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt in uoluntatibus suis.

34So too regarding desires of the flesh, we believe that God is always present, for the prophet says: ‘O Lord, all my desire is before you’. 35Therefore every evil desire must be shunned, because death is stationed at the entrance of delight. 36So Scripture commands, saying: ‘Do not go after your lusts’.

34 In desideriis uero carnis ita nobis Deum credimus semper esse praesentem, cum dicit propheta: Domine, et ante te omne desiderium meum. 35 Cauendum uero ideo malum desiderium, quia mors secus introitum delectationis posita est. 36 Vnde scribtura praecepit dicens: Post concupiscentias tuas non eas.

37Consequently, if the eyes of the Lord keep watch over the good and the evil, 38and ‘the Lord is always looking down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there be one who is wise and seeks God’, 39and if whatever we do is reported to the Lord daily, day and night, by the angels assigned to us, 40we must always be on our guard, brothers, as the prophet says in Psalm 13, lest the Lord sometime see us turning to evil and becoming perverse, and lest, 41sparing us in this present time because he is loving and waits for our conversion, he says to us in the judgment to come: ‘You did these things, and I was silent’.

37 Ergo si oculi Domini speculantur bonos et malos 38 et Dominus de caelo semper respicit super filios hominum, ut uideat si est intellegens aut requirens Deum, 39 et si a deputatis angelis nostris cottidie die noctuque Domino factorum nostrorum operae nuntiantur, 40 cauendum est ergo omni hora, fratres, sicut dicit in psalmo XIII propheta, ne nos declinantes in malo et inutiles factos aliqua hora aspiciat Dominus 41 et parcendo nobis in hoc tempore, quia pius est et spectat nos conuerti in melius, dicat nobis in futuro iudicio: Haec fecisti et tacui.

42Then the disciple mounts the second rung of humility on the heavenly ladder if, not loving his own will, he does not delight in fulfilling his own desires, 43but by his deeds he conforms to what the Lord says: ‘I have come not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me’. 44And it is likewise written: ‘The will gets its own punishment, but constraint provides a crown’.

42 Deinde secundum humilitatis gradum in scala caelesti ascendit discipulus, si propriam non amans uoluntatem, desideria sua non delectetur inplere, 43 sed uocem illam Domini factis imitetur dicentis: Non ueni facere uoluntatem meam, sed huius qui me misit. 44 Et item dicit scribtura: Voluntas habet poenam et necessitas parit coronam.

45Then the disciple mounts the third rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if, having taken nothing on himself by his own judgment, he chooses what may not be to his advantage. 46As Scripture says: ‘There are ways which men think right, but whose end plunges into the depth of hell’. 47And David likewise says: ‘They are corrupt and have become abominable in their desires’. 48The apostle too says: ‘For me there are no forbidden things’, perhaps not, but not everything does good. I agree there are no forbidden things for me, but I am not going to let anything dominate me. 49Therefore the disciple must not only be on his guard against such things, but must submit in complete obedience to the superior, imitating the Lord, about whom the apostle says: ‘He became obedient unto death’. 50So too the voice of the Lord praises the gentiles for such obedience, saying: ‘No sooner do they hear than they obey me’. 51The Lord as well shows that we obey him when we are subject to the abbot, for he says to our teachers: ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me, and anyone who rejects you rejects me’.

45 Deinde tertium humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si postquam nihil suo iudicio praesumens eligat quae non expediant, 46 dicente scribtura: Sunt uiae, quae uidentur hominibus rectae, quarum finis usque in profundum inferni demergit, 47 et item dicit Dauid: Corrupti sunt et abominabiles facti sunt in uoluntalibus suis. 48 Item dicit apostolus: Omnia licent, sed non omnia expediunt. Omnia mihi licent, sed ego sub nullius redigar potestate. 49 Ergo non solum cauens haec discipulus, sed et omni oboedientia se subdat maiori, imitans Dominum, de quo dicit apostolus: Factus est oboediens usque ad mortem. 50 Et item uox Domini laudat de hac oboedientia populum gentilium, dicens: Obauditu auris obaudiuit mihi. 51 Et sub abbate sibi nos Dominus obaudire demonstrat, cum dicit doctoribus nostris: Qui uos audit, me audit, et qui uos spernit, me spernit.

