The Sharing of Burdens

October 28, 2009


Not sure what happened here but it looks like someone is in trouble! I am trying to imagine the excuse that is being given, “I was just leaning against the wall when …”. I am sure that hearts are feeling troubled whatever the reason! Benedict believes that we should share our burdens. In Chapter 21 of the Rule – On the Deans of the Monastery – he outlines a very practical system for the Abbot to share his responsibilities with other monks. He has written extensively about prayer life in the community now he turns his attention to practical matters in the community. What is perhaps most interesting is that Benedict does not appoint people simply on the basis of the length of time they have been wearing the habit. Rather he asks the Abbot to make his appointments based on “worthiness of life and wisdom of doctrine.” These are the qualities he thinks a Dean, a monk responsible for a small group of monks, nuns or oblates, should possess. Often in the workplace or indeed the monastery personalities can dominate. Benedict is clear that this is not the model of leadership he desires. If there is any sign of pride – no matter who it is – they are to be demoted. Benedict wants the beauty of a life freely chosen to shine through his communities. Where we find that freedom then burdens do not exist, everything becomes the simple joy of serving and loving the person in front of you.


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