Here is today’s Gospel reading: ‘And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions’.
Here, as commentary, is Chapter 33 of the Holy Rule: ‘This vice especially ought to be utterly rooted out of the monastery. Let no one presume to give or receive anything without the abbot’s leave, or to have anything as his own, anything whatever, whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be; for monks should not have even their own bodies and wills at their own disposal. But let them look to the father of the monastery for all that they require, and let it be unlawful to have anything which the abbot has not given or allowed. And, as the Scripture saith, let all things be common to all, nor let anyone say that anything is his own or claim it for himself. But if anyone shall be found to indulge in this most wicked vice, let him be admonished once and a second time; if he do not amend, let him undergo punishment’. This is balanced, in the following chapter, with the injunction to the Abbot to distribute everything according to individual need, so that no one is saddened in the house of God.
May we be inspired to give all to God – and not to take it back in small instalments later! May God bless you this day.