Benedict’s Rule: Visitation Privileges

Chapter 61 of the Rule takes the principle of humility in Chapter 60 and applies it to those who come to the monastery as visitors.

Even those who come for a short time are to accept the “community life” that they find there.  As with priests, no guest is to “lord it over” the monks, curry favors, or expect people to “roll over and play dead” while they are staying there.

Humility defines the community.  Consequently, all who enter into it are to be governed by that quality of life.

It is interesting to note that a humble visitor may be at liberty to “make some reasonable criticisms and observations” to the abbot (presumably in private).  This is because God may have sent the visitor to the community to point out things the ongoing members have lost sight of.

It’s not unusual for newcomers to see things the old-timers are missing.  But how they share their observations often determines whether or not they will be heard.

Under no circumstances, however, is a visitor who is a member of some other community allowed to become a member of the community where he is staying temporarily.  He has a “home,” and after his time in the new location is up, he should return to the community where he lives.

Visitation has its privileges, but not to a point where humility is sacrificed.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in Benedict's Rule. Bookmark the permalink.