Regula Sancti Benedicti
(c. 530)

Community and Solitude;
Longing and Desire



In this edition of the RB (tr. L.Dysinger, O.S.B.) bold-face type indicates text unique to Benedict (i.e. not taken from the Rule of the Master [RM])







Jan 1;   May 2;   Sept 1

( RM Pr 1-11, 19-22; ThP 6, 24-53, 69-79;ThS 1-4)

1 LISTEN, O my son to the precepts of the master, and incline the ear of your heart: willingly receive and faithfully fulfill the admonition of your loving father; (cf. Prov. 1:8, 4:20, 6:20)  1 Obsculta, o fili, praecepta magistri, et inclina aurem cordis tui et admonitionem pii patris libenter excipe et efficaciter comple
  2 that you may return by the labor of obedience to him from whom you had departed through the laziness of disobedience. [...] 2 ut ad eum per obedientiae laborem redeas, a quo per inobedientiae desidiam recesseras.
  45 WE have therefore, to establish a school of the Lordís service.   45 Constituenda est ergo nobis dominici schola servitii
46 In instituting it we hope to establish  46 In qua institutione

nothing harsh,

nihil asperum

nothing oppressive.

nihil grave nos constituturos speramus;

47 But if anything is somewhat strictly laid down, 47 sed et si quid paululum restrictius,

according to the dictates of equity

dictante aequitatis ratione,

and for the amendment of vices

propter emendationem vitiorum

or for the preservation of love;

vel conservationem caritatis processerit,

 48 do not therefore flee in dismay from the way of salvation,

48 non ilico pavore perterritus refugias viam salutis

which cannot be other than narrow at the beginning. (cf. Mat. 7:14)

quae non est nisi angusto initio incipienda.
49 Truly as we advance in this way of life and faith, 49 Processu vero conversationis et fidei,

our hearts open wide,

dilatato corde

and with unspeakable sweetness of love


 we run  on the path of Godís commandments (Ps 119:32)

inenarrabili dilectionis dulcedine curritur via mandatorum Dei,


50 So that, never departing from his guidance, but persevering in his teaching (Acts 2:42) in the monastery until death, (Phil. 2:8)

50 ut ab ipsius numquam magisterio discedentes, in eius doctrinam usque ad mortem in monasterio perseverantes,

we may by



passionibus Christi per

participate in the


passion of Christ;


 that we may deserve also to be partakers of his kingdom.  Amen. (cf. 1Pet 4:13; Rom. 8:17) ut et regno eius mereamur esse consortes.  Amen.









Jan 8;   May 9;   Sept 8

(RM 1:1-5)

   IT is clear that there are four kinds of monks.  2 First are the cenobites: that is, those who live in monasteries and serve under a rule and an abbot.

             1 Monachorum quattuor esse genera manifestum est. 2 Primum coenobitarum, hoc est monasteriale, militans sub regula vel abbate.

    3 The second kind are the anchorites, that is hermits: no longer in the first fervor of their way of life, they have undergone long testing in the monastery;  4 they have been trained to fight against the devil through the help and training of many others.  5 And well-armed, they go forth from the battle line held by their brothers to the solitary combat of the desert; now able to fight safely without the support of another, single-handed against the vices of flesh and thoughts with Godís help.

             3 Deinde secundum genus est anachoritarum, id est eremitarum, horum qui non conversationis fervore novicio, sed monasterii probatione diuturna, 4 qui didicerunt contra diabolum multorum solacio iam docti pugnare, 5 et bene exstructi fraterna ex acie ad singularem pugnam eremi, securi iam sine consolatione alterius, sola manu vel brachio contra vitia carnis vel cogitationum, Deo auxiliante, pugnare sufficiunt.

Jan 9;   May 10;   Sept 9

(RM 1:6-9, 13-14,  68, 74-75)

     6  The third and most detestable kind of monks are the Sarabaites, who have neither been tried by a Rule nor taught by experience like gold in the furnace (Prov 27:21); instead they are as soft as lead, 7 faithful servants of the world in their works, obviously lying to God by their tonsure.  8 Living in twos or threes, or even singly without a shepherd, they enclose themselves not in the Lordís sheepfolds but in their own.  Their law consists in their own wilful desires: 9 whatever they think fit or choose to do, that they call holy; and what they dislike, that they regard as unlawful.

             6  Tertium vero monachorum taeterrimum genus est sarabaitarum, qui nulla regula approbati, experientia magistra, sicut aurum fornacis, sed in plumbi natura molliti, 7 adhuc operibus servantes saeculo fidem, mentiri Deo per tonsuram noscuntur. 8 Qui bini aut terni aut certe singuli sine pastore, non dominicis sed suis inclusi ovilibus, pro lege eis est desideriorum voluntas, 9 cum quicquid putaverint vel elegerint, hoc dicunt sanctum, et quod noluerint, hoc putant non licere.

    10 The fourth kind are the monks called gyrovagues, whose whole lives are spent in province after province, spending three or four days in monastery after monastery as guests: 11 always wandering and never stable; slaves of self-will and the attractions of gluttony;  in all things they are worse than the Sarabaites.

             10 Quartum vero genus est monachorum quod nominatur gyrovagum, qui tota vita sua per diversas provincias ternis aut quaternis diebus per diversorum cellas hospitantur, 11 semper vagi et numquam stabiles, et propriis voluntatibus et gulae illecebris servientes, et per omnia deteriores sarabaitis.

12 Concerning all of these and their most miserable way of life it is better to remain silent than to speak.  13 Leaving them then, let us proceed with Godís help to make provision for the Cenobites - the strong[est] kind of monks.

l2 De quorum omnium horum miserrima conversatione melius est silere quam loqui. 13 His ergo omissis, ad coenobitarum fortissimum genus disponendum, adiuvante Domino, veniamus.




Apr 30;  Aug 30;  Dec 30

(RM )







1 Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness

which separates from God

and leads to hell, 

1 Sicut est zelus amaritudinis malus

qui separat a Deo

et ducit ad infernum, 

 2 so there is a good zeal

which separates from vices

and leads to God  and to life everlasting. 

 2 ita est zelus bonus

qui separat a vitia,

et ducit ad Deum  et ad vitam aeternam. 

 3 This zeal then, should be practiced by monks with the most fervent love.   3 Hunc ergo zelum ferventissimo amore exerceant monachi,

4 That is:  they should outdo one another in showing honor. (Rom 12:10)

 4 id est  ut honore se invicem praeveniant.

5 Let them most patiently endure one anotherís infirmities, whether of body or of character.

5 Infirmitates suas sive corporum sive morum patientissime tolerent; 

6 Let them compete in showing obedience to one another. 

6 obedientiam sibi certatim impendant; 

7 None should follow what he judges useful for himself, but rather what is better for another: 

7 nullus quod sibi utile judicat sequatur, sed quod magis alio;

8 They should practice fraternal charity with a pure love;

8 caritatem fraternitatis casto impendant;

9 to God offering loving reverence,

9 amore Deum timeant;

10 loving their abbot with sincere and humble affection,

10 abbatem suum sincera et humili caritate diligant; 
11 preferring nothing whatever to Christ, 11 Christo omnino nihil praeponant,

12 and may he bring us all together to life everlasting.  Amen.

  12 qui nos pariter ad vitam aeternam perducat. Amen.

xxxxĽ cont