Chapters 58-59

 St. Benedict, 1488.

 [Engl. tr. L. Dysinger, O.S.B. The convention of bold-face type for text not found in the RM is employed for the Latin text, but not for English; since very little of the text comes from the RM]


Apr 11;  Aug 11;  Dec 11

(RM - - )





1 ONE newly arriving to this way of life is not to be granted an easy entrance; 2 rather, as the apostle says, Test the spirits, whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). 3 Therefore if the one who comes perseveres in knocking and appears to patiently endure injuries done him and difficulties concerning his entrance for four or five days, and if he still persists in his petition, 4 entrance is to be granted him, and  he is to stay in the guest-house for a few days.

1 Noviter veniens quis ad conversationem, non ei facilis tribuatur ingressus, 2 sed sicut ait apostolus: Probate spiritus si ex Deo sunt. 3 Ergo si veniens perseveraverit pulsans et illatas sibi iniurias et difficultatem ingressus post quattuor aut quinque dies visus fuerit patienter portare et persistere petitioni suae, 4 adnuatur ei ingressus et sit in cella hospitum paucis diebus.



5 But after this he is to stay in the novitiate, where he is to[:] 5 Postea autem sit in cella noviciorum ubi

[1] meditate,

[2] eat,

[3] and sleep.


et manducent

et dormiant.

 6 AND to him a senior is to be deputed who is skilled at winning souls, who will watch over him with all care. 7 And it should be eagerly acertained[:]  

 6 Et senior eis talis deputetur qui aptus sit ad lucrandas animas, qui super eos omnino curiose intendat. 7 Et sollicitudo sit

[1] whether he truly seeks God,

[2] whether he is eager for the Work of God,

[3] for obedience,

[4] and for humbling experiences.

si revera Deum quaerit,

 si sollicitus est ad opus Dei,

ad oboedientiam,

ad opprobria.

8 To him should be proclaimed everything of the roughness and pain by which we journey towards God. 8 Praedicentur ei omnia dura et aspera per quae itur ad Deum.



 9 IF he promises perseverance in his stability, after a period of two months this Rule is to be read to him straight through 10 and then he is to be told: “Behold the law under which you wish to fight: if you are able to observe it, enter; if you are not able, freely depart.” 11 If he still stands firm, he is to be taken to the novitiate described above and again tested in all patience. 9 Si promiserit de stabilitate sua perseverantia, post duorum mensuum circulum legatur ei haec regula per ordinem 10 et dicatur ei: Ecce lex sub qua militare vis; si potes observare, ingredere; si vero non potes, liber discede. 11 Si adhuc steterit, tunc ducatur in supradictam cellam noviciorum et iterum probetur in omni patientia.



 12 After a period of six months, the Rule is to be read to him again, so that he knows what he is entering. 13 And if he still stands firm, after four months the same Rule is to be read to him once again.  12 Et post sex mensuum circuitum legatur ei regula, ut sciat ad quod ingreditur. 13 Et si adhuc stat, post quattuor menses iterum relegatur ei eadem regula.



14 AND if, having deliberated within himself, he promises to keep everything and to submit in all that he is ordered, then he is to be received into the community15 knowing that the law of the Rule establishes that from that day he is no longer free to depart from the monastery 16 nor remove his neck from beneath the yoke of the Rule which after such prolonged deliberation he was free to either refuse or to accept.

14 Et si habita secum deliberatione promiserit se omnia custodire et cuncta sibi imperata servare, tunc suscipiatur in congregatione, 15 sciens et lege regulae constitutum quod ei ex illa die non liceat egredi de monasterio, 16 nec collum excutere de sub iugo regulae quem sub tam morosam deliberationem  licuit aut excusare aut suscipere.

Apr 11;  Aug 11;  Dec 11

(RM - - )

17 THE one being received is to make in the oratory before all a promise[:]

17 Suscipiendus autem in oratorio coram omnibus promittat

[1] of his stability,

[2] his faithfulness to the way of life,

[3] and obedience. 

de stabilitate sua

 et conversatione morum suorum

et oboedientia,



18 This is done before God and His saints so that if he ever acts otherwise he will know Who it is that condemns him -  the One whom he mocks.

18 coram Deo et sanctis eius, ut si aliquando aliter fecerit, ab eo se damnandum sciat quem irridit.

19 CONCERNING his promise he is to make a petition in the name of the saints whose relics are there and of the abbot who is present.  20 This petition he is to write with his own hand: or if he is illiterate, another is to write it at his request; and the novice is then to make his sign on it with his own hand and place it upon the altar.