52Then the disciple mounts the fourth rung of humility on the heavenly ladder if, in this obedience, even though difficulties and contradictions and all kinds of wrongs are inflicted upon him, 53he clings in silence to the steadfastness of patience and in his endurance neither grows weary nor runs away. As Scripture says: ‘The man who stands firm to the end will be saved’, 54so also the prophet admonishes us in this regard, saying: ‘Be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord’. 55And showing that the faithful must bear with all things, even contradictions, the prophet says in the person of the suffering: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered’. 56And confident in their expectation of a divine reward, they continue, rejoicing: ‘These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us’. 57Similarly elsewhere Scripture says in the person of these same: ‘You have tested us, God, you have refined us like silver. You let us fall into the net. You laid heavy burdens on our backs’. 58And to show that we are to be subject to a superior, the text continues: ‘You have set men over our heads’. 59Furthermore, fulfilling the Lord’s command, through patience in adversities and wrongs, when struck on one cheek they offer the other, when robbed of their tunic they give up their cloak as well, when forced to go one mile they go two. 60With the apostle Paul they bear with false brothers and suffer persecution, and those who curse them they bless in return.

52 Deinde quartum humilitatis gradum in scala caelesti ascendit discipulus, si in ipsa oboedientia duris et contrariis rebus uel etiam quibus libet inrogatis iniuriis, tacite patientiae constantiam amplectatur, 53 et sustinens non lassescat uel discedat, dicente scribtura: Qui perseuerauerit usque in finem, hic saluus erit. 54 Et item de tali re hortatur nos propheta, dicens: Confortetur cor tuum et sustine Dominum. 55 Et ostendens fidelem pro Domino uniuersa etiam contraria sustinere debere, per sufferentium dicit propheta personas: Propter te morti adficimur tota die, extimati sumus ut oues occisionis. 56 Et securi de spe retributionis diuinae, subsequuntur gaudentes ac dicentes: Sed in his omnibus superamus propter eum, qui dilexit nos. 57 Et item in alio loco scribtura ex ipsorum persona dicit: Probasti nos, Deus, igne nos examinasti, sicut igne examinatur argentum. Induxisti nos in laqueum. Posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro. 58 Et ut ostendat nos sub maiore esse debere, subsequitur dicens: Inposuisti homines super capita nostra. 59 Sed et praeceptum Domini in aduersis et iniuriis per patientiam adinplentes, qui percussi in maxillam praebunt aliam, sublatae lunicae dimittunt et pallium, angarizati miliario uadunt duo, 60 cum Paulo apostolo falsos fratres sustinent et persecutionem sufferent et maledicentes se magis benedicent.

61Then the disciple mounts the fifth rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if, making humble vocal confession, he does not conceal from his abbot any evil thoughts that come into his heart or sins that he has secretly committed. 62Scripture exhorts us in this regard, saying: ‘Commit your way to the Lord and trust in him’. 63And again it says: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever’. 64So also the prophet says to the Lord: ‘I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I did not cover. 65I said: “I will confess my faults to the Lord,” and immediately you took away the guilt of my heart’.

61 Deinde quintum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si omnes cogitationes malas cordi suo aduenientes uel mala a se absconse conmissa per humilem linguae confessionem abbatem non celauerit suum. 62 Hortans nos de hac re scribtura, dicens: Reuela ad Dominum uiam tuam et spera in cum. 63 Et item dicit: Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonum est, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius. 64 Et item propheta Domino dicit: Delictum meum cognitum tibi feci et iniustitias meas non operui. 65 Dixi: pronuntiabo aduersus me iniustitias meas Domino, et mox tu remisisti impietatem cordis mei.

66Then the disciple mounts the sixth rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if he is content with the meanest and worst of everything and considers himself a bad workman, unworthy of anything offered to him, 67telling himself with the prophet: ‘I was stupid and did not understand. I was like a brute beast in your presence. Yet I shall always be with you’.

