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Text Sermons : St. Benedict of Nursia : 

St. Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547)

Read freely text sermons and articles by the speaker St. Benedict of Nursia in text and pdf format. Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Italy (about 40 miles (64 km) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. The Catholic Order of St Benedict and the Anglican Order of St Benedict are of later origin and, moreover, not an "order" as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations.

Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule of Saint Benedict", containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness (ἐπιείκεια, epieikeia), and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of western monasticism.

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A Brother who is sent out on some business
      A Brother who is sent out on some business and is expected to return to the monastery that same day shall not presume to eat while he is out, even if he is urgently requested to do so by any person whomsoever, unless he has permission from his Abb ... read more

Above all let her not neglect or undervalue
      Above all let her not neglect or undervalue the welfare of the souls committed to her, in a greater concern for fleeting, earthly, perishable things; but let her always bear in mind that she has undertaken the government of souls and that she wi ... read more

Above all things let him have humility
      Above all things let him have humility; and if he has nothing else to give let him give a good word in answer for it is written, "A good word is above the best gift" (Eccles. 18:17). Let him have under his care all that the Abbot has assigned t ... read more

Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness
      Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness towards these times of life, that is towards the old and children, still the authority of the Rule should also provide for them. Let their weakness be always taken into account, and let them b ... read more

Although the life of a monk
      Although the life of a monk ought to have about it at all times the character of a Lenten observance, yet since few have the virtue for that, we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent the brethren keep their lives most pure and at the sa ... read more

An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery
      An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery should always remember what she is called, and live up to the name of Superior. For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, being called by a name of His, which is taken from t ... read more

An hour before the meal
      An hour before the meal let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread over and above the appointed allowance, in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren without murmuring and without excessive fatigue. On solemn da ... read more

And so we are going to establish
      And so we are going to establish a school for the service of the Lord. In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome. But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity for the amendment of vices or the preservation ... read more

And the Lord, seeking his laborer
      And the Lord, seeking his laborer in the multitude to whom He thus cries out, says again, "Who is the one who will have life, and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33[34]:13)? And if, hearing Him, you answer, "I am the one," God says to you, ... read more

Anyone who does not come to table before the verse
      Anyone who does not come to table before the verse, so that all together may say the verse and the oration and all sit down to table at the same time-- anyone who through his own carelessness or bad habit does not come on time shall be corrected for ... read more

As cellarer of the monastery
      As cellarer of the monastery let there be chosen from the community one who is wise, of mature character, sober, not a great eater, not haughty, not excitable, not offensive, not slow, not wasteful, but a God-fearing man who may be like a fath ... read more

As for self-will
      As for self-will, we are forbidden to do our own will by the Scripture, which says to us, "Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30), and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God that His will be done in us. And rightly are we taught not to do ... read more

At Terce, Sext and None on Monday
      At Terce, Sext and None on Monday let the nine remaining sections of Psalm 118 be said, three at each of these Hours. Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore, on two days, Sunday and Monday, let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127 be ... read more

At the gate of the monastery
      At the gate of the monastery let there be placed a wise old woman, who knows how to receive and to give a message, and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about. This porter should have a room near the gate, so that those who come may alwa ... read more

At the hour for the Divine Office
      At the hour for the Divine Office, as soon as the signal is heard, let them abandon whatever they may have in hand and hasten with the greatest speed, yet with seriousness, so that there is no excuse for levity. Let nothing, therefore, be put before ... read more

Before all things and above all things
      Before all things and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person; for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36), and, "What you did for one of these least one ... read more

But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice
      But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice, not only should she be denied membership in the community, but she should even be politely requested to leave, lest others be corrupted by her evil life. If, however, she has not proved t ... read more

But this very obedience
      But this very obedience will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all only if what is commanded is done without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection. For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God, since He Himself has said, ... read more

Care must be taken that no monk
      Care must be taken that no monk presume on any ground to defend another monk in the monastery, or as it were to take him under his protection, even though they be united by some tie of blood-relationship. Let not the monks dare to do this in any w ... read more

difficult or impossible tasks
      If it happens that difficult or impossible tasks are laid on a sister, let her nevertheless receive the order of the one in authority with all meekness and obedience. But if she sees that the weight of the burden altogether exceeds the limit of ... read more

Every age and degree of understanding
      Every age and degree of understanding should have its proper measure of discipline. With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore, or those who cannot understand the seriousness of the penalty of excommunication, whenever such as these are delinqu ... read more

Every occasion of presumption
      Every occasion of presumption shall be avoided in the monastery, and we decree that no one be allowed to excommunicate or to strike any of her sisters unless the Abbess has given her the authority. Those who offend in this matter shall be rebuke ... read more

Everyone has her own gift from God
      "Everyone has her own gift from God, one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7). It is therefore with some misgiving that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance. Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak, we believe that a hem ... read more

