SANCTI GREGORII MAGNI, ROMANI PONTIFICIS, REGULAE PASTORALIS LIBER, AD JOANNEM EPISCOPUM CIVITATIS RAVENNAE. (C,S)
Gregory to His Most Reverend and Most Holy Brother and Fellow-Bishop, John.
Reverentissimo et sanctissimo fratri Joanni coepiscopo, Gregorius
|WITH kind and humble intent you reprove me, dearest brother, for having wished by hiding myself to fly from the burdens of pastoral care;||Pastoralis curae me pondera fugere delitescendo voluisse, benigna, frater carissime, atque humili intentione reprehendis;|
|[And] in regard to these [burdens], lest to some they should appear light, I express with my pen in the book before you all my own estimate of their heaviness, in order both that||quae ne quibusdam levia esse videantur, praesentis libri stylo exprimo de eorum gravedine omne quod penso, ut et|
he who is free from them may not unwarily seek them,
and that he who has so sought them may tremble for having obtained them.
haec qui vacat, incaute non expetat;
et qui incaute expetiit, adeptum se esse pertimescat.
|THIS book is divided into four separate heads of argument, that it may approach the readerís mind by allegations arranged in order-by certain steps, as it were.||Quadripartita vero disputatione liber iste distinguitur, ut ad lectoris sui animum ordinatis allegationibus quasi quibusdam pastibus gradiatur.|
|For, as the necessity of things requires, we must especially consider||Nam cum rerum necessitas exposcit, pensandum|
 in what way a person should come to high leadership;
 and, having attained it, in what way he should live;
 and, living well, in what way he should teach;
 and, teaching rightly, with how great consideration he should daily become aware of his own infirmity;
valde est ad culmen quisque regiminis qualiter veniat;
atque ad hoc rite perveniens, qualiter vivat;
et bene vivens, qualiter doceat;
et recte [0013B] docens, infirmitatem suam quotidie quanta consideratione cognoscat,
 humility fly from the approach,
 or life contradict with the arrival,
 or teaching be absent the life,
 or presumption unduly exalt the teaching.
ne aut humilitas accessum fugiat,
aut perventioni vita contradicat;
aut vitam doctrina destituat; a
ut doctrinam praesumptio extollat. 2
 first let fear temper the desire;
 but afterwards, authority being assumed by one who sought it not, let his life commend it.
 But then it is necessary that the good which is displayed in the life of the pastor should also be propagated by his speech.
 And at last it remains that, whatever works are brought to perfection, consideration of our own infirmity should oppress us in their own regard, test the swelling of elation extinguish even them before the eyes of hidden judgment.
appetitum timor temperet:
post autem magisterium quod a non quaerente suscipitur, vita commendet;
ac deinde necesse est ut pastoris bonum quod vivendo ostenditur, etiam loquendo propagetur.
Ad extremum vero superest ut perfecta quaeque opera consideratio propriae infirmitatis deprimat, ne haec ante occulti arbitrii oculos tumor elationis exstinguat.
inasmuch as there are many, like
me in awkwardness,
who, while they do not know how to measure themselves,
are covetous of teaching what they have not learned;
who estimate lightly the burden of authority
in proportion as they are ignorant of the pressure of its greatness;
Sed quia sunt plerique mihi imperitia similes,
qui dum metiri se nesciunt,
quae non didicerint docere concupiscunt;
qui pondus magisterii tanto levius aestimant,
quanto vim magnitudinis illius ignorant;
|let them be reproved from the very beginning of this book;||ab ipso libri hujus reprehendantur [0013C] exordio;|
so that, while, unlearned and precipitate, they desire to hold the citadel of teaching, they may be repelled at the very door of our discourse from the ventures of their precipitancy.
ut quia indocti
ac praecipites doctrinae [0014A]
arcem tenere appetunt, a
praecipitationis suae ausibus in ipsa locutionis nostrae janua repellantur.
Ne venire imperiti ad magisterium audeant.
NO one presumes to teach an art
until he has first learned it through intent meditation, .
Nulla ars doceri praesumitur,
nisi intenta prius meditatione discatur.
What rashness is it, then, for the unskilful to assume pastoral authority,
since spiritual guidance [leadership of souls] is the ART of ARTS!