66 Deinde sextum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si omni uilitate uel extremitate contentus sit et ad omnia, quae sibi praebentur, uelut operarium malum se iudicet et indignum, 67 dicens sibi cum propheta: Ad nihilum redactus sum et nesciui. Vt iumentum factus sum apud te et ego semper tecum.

68Then the disciple mounts the seventh rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if he not only declares aloud that he is lower and more worthless than everyone else, but also believes this in the depths of his heart, 69humbling himself and saying: ‘But I am a worm, not a man; the scorn of men, despised by the people. 70I was exalted, only to be humbled and confounded’. 71And a brother such as this should always say to the Lord: ‘It is good for me, Lord, that you have humbled me, that I may learn your commandments’.

68 Deinde septimum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si omnibus se inferiorem et uiliorem non solum sua lingua pronuntiet, sed etiam intimo cordis credat affectu, 69 humilians se et dicens: Ego autem sum uermis et non homo, obprobrium hominum et abiectio plebis. 70 Exallatus sum et humiliatus sum et confusus. 71 Et item semper dicat talis frater Domino: Bonum mihi est, Domine, quod humiliasti me, ut discam mandata tua.

72Then the disciple mounts the eighth rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if he does nothing except what is sanctioned by the common rule of the monastery and the example of the superiors, 73saying with Scripture: ‘For I meditate on your law’, 74and ‘When he asks his father, he will teach him, and his elders will speak to him’, which means, the abbot by his teaching.

72 Deinde octabum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si nihil agat, nisi quod communis monasterii regula uel maiorum cohortantur exempla, 73 dicens cum scribtura: Quia lex tua meditatio mea est, 74 et cum interrogat patrem suum adnuntiabit ei, seniores suos et dicent ei, id est per suam doctrinam abbas.

75Then the disciple mounts the ninth rung of humility the ladder of heaven if he forbids his tongue to speak and on keeps silence, saying nothing until he is asked. 76For Scripture shows that ‘where words are many, sin is not wanting’, 77and that ‘a man full of words will not prosper on earth’.

75 Deinde nonum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si linguam ad loquendum prohibeat et taciturnitatem habens, usque ad interrogationem non loquatur, 76 monstrante scribtura quia in multiloquio non effugies peccatum, 77 et quia uir linguosus non dirigetur super terram.

78Then the disciple mounts the tenth rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if he does not easily and quickly laugh, for it is written: ‘A fool laughs at the top of his voice’, 79and ‘Like the crackling of thorns under a cauldron is the laughter of man’.

78 Deinde decimum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si non sit facilis ac promptus in risu, quia scribtum est: Stultus in risu exaltat uocem suam, 79 et sicut spinarum crepitantium sub olla uox, ita et risus hominis.

80Then the disciple mounts the eleventh rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if when he speaks he does it softly and without laughter, humbly, with dignity, saying few and holy words, and not in a loud voice. 81It is written: ‘The wise man is known by the fewness of his words’.

80 Deinde undecimum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si cum loquitur, leniter et sine risu, humiliter cum grauitate uel pauca uerba et sancta loquatur et non sit clamosus in uoce, 81 sicut scribtum est: Sapiens paucis uerbis innotescit.

82Then the disciple goes up the twelfth rung of humility on the ladder of heaven if his humility is no longer only in his heart but always manifest even in his body to those who see him, 83that is to say, at the Work of God, in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road, in the fields and any place whatever, whether he is sitting, walking or standing still, with head always bowed, his gaze fixed on the ground, 84at all times conscious that he is guilty because of his sins, imagining that he is already appearing at the fearful judgment. 85Let him constantly say to himself in his heart what the publican, standing before the temple with his eyes fixed on the ground, said: ‘Lord, I, a sinner, am not worthy to raise my eyes to heaven’. 86And let a disciple such as this likewise tell himself with the prophet: ‘I am bowed down and utterly humiliated’.

