39. The Measure of Food

We believe it enough for the daily meal, whether at the sixth or ninth hour, that every table should have two cooked dishes because of the limitations of different people. In this way, a person unable to eat from one may perhaps make a meal of the other. Therefore, two cooked foods should be enough for all the brothers, and if there is any fruit or fresh vegetables available, let a third be added as well.

A generous pound of bread should suffice for a day, whether there be one meal or both a midday meal and a supper. 5 If they are going to have supper, let a third part of the pound be kept by the manager and be given to them at supper.

If the work happens to increase, the abbot has the power to decide and add something more, as seems helpful. In this, they should avoid excess, above all else, so that nausea never surprises the monk, for nothing so contradicts every Christian as does excess, as our Lord says:

See that your hearts are not weighed down by excess. (Luke 21:34)

10 The same amount should not be allotted to the younger boys, but less than to the older ones, in order to preserve an economy in everything.

11 All, however, are to abstain entirely from eating the flesh of four-footed animals, except for the sick who are very weak.


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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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