Ab imperitis ergo pastorale magisterium qua temeritate suscipitur,
quando 3 ars est artium regimen animarum.
|FOR who can be ignorant that wounds of thoughts are more hidden than the wounds of the bowels?||Quis autem cogitationum vulnera occultiora esse nesciat vulneribus viscerum?|
And yet how often do men who have no knowledge whatever of spiritual precepts
fearlessly profess themselves physicians of the heart,
Et tamen saepe qui nequaquam spiritalia praecepta cognoverunt,
cordis se medicos profiteri non metuunt:
though those who are ignorant of the effect of drugs
blush to appear as physicians of the flesh!
dum qui pigmentorum vim nesciunt, v
ideri medici carnis erubescunt.
|BUT because, through the ordering of God, all the highest in rank of this present age are inclined to reverence religion, there are some who, through the outward show of rule within the holy Church, affect the glory of distinction.||Sed quia auctore Deo ad religionis reverentiam omne jam praesentis saeculi culmen inclinatur, sunt nonnulli qui intra [0014B] sanctam Ecclesiam per speciem regiminis gloriam affectant honoris;|
They desire to appear as teachers,
they covet superiority to others,
and, as the Truth attests, they seek the first salutations in the market-place, the first rooms at feasts, the first seats in assemblies (Matth. 23:6-7),
videri doctores appetunt,
transcendere caeteros concupiscunt,
atque attestante Veritate, primas salutationes in foro, primos in coenis recubitus, primas in conventibus cathedras quaerunt (Matth. XXIII, 6, 7);
being all the less able to administer worthily the office they have undertaken of pastoral care,
as they have reached the magisterial position of humility only out of [self-]exaltation.
qui susceptum curae pastoralis officium ministrare digne tanto magis nequeunt,
quanto ad humilitatis magisterium ex sola elatione pervenerunt.
|For, indeed, in a magisterial position language itself is confounded when one thing is learned and another taught .|
Against such the Lord complains by the prophet, saying, They have
reigned, and not by Me ; they have been set up as prices, and I knew it
For those reign of themselves, and not by the Will of the Supreme Ruler,
who, supported by no virtues, and in no way divinely called, but inflamed
by their own desire, seize rather than attain supreme rule. But them the
Judge within both advances, and yet knows not; for whom by permission he
tolerates them surely by the judgment of reprobation he ignores. Whence to
some who come to Him even after miracles He says, Depart from Me, ye
workers of iniquity, I know you not who ye are (Luke xiii. 27). The unskilfulness of shepherds is rebuked by the voice of the Truth,
when it is said through the prophet, The shepherds themselves have not
known understanding (Isai. lvi. 11); whom again the Lord denounces, saying, And they that handle the
law knew Me not (Jer. ii. 8). And therefore the Truth complains of not being known of them, and
protests that He knows not the principality of those who know not Him;
because in truth these who know not the things of the Lord are unknown of
the Lord; as Paul attests, who says, But if any man knoweth not, he
shall not be known (1
Cor. xiv. 38).
Yet this unskilfulness of the shepherds doubtless suits often the deserts
of those who are subject to them, because, though it is their own fault
that they have not the light of knowledge, yet it is in the dealing of
strict judgment that through their ignorance those also who follow them
should stumble. Hence it is that, in the Gospel, the Truth in person says,
If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch (Matth.
Hence the Psalmist (not expressing his own desire, but in his ministry as
a prophet) denounces such, when he says, Let their eyes be blinded that
they see not, and ever bow thou down their back (Ps. lxviii. 242
). For, indeed, those persons are eyes who, placed in the very face of the
highest dignity, have undertaken the office of spying out the road; while
those who are attached to them and follow them are denominated backs. And
so, when the eyes are blinded, the back is bent, because, when those who
go before lose the light of knowledge, those who follow are bowed down to
carry the burden of their sins.
quippe in magisterio lingua confunditur, quando aliud discitur, et aliud
docetur. Quos contra Dominus per prophetam queritur, dicens: Ipsi
regnaverunt, et non ex me; principes exstiterunt, et ego ignoravi (Osee
VIII, 4). Ex se namque,
et non ex arbitrio summi Rectoris regnant, qui nullis fulti virtutibus
nequaquam divinitus vocati, sed sua cupidine accensi, culmen regiminis
rapiunt potius quam [0014C]
assequuntur. Quos tamen
internus judex et provehit, [0015A]
et nescit, quia quos
permittendo tolerat, profecto per judicium reprobationis ignorat. Unde ad
se quibusdam et post miracula venientibus dicit: Recedite a me
operarii iniquitatis, nescio qui estis (Luc. XIII, 27). Pastorum imperitia voce Veritatis increpatur, cum per Prophetam
dicitur: Ipsi pastores ignoraverunt intelligentiam (Isai.