82 Deinde duodecimum humilitatis gradum in scala caeli ascendit discipulus, si et iam non solo corde, sed etiam ipso corpore humilitatem uidentibus se semper indicet, 83 id est in opere Dei, in oratorio, in monasterio, in horto, in uia, in agro uel ubicumque, sedens, ambulans uel stans, inclinato semper capite, defixis in terra aspectibus, 84 reum se omni hora de peccatis suis existimans, iam se tremendo iudicio repraesentari existimet, 85 dicens sibi in corde semper illud, quod publicanus ante templum stans, fixis in terra oculis, dixit: Domine, non sum dignus, ego peccator, leuare oculos meos ad caelos. 86 Et item cum propheta dicat sibi talis discipulus: Incuruatus sum et humiliatus sum usquequaque.


cf RB

87 Therefore when the disciple completes the ascent of all these rungs of humility he will, in the fear of God, successfully scale the ladder of his life and 88soon come to that love of the Lord which, when perfect, casts out fear, 89whereby all that he previously observed not without fear, he will begin to keep without any effort, as though naturally out of habit, 90no longer because of fear of hell, but out of very love for this good habit and because of delight in virtue. 91The Lord will be pleased to make this manifest in his workman now cleansed by the Holy Spirit from vices and sins.

87 Ergo his omnibus humilitatis gradibus a discipulo perascensis, uitae huius in timore Dei bene persubitur scala 88 et mox ad caritatem illam Domini peruenientes, quae perfecta foris mittit timorem, 89 per quam uniuersa, quae prius non sine formidine obseruabas, absque ullo labore uetut naturaliter ex consuetudine incipiet custodire, 90 non iam timore gehennae, sed amore ipsius consuetudinis bonae et delectatione uirtutum. 91 Quae Dominus iam per operarium suum mundum a uitiis et peccatis ab Spiritu Sancto dignabitur demonstrare.

PARADISE 2: 10.92-120. VISION of HEAVEN for THE HUMBLE: see  3.83-93: PARADISE 1

 cf. RB 4.75-77: What no eye has seen . .

[10.] 92 A SOUL such as this, therefore, having gone up these rungs will, when life has ended, doubtlessly enter into the reward of the Lord to which the apostle refers when he says: ‘What we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us(Rom. 8, 18). 93 Such souls will receive that eternal life which abides in the rapture of everlasting joy and will nevermore know an end. 92 Quibus ergo perascensis gradibus, post exitum uitae sine dubio talis anima ad illam retributionem Domini introitura est, quam demonstrat apostolus, dicens: Non sunt condignae passiones huius sacculi ad superuenturam gloriam, quae reuelabitur in nobis. 93 Illam uitam aeternam tales animae recepturae sunt, quae in sempiternae laetitiae exultatione permanet et ulterius finiri non nouit.

94 There ‘the red roses flower without ever wilting. 95 There the lush groves retain forever the greenness of springtime. 96 There the verdant meadows ever abound with rivers of honey. 97 There the grass emits the fragrance of saffron flowers and the flourishing fields are rich in the most pleasing perfumes.

94 In qua est flos purpureus rosarum numquam marcescens, 95 in qua nemora floscida perpetua uiriditate uernantur. 96 Vbi prata recentia semper melleis affluunt riuis, 97 ubi croceis gramina floribus redolent et alantes campi iucundis admodum odoribus pollent.

98 There breezes endowed with eternal life are wafted upon the nostrils. 99 There is light without shadow, clear sky without a cloud, and the eyes enjoy perpetual daytime without nocturnal darkness. 100  There no distraction impedes delights. 101There no concern whatever troubles peace of mind.

98 Aurae ibi uitam aeternam habentes nares aspirant, 99 lumen ibi sine umbra, serenitas absque nubilo et absque tenebris nocturnis perpetuum diem oculi perfruuntur. 100 Nulla ibi inpediuntur occupatione deliciae, 101 nulla penitus sollicitudine ibi securitas conturbatur.

