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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XLI. The appearance of what infirmities one who lives in a Cœnobium ought to exhibit.

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Chapter XLI.

The appearance of what infirmities one who lives in a Cœnobium ought to exhibit. 813

And that you may be able to attain all this, and continually remain subject to this spiritual rule, you must observe these three things in the congregation: viz.: that as the Psalmist says: “I was like a deaf man and heard not and as one that is dumb who doth not open his mouth; and I became as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth there are no reproofs,” 814 so you also should walk as one that is deaf and dumb and blind, so that—putting aside the contemplation of him who has been rightly chosen by you as your model of perfection—you should be like a blind man and not see any of those things which you find to be unedifying, nor 815 be influenced by the authority or fashion of those who do these things, and give yourself up to what is worse and what you formerly condemned. If you hear any one disobedient or insubordinate or disparaging another or doing anything different from what was taught to you, you should not go wrong and be led astray by such an p. 233 example to imitate him; but, “like a deaf man,” as if you had never heard it, you should pass it all by. If insults are offered to you or to any one else, or wrongs done, be immovable, and as far as an answer in retaliation is concerned be silent “as one that is dumb,” always singing in your heart this verse of the Psalmist: “I said I will take heed to my ways that I offend not with my tongue. I set a guard to my mouth when the sinner stood before me. I was dumb and was humbled and kept silence from good things.” 816 But cultivate above everything this fourth thing which adorns and graces those three of which we have spoken above; viz.: make yourself, as the Apostle directs, 817 a fool in this world that you may become wise, exercising no discrimination and judgment of your own on any of those matters which are commanded to you, but always showing obedience with all simplicity and faith, judging that alone to be holy, useful, and wise which God’s law or the decision of your superior declares to you to be such. For built up on such a system of instruction you may continue forever under this discipline, and not fall away from the monastery in consequence of any temptations or devices of the enemy.



Quarum debilitatum similitudinem suscipere debeat qui in cœnobio commoratur.—Petschenig. The text of Gazæus gives as the title of this chapter: “In congregatione cœnobitica constituti quid tolerare ac sustinere debeant.”


Ps. 38:14, 15.


Nec (Petschenig). Gazæus reads ne.


Ps. 39:2, 3.


Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 18.

Next: Chapter XLII. How a monk should not look for the blessing of patience in his own case as a result of the virtue of others, but rather as a consequence of his own longsuffering.

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