LVI, 11). Quos rursum
Dominus detestatur, dicens: Et tenentes legem nescierunt me (Jer.
II, 8). Et nesciri ergo
se ab eis Veritas queritur, et nescire se principatum nescientium
protestatur, quia profecto hi qui ea (Dist. 38, c. Qui ea)
quae sunt Domini nesciunt, a Domino nesciuntur, Paulo attestante qui ait: Si
quis autem ignorat, ignorabitur (I
Cor. XIV, 38). Quae
nimirum Pastorum saepe imperitia meritis congruit subjectorum, quia
quamvis lumen [0015B]
scientiae sua culpa
exigente non habeant, districto tamen judicio agitur, ut per eorum
ignorantiam hi etiam qui sequuntur offendant. Hinc namque in Evangelio per
semetipsam Veritas dicit: Si caecus caeco ducatum praebeat, ambo in
foveam cadunt (Matth.
XV, 14). Hinc Psalmista
non optantis animo, sed prophetantis ministerio denuntiat, dicens: Obscurentur
oculi eorum ne videant, et dorsum illorum semper incurva (Psal.
LXVIII, 24). Oculi
quippe sunt, qui in ipsa honoris summi facie positi, providendi itineris
officium susceperunt: quibus hi nimirum qui subsequenter inhaerent; dorsa
nominantur. Obscuratis ergo oculis dorsum flectitur, quia cum lumen
scientiae perdunt qui praeeunt, profecto ad portanda peccatorum curvantur
onera qui sequuntur.
II. That None Should Enter on a Place of Government Who Practise Not in
Life What They Have Learnt by Study.
CAPUT II. Ne
locum regiminis subeant, qui vivendo non perficiunt quae meditando
There are some
also who investigate spiritual precepts with cunning care, but what they
penetrate with their understanding they trample on in their lives: all at
once they teach the things which not by practice but by study they have
learnt; and what in words they preach by their manners they impugn. Whence
it comes to pass that when the shepherd walks through steep places, the
flock follows to the precipice. Hence it is that the Lord through the
prophet complains of the contemptible knowledge of shepherds, saying, When
ye yourselves had drunk most pure water, ye fouled the residue with your
feet ; and My sheep fed on that which had been trodden by your feet, and
drank that which your feet had fouled (Ezek. xxxiv. 18, 19). For indeed the shepherds drink most pure
water, when with a right understanding they imbibe the streams of truth.
But to foul the same water with their feet is to corrupt the studies of
holy meditation by evil living. And verily the sheep drink the water
fouled by their feet, when any of those subject to them follow not the
words which they hear, but only imitate the bad examples which they see.
Thirsting for the things said, but perverted by the works observed, they
take in mud with their draughts, as from polluted fountains. Hence also it
is written through the prophet, A snare for the downfall of my people
are evil priests (Hos.
v. 1; ix. 8).
Hence again the Lord through the prophet says of the priests, They are
made to be for a stumbling-block of iniquity to the house of Israel.
For certainly no one does more harm in the Church than one who has the
name and rank of sanctity, while he acts perversely. For him, when he
transgresses, no one presumes to take to task; and the offence spreads
forcibly for example, when out of reverence to his rank the sinner is
honoured. But all who are unworthy would fly from the burden of so great
guilt, if with the attentive ear of the heart they weighed the sentence of
the Truth, Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in
me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matth.