102 There loud moaning, wailing, groaning, lamentations and cries of mourning are never heard, nor are they even named. 103 Absolutely nothing that is ugly, deformed, hideous, gloomy, horrible or sordid is ever seen there.

102 Mugitum, ululatum, gemitum, lamentum et luctum numquam illic auditum uel nominatum est, 103 foedum, deforme, tetrum, nigrum, orrendum aliquid aut sordidum numquam ibi penitus uisum.

 104 There is beauty in the charming groves, luster in the delightful air. The eyes, always open, feast upon the loveliness and all the grandeur, 105 and the ears hear nothing at all that would disturb the mind. 106 Rather, instruments are always playing there to accompany hymns sung by angels and archangels to the praise of the king.

104 Pulchritudo in amoenitate nemorum, splendor in aere iucundo, et formonsitatem atque omnem elegantiam sine intermissione patentes oculi perfruuntur 105 et nihil omnino quod conturbet mentem auribus datur. 106 Sonant enim ibidem iugiter organa hymnorum, quae ad laudem regis ab angelis et ab archangelis decantantur.

107 Harshness and the animosity of rancor have no place there. 108 There thunder is never heard, lightning flashes are never seen. 109 There shrubs produce cinnamon and bushes burst with balsam. 110 The perfume of the air fills all members with delight.

107 Amaritudo et fellis asperitas ibi locum non habet. 108 Tonitrua ibi numquam audita sunt, fulgura et coruscationes numquam paruerunt. 109 Cinnamomum illic uirgutta gignunt et balsamum arbusta prorumpunt. 110 Odor aeris delectationes per omnia membra diffundet.

111 There the food causes no excrement. 112 For just as the ears are sated with good tidings and the nostrils with fragrance and the eyes with visual perfection, and eating cannot result in indigestion’,

 111 Esca ibi nulla stercora conficit. 112 Sicut enim bono nuntio aures et bono odore nares et bono aspectu oculi saginantur et ipsa refectio non potest in digestionem prorumpere,

113 because the banquet of love consists not of food and drink but of seeing, smelling and hearing, 113 quia non in esca et potu, sed in aspectu, odoratu et auditu constat dilectionis saginatio,

114so the refreshments which the mouth takes there, like honey in flavor, have in each person’s mouth the taste that pleases him. 115 Finally, whatever the soul desires is immediately at hand to serve his whim

 114 ita illic refectio, quam os susceperit, melliflua in gustu hoc unicuique sapet in os, quod fuerit delectatus. 115 Statim denique quod concupierit anima, concupiscentiae eius paratissimus seruit effectus.

RM 10.94-115, cf. Passio Sebastiani 14. PL 17.1026D-1027C

116 In the midst of this happiness and joy there is no growing old to fear, no end of life to dread, and death is no longer in prospect for these delights. 116 In qua delectatione uero uel laetitia nec aetas senectutem nec uita terminum nec suspectam ulterius mortem tales deliciae reformidant.
117 In the enjoyment of these immortal riches there is no question of the possessor passing on and being succeeded by an heir, for death is now unknown to those who have once died and purchased eternal life with the coin of good deeds. 117 Nec in his perennium diuitiarum usibus possessor desinit et heres succedit, cum nesciunt ulterius mortem, qui benefacti praetio uitam aeternam semel moriendo emerunt.
118 This is the heavenly homeland of the saints. 118 Haec est sanctorum caelestis patria.
119 Blessed are they who, by mounting the rungs of humility on the ladder of discipline in this present time, were given the possibility of being taken up 119 Beati qui in hac regione perenni et per scalam praesentis temporis obseruantiae, gradibus humilitatis ascensis, potuerint eleuari,

 120 into this eternal realm which God has prepared for those who love him and keep his commandments and are pure of heart, to rejoice with God in everlasting bliss.

120 ut in perpetua cum Deo exultatione laetentur, quam praeparauit Deus his, qui diligunt eum 121 et custodiunt mandata eius 122et mundo sunt corde.

††120 (I Cor. 2, 9)
††121 (Apoc. 12, 17)
††122 (Mt. 5, 8).


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