27. The Abbot’s Care for the Excommunicated

The abbot should show every care and concern for the offending brothers, for “it is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick” (Matt 9:12). And therefore, like a wise physician, he should use every possible means and send senpectae, that is, wise senior brothers. They should console the agitated brother secretly, as it were, and call on him to make the satisfaction born of humility. Also, they should “console him lest too much sadness swallow him up” (2 Cor 2:7). Moreover, as the Apostle also says,

Assure him of your love. (2 Cor 2:8)

And let all pray for him.

For the abbot must show outstanding care, and must move quickly with all shrewdness and diligence, lest he lose any of the sheep entrusted to him. He should know that he has received the care of souls that are weak, and not a high-handed rule over the healthy.

And let him fear the prophet’s warning by which God said:

You would claim for yourself what you saw as fat, and what was weak you would throw out. (Ezek 34:3–4)

Let him imitate the loving example of the Good Shepherd, who left the ninety-nine sheep on the mountains and went to seek the one that had gone astray. He had such compassion for its weakness that he deigned to lay it on his own sacred shoulders, and so carry it back to the flock (Luke 15:5).



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The Rule of Benedict by Saint Meinrad Archabbey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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