42. No One Should Speak After Compline

Monks ought to be eager for silence at all times, and especially during the night hours. Therefore, at all times, whether on fast days or days with a midday meal, let this be the norm:

If it is the season for midday meals, then as soon as they rise from supper, let them all sit together as a group, and let one person read The Conferences or The Lives of the Fathers or indeed anything that may edify the hearers, but not the Heptateuch or the Books of Samuel and Kings, for it will not be beneficial for those of weak understanding to hear those parts of Scripture at that hour; however, they may be read at other times.

If, on the other hand, it is a fast day, then shortly after Vespers has been said, let them assemble for the reading of The Conferences, as we have said. Four or five pages are read, or as many as time allows so that all—even those busy with assigned tasks—may gather as one during this period for reading. Then, when all are assembled as one, let them say Compline, and, after they come from Compline, no one will have permission to speak again to anyone about anything.

If anyone is found transgressing this rule of quiet, let him be subject to a serious punishment, 10 unless some need comes up among the guests, or perhaps the abbot would command someone to do something. 11 Even so, this too should be done with all gravity and moderation.




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