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Readmission of Members Who Leave The Monastery

Saturday, July 6, 2024
Chapter 29

If any community members, following their own evil ways, leave the monastery but then wish to return, they must first promise to make full amends for leaving. Let them be received back, but as a test of humility they should be given the last place. If they leave again, or even a third time, they should be readmitted under the same conditions. After this, however, they must understand that they will be denied all prospect of return.

Life is often a series of false starts while we find out who we are and determine where we really want to go. Benedict understands the struggle of uncertainty and indecision and makes room for it. After all, the giving of oneself to anything is no small thing and should be done with reflection and with peace of mind. So, Benedict allows candidates to the life to try again and again. What he does not permit them to do, however, is to ignore the fact that behavior has consequences or that sometime, somehow they must finally commit to something if they are going to get on with the process of both psychological and spiritual growth. With those two concepts in mind, Benedict allows candidates to enter and leave the monastery no more than three times and then only provided that they realize that every new beginning begins at the beginning again.

There are in this chapter good insights for all of us: eventually we must all settle down and do something serious with our lives and everyday we must make a fresh beginning of it.