Members on a Short Journey
If members are sent on some errand and expect to return to the monastery that same day, they must not presume to eat outside, even if they receive a pressing invitation, unless perhaps the prioress or abbot has ordered it. Should they act otherwise, they will be excommunicated.
Benedictine spirituality, this chapter implies, is not a set of rules; it is a way of life. Being out of the monastery does not relieve the monastic of the obligation to be what we say we are-- simple, centered in God, in search of higher things. What life demands from us is the single-minded search for God, not a series of vacations from our best selves. The point is a clear one: being a religious is full-time identity; being business people does not give us the right to do during the week what we tell ourselves on Sunday that we shun; being American does not give us the right to be less Christian in order to be more patriotic; being rich does not give us the right to forget the poor. No Christian ever has the right to be less than the Gospels demand of them wherever they are.