Sunday, November 27, 2016

Excommunication According to the Holy Rule of St. Benedict

From Vulus Christi:
Dante helps us to understand that for Saint Benedict and his monks, community life means salvation. To be separated, even for a time from community life, is strong medicine. In too great a dose it can be deadly. The monk who is cut off, even for a limited time and to a degree, from the life of the community understands that if he persists in his contumacy, or pride, or disobedience, he will find himself frozen in isolation. When a small child is given the punishment of “time out”, it is not long before he begs to be reintegrated into the family circle. To “excommunicate” a child momentarily from the family circle can be salutary; to alienate him for too long from the family circle can harm him irreparably. This is why Saint Benedict would have the measure of excommunication be left to the judgment of the Abbot.

Given post–modern man’s descent into isolation, excommunication may not  be a suitable remedy in all cases. The model of our life remains the κοινωνία of the Most Holy Trinity depicted in Roublev’s icon of the Holy Trinity: there we see unity in love expressed in a shared life, in humility, obedience, and mutual reverence. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Where charity and love are, God does there abide. (Read more.)

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