58. The Instruction for Receiving Brothers
Anyone newly come to conversatio should not be allowed to enter easily, 2 but as the Apostle says:
Test the spirits to see whether they are from God. (1 John 4:1)
3 Therefore, if whoever comes keeps knocking, and if he shows for four or five days that he patiently bears both the ill treatment inflicted upon him and the difficulties of getting in, and if he persists in his petition, 4 let him be allowed to enter and stay in the guest quarters for a few days. 5 Then after that, let him stay in the novitiate where they are to study and eat and sleep.
6 Also, let a senior be assigned to them—one skilled in gaining souls who should watch over them assiduously in everything. 7 The concern should be whether he truly seeks God—whether he is serious about the Work of God, obedience, and criticism. 8 They should be told everything hard and difficult whereby one goes to God.
9 After two months have passed, if he promises to persevere in his stability, let this entire Rule be read to him, 10 and it should be said to him: “Behold the Law under which you want to serve and fight; if you are able to keep it, enter; if, in fact, you cannot, then, you are free to depart.”
11 If he remains steadfast, then let him be taken back to the novitiate, mentioned above, where his patient endurance in everything is again to be tested.
12 Then after six months have passed, let the Rule be read to him so that he may know what he is entering. 13 And if he remains steadfast, let this same Rule be read to him again after four months.
14 If then, after his own deliberation, he is ready to promise that he will guard everything and keep all that is commanded him, then let him be received into the community, 15 but let him also realize what has been established by the law of the Rule: From that day forward it is not lawful for him to leave the monastery, 16 nor may he shake from his neck the yoke of the Rule which after such a prolonged deliberation he was free either to refuse or to accept.
17 Now then, when he is to be received, let him promise in the oratory in the presence of all his stability and the conversatio of his ways and obedience; 18 let him do this in the presence of God and his saints, so he may know that if ever he acts otherwise, he will be condemned by the one whom he mocks. 19 With regard to his promise, let him make the profession in the name of the saints whose relics are in that place and in the name of the abbot who is present.
20 Let him write the profession in his own hand, or at least, if he does not know how to write, let another whom he has asked write it out. Even so, the novice himself should make his mark and with his own hand put it upon the altar.
21 After placing it there, let the novice himself immediately begin this verse:
Uphold me, O Lord,
according to your promise,
and I shall live;
and do not confound me
in my expectation. (Ps 119:116)
22 Let the whole community respond with this verse three times, adding the doxology. 23 After this, let the newly professed brother prostrate himself at the feet of each person so that they may pray for him, and from that day on, let him be counted as one of the community.
24 If he has any property, let him first bequeath it to the poor, or let him make a formal gift and bestow it on the monastery, keeping back nothing at all for himself 25 since he knows that he will not even have power over his own body from that day forward.
26 Then and there in the oratory, he should be stripped of the clothes that belong to him and be clothed with those of the monastery. 27 Now the clothes that he has taken off should be placed in the vestry and kept there, 28 so that if he should ever consent to the devil’s urging to leave the monastery, God forbid, then he may be cast out, stripped of what belongs to the monastery.
29 Even so, he should not get back his profession which the abbot took from the altar; rather it should be kept in the monastery.