19 De qua promissione sua faciat petitionem ad nomen sanctorum quorum reliquiae ibi sunt et abbatis praesentis. 20 Quam petitionem manu sua scribat, aut certe, si non scit litteras, alter ab eo rogatus scribat et ille novicius signum faciat et manu sua eam super altare ponat.

21 WHEN he has placed it there, the novice himself is to begin this verse: 

 21 Quam dum imposuerit, incipiat ipse novicius mox hunc versum:

Uphold me, Lord, according to your word, and I shall live;

let not my hope be put to shame (Ps 119:116). 

Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum et vivam,

et ne confundas me ab exspectatione  mea.

22 This verse is to be repeated by the whole community three times, adding to it a “Glory be”.  23 Then the brother novice is to prostrate himself at the feet of all, so that they may pray for him: and from that day he is to be considered part of the community. 22 Quem versum omnis congregatio tertio respondeat, adiungentes Gloria Patri. 23 Tunc ille frater novicius prosternatur singulorum pedibus ut orent pro eo, et iam ex illa die in congregatione reputetur.

24 IF he has any possessions he should either first bestow them on the poor, or by a solemn deed of gift donate them to the monastery, keeping nothing for himself; 25 knowing that from that day onwards he will not even have power concerning his own body. 26 Immediately afterwards in the oratory he is to be stripped of his own garments which he is wearing, and be clothed in those of the monastery. 27 Those garments which are taken from him are to be placed in the clothes-room and kept there, 28 so that if ever by the persuasion of the devil he consents (may it never happen!) to leave the monastery, he may be stripped of the things of the monastery and cast forth. 29 The petition, however, which the abbot received on the altar will not be given back to him, but will be kept in the monastery.

 24Res, si quas habet, aut eroget prius pauperibus aut facta sollemniter donatione conferat monasterio, nihil sibi reservans ex omnibus, 25 quippe qui ex illo die nec proprii corporis potestatem se habiturum scit. 26 Mox ergo in oratorio exuatur rebus propriis quibus vestitus est et induatur rebus monasterii. 27 Illa autem vestimenta quibus exutus est reponantur in vestiario conservanda, 28 ut si aliquando suadenti diabolo consenserit ut egrediatur de monasterio - quod absit - tunc exutus rebus monasterii proiciatur. 29 Illam tamen petitionem eius, quam desuper altare abbas tulit, non recipiat, sed in monasterio reservetur.



Apr 13;  Aug 13;  Dec 13

(RM 90:5-6, 42-47)





1 IF a member of the nobility offers his son to God in the monastery and if the child is of  tender years, his parents are to make the petition of which we spoke above; 2 and, together with the offerings, they are to wrap that petition and the hand of the child in the altar-cloth, and so offer him.

 1 Si quis forte de nobilibus offerit filium suum Deo in monasterio, si ipse puer minor aetate est, parentes eius faciant petitionem quam supra diximus 2 et cum oblatione ipsam petitionem et manum pueri involvant in palla altaris, et sic eum offerant.

3 WITH regard to his property, in the same petition they are to promise under oath that they will never, either directly, through an intermediary, or in any other way give him anything or the means of having anything:  4 or else, if they are unwilling to do this and wish to give something as an benefaction to the monastery to win their reward, 5 they are to make a donation to the monastery of the property they wish to give, reserving to themselves, if they so wish the revenues. 6 And thus let every way be blocked, so that no sort of expectation will remain by which the child might be deceived and perish (may it never happen!), which experience has taught us may happen.

 3 De rebus autem suis, aut in praesenti petitione promittant sub iureiurando quia numquam per se, numquam per suffectam personam nec quolibet modo ei aliquando aliquid dant aut tribuunt occasionem habendi; 4 vel certe si hoc facere noluerint et aliquid offerre volunt in eleemosynam monasterio pro mercede sua, 5 faciant ex rebus quas dare volunt monasterio donationem, reservato sibi, si ita voluerint, usufructu. 6 Atque ita omnia obstruantur ut nulla suspicio remaneat puero per quam deceptus perire possit ‑‑ quod absit ‑‑ quod experimento didicimus.

7 THOSE who are poorer are to do the same.  8 But those who have nothing whatever are to simply make the petition and offer their son along with the offerings before witnesses.

7 Similiter autem et pauperiores faciant. 8 Qui vero ex toto nihil habent, simpliciter petitionem faciant et cum oblatione offerant filium suum coram testibus.