49. The Observance of Lent

Although the life of a monk ought to have at all times the mark of Lenten observance, few have the strength for this. Therefore, we exhort all alike during these days of Lent to guard their lives by all that is pure and to wash away during these holy days the careless acts of other times. This, then, is done worthily if we refrain from every vice, and give ourselves to prayer with tears, to lectio, and to compunction of heart, and also to abstinence.

Therefore, during these days, let us for our own sake add something to our ordinary measure of service, such as private prayers or abstinence from food and drink, so that each of us, of our own free will, may offer to God “with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes 1:6) something over and above our appointed service. That is, let us deprive our body of food, drink, sleep, much talk, and foolishness. Then with the joy of spiritual longing, let us look forward to Holy Easter. Let each one, however, lay before his abbot what he would offer up, and let it be done with the abbot’s prayer and approval, for what is done without the permission of the spiritual father will be reckoned as presumption and vainglory, and not as merit. 10 Therefore, all things are to be done with his approval.



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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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