For bedding let this suffice
      For bedding let this suffice: a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow. The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot, to see if any private property be found in them. If anyone should be found to have something that he d ... read more

For the care of the monastery's property
      For the care of the monastery's property in tools, clothing and other articles let the Abbess appoint sisters on whose manner of life and character she can rely; and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient, consign the various articles to th ... read more

From Easter until the Calends of November
      From Easter until the Calends of November let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above; but no lessons are to be read from the book, on account of the shortness of the nights. Instead of those three lessons let one lesson from the Ol ... read more

From holy Easter until Pentecost
      From holy Easter until Pentecost let the brothers take dinner at the sixth hour and supper in the evening. From Pentecost throughout the summer, unless the monks have work in the fields let them fast on Wednesdays and Fridays until the ninth hour; o ... read more

From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
      From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption let "Alleluia" be said both in the Psalms and in the responsories. From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent let it be said every night with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only. On e ... read more

From the Calends of October
      From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent, let them apply themselves to reading up to the end of the second hour. At the second hour let Terce be said, and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None. At the first signal f ... read more

Having our loins girded, therefore
      Having our loins girded, therefore, with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14), let us walk in His paths by the guidance of the Gospel, that we may deserve to see Him who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12). For if we wi ... read more

Hence the Lord says in the Gospel
      Hence the Lord says in the Gospel, "Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them, I will liken to a wise person who built a house on rock. The floods came, the winds blew and beat against that house, and it did not fall, because ... read more

Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying
      Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying, "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). In saying this it shows us that all exaltation is a kind of pride, against which the Prophet ... read more

Idleness is the enemy of the soul
      Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore the sisters should be occupied at certain times in manual labor, and again at fixed hours in sacred reading. To that end we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows. From Easter until ... read more

If a brother
      If a brother who through his own fault leaves the monastery should wish to return, let him first promise full reparation for his having gone away; and then let him be received in the lowest place, as a test of his humility. And if he should le ... read more

If a brother is found to be obstinate
      If a brother is found to be obstinate, or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring, or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors, the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time, ... read more

If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
      If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region wants to live as a guest of the monastery, let her be received for as long a time as she desires, provided she is content with the customs of the place as she finds them and does not disturb the ... read more

If a sister who has been frequently corrected for some fault
      If a sister who has been frequently corrected for some fault, and even excommunicated, does not amend, let a harsher correction be applied, that is, let the punishment of the rod be administered. But if she still does not reform or perhaps (whi ... read more

If an Abbot desire
      If an Abbot desire to have a priest or a deacon ordained for his monastery, let him choose one who is worthy to exercise the priestly office. But let the one who is ordained beware of self-exaltation or pride; and let him not presume to do anyth ... read more

If any ordained priest
      If any ordained priest should ask to be received into the monastery, permission shall not be granted too readily. But if he is quite persistent in his request, let him know that he will have to observe the whole discipline of the Rule and that no ... read more

If anyone of the nobility
      If anyone of the nobility offers his son to God in the monastery and the boy is very young, let his parents draw up the document which we mentioned above; and at the oblation let them wrap the document itself and the boy's hand in the altar clot ... read more

If the community is a large one
      If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it brethren of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things, observing the commandments of God and the instruct ... read more

If there are artisans in the monastery
      If there are artisans in the monastery, let them practice their crafts with all humility, provided the Abbot has given permission. But if any one of them becomes conceited over his skill in his craft, because he seems to be conferring a benefit ... read more

In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide
      In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide, and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it. Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy; and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot in an insolent way or even outs ... read more

In her teaching
      In her teaching the Abbess should always follow the Apostle's formula: "Reprove, entreat, rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2); threatening at one time and coaxing at another as the occasion may require, showing now the stern countenance of a mistress, now the ... read more

In the constituting of an Abbess
      In the constituting of an Abbess let this plan always be followed, that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God or else by a part of the community, however small, if its couns ... read more

In the first place, to love the Lord God
      1. In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength. 2. Then, one's neighbor as oneself. 3. Then not to murder. 4. Not to commit adultery. 5. Not to steal. 6. Not to covet. 7. Not to bear false witnes ... read more

In the winter time
      In the winter time, that is from the Calends of November until Easter, the sisters shall rise at what is calculated to be the eighth hour of the night, so that they may sleep somewhat longer than half the night and rise with their rest completed ... read more

In winter time as defined above
      In winter time as defined above, there is first this verse to be said three times: "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Your praise." To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to the Father," and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted wit ... read more

It happens all too often that the constituting of a Prior
      It happens all too often that the constituting of a Prior gives rise to grave scandals in monasteries. For there are some who become inflated with the evil spirit of pride and consider themselves second Abbots. By usurping power they foster scan ... read more

It is well known that there are four kinds of monks
      It is well known that there are four kinds of monks. The first kind are the Cenobites: those who live in monasteries and serve under a rule and an Abbot. The second kind are the Anchorites or Hermits: those who, no longer in the first fervor o ... read more

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