Historical setting: 584 C.E. Eve’s garden bench
Anatase chooses to continue picking through the hard words on “Page 5, The Rule”
“‘First off,’ he writes, ‘The Rule tells of four kinds of monks and only the one who lives to obey the earthly offices of the church, the coenobites are the good ones.’”
“I see what you mean about the hard words in this. You’re doing well with your reading.”
“I shall continue. ‘Then there are anchorites, hermits who ‘lost their fervor for monastic life’ and now must ‘fight the devil on their own.’ [footnote 1] Upon hearing this Brother August decided this surely was written by one who had never actually ventured into the wilderness where the angels still linger. And upon hearing this Brother Joel’s deep longing for thin places and the nearness of God sent him grieving to return to the wilderness. Even an old and lame fellow would rather meet God without the hurdles of these human judgments as good a man as Joel is.’”
Anatase interrupts Nic’s explanation, “Doesn’t God love all kinds of monks?”
“I would have thought so but maybe that’s only my view as a Jesus-following heretic. I tend to think God made us and we are God’s people, even us heretics. So surely God loves the monks.”
“Oh.” She resolves, “Then the old monk goes on to tell about the other two kinds of monks. Do you want to hear that part too?”
Anatase reads on, stumbling into more strange verbiage, probably intended to put the fear of God’s bishops into young boys who were given over to the church. “He writes, ‘Then we have those untested sarabites, ‘most detestable’ who wander from the sheepfold to gather in groups of two or three or even one alone ‘calling every whim holy’ and everything they don’t want to do ‘unlawful.’ [footnote 2]”
Anatase adds, “The old monk says that is who he and you were. Do you think that’s so?”
“I suppose that is why Nic included it here, unless the fourth variety is even worse. You know, Anatase, Nic was very humble – and honest to God — even if an honest look was a hurt for himself.”
Anatase already knows what else he says, “But there is an even worse kind of monk. He writes, ‘Then there are those gyrovagues [footnote 3] the worst of the worst, wandering around from one monastery to the next…’ “
“Well, that wouldn’t be Nic; but that would be me.”
[footnote 1] White, Carolinne, Translator,The Rule of Benedict, London: Penguin Books, 2008. Page 11
[footnote 2] Ibid.
[footnote 3] Ibid.