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Declarations on the Holy Rule
It is customary among Benedictines to have Declarations on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict as opposed to the Constitutions by which most modern Institutes are governed. Declarations follow the Holy Rule, chapter by chapter, adding, wherever necessary, a concrete application to life as it is today, or an adjustment to the text of the Rule. This means that there are 73 Declarations, one for each chapter of the Rule. In this way, the Rule of Saint Benedict remains the primary and indispensable reference for life in the monastery.
On Chapter 36
Our own Declarations, prepared for Silverstream Priory, are still taking shape. Nonetheless, we have this beautiful explanation of Chapter 36, Of the Sick Brethren. I was reminded of it today because I am laid low by illness and had to keep to my bed while Dom Benedict looked after my needs. With such good care I will be up and about quickly. Here is the text from our Declarations:
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82. The community will show their sick brethren the most tender compassion in both word and deed. Believing that, save in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, Our Lord is nowhere more present in the monastery than in the person of a monk brought low by infirmity, the monks will treat him with the greatest charity, making allowance for his weaknesses and bearing his burdens.