By the millstone is expressed the round and labour of worldly life, and by
the depth of the sea is denoted final damnation. Whosoever, then, having
come to bear the outward show of sanctity, either by word or example
destroys others, it had indeed been better for him that earthly deeds in
open guise should press him down to death than that sacred offices should
point him out to others as imitable in his wrong-doing; because, surely,
if he fell alone, the pains of hell would torment him in more tolerable
Et sunt nonnulli qui solerti cura
spiritalia praecepta perscrutantur, sed quae intelligendo penetrant,
vivendo conculcant; repente docent 4 quae
non opere, sed meditatione didicerunt; et quod verbis praedicant, moribus
impugnant. Unde fit ut cum Pastor per abrupta graditur, ad praecipitium
grex sequatur. Hinc namque per prophetam Dominus contra contemptibilem
Pastorum scientiam queritur, dicens: Cum ipsi limpidissimam aquam
biberetis, reliquam pedibus vestris turbabatis; et oves meae quae
conculcata pedibus vestris fuerant, pascebantur; et quae pedes vestri
turbaverant, haec bibebant (Ezech.
[0015D] XXXIV, 18, 19).
Aquam quippe limpidissimam Pastores bibunt, cum fluenta veritatis recte
intelligentes hauriunt. Sed eamdem aquam pedibus perturbare, est sanctae
meditationis studia male vivendo corrumpere. Aquam scilicet eorum turbatam
pedibus oves bibunt, cum subjecti quique non sectantur verba quae audiunt,
sed sola quae conspiciunt exempla pravitatis imitantur. Qui cum dicta
sitiunt, quia per [0016A]
quasi corruptis fontibus in potibus lutum sumunt. Hinc quoque scriptum est
per prophetam: Laqueus ruinae populi mei, sacerdotes mali (Osee.
V, 1; IX, 8). Hinc
rursum de sacerdotibus Dominus per prophetam dicit: Facti sunt domui
Israel in offendiculum iniquitatis. Nemo quippe (Dist.
83, c. Nemo quippe)
amplius in Ecclesia nocet, quam qui perverse agens, nomen vel ordinem
sanctitatis habet. Delinquentem namque hunc redarguere nullus praesumit;
et in exemplum culpa vehementer extenditur, quando pro reverentia ordinis
peccator honoratur. Indigni autem quique tanti reatus pondera fugerent, si
veritatis sententiam sollicita cordis aure pensarent, quae ait: Qui
scandalizaverit unum de pusillis istis qui in me credunt, expedit
ei ut suspendatur [0016B]
mola asinaria in
collo ejus, et demergatur in profundum maris
XVIII, 6). Per molam
quippe asinariam, secularis vitae circuitus ac labor exprimitur, et per
profundum maris extrema damnatio designatur. Qui ergo ad sanctitatis
speciem deductus, vel verbo caeteros destruit, vel exemplo; melius
profecto fuerat, ut hunc ad mortem sub exteriori habitu terrena acta
constringerent, quam sacra officia in culpa caeteris imitabilem
demonstrarent, quia nimirum si solus caderet, utcunque hunc tolerabilior
inferni poena cruciaret.
III. Of the Weight of Government; And that All Manner of Adversity is to
Be Despised, and Prosperity Feared.
CAPUT III. De
pondere regiminis; et quod adversa quaeque despicienda sunt, et prospera
So much, then,
have we briefly said, to shew how great is the weight of government, lest
whosoever is unequal to sacred offices of government should dare to
profane them, and through lust of pre-eminence undertake a leadership of
perdition. For hence it is that James affectionately deters us, saying, Be
not made many masters, my brethren (James iii. 1). Hence the Mediator between God and man Himself-He who, transcending
the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven
from eternity-on earth fled from receiving a kingdom. For it is written, When
Jesus therefore perceived that they would came and take Him by force, to
make Him a king, He departed again into the mountain Himself alone (Joh.
For who could so blamelessly have had principality over men as He who
would in fact have reigned over those whom He had Himself created? But,
because He had come in the flesh to this end, that He might not only
redeem us by His passion but also teach us by His conversation, offering
Himself as an example to His followers, He would not be made a king; but
He went of His own accord to the gibbet of the cross. He fled from the
offered glory of pre-eminence, but desired the pain of an ignominious
death; that so His members might learn to fly from the favours of the
world, to be afraid of no terrors, to love adversity for the truthís
sake, and to shrink in fear from prosperity; because this often defiles
the heart through vain glory, while that purges it through sorrow; in this
the mind exalts itself, but in that, even though it had once exalted
itself, it brings itself low; in this man forgets himself, but in that,
even perforce and against his will, he is recalled to memory of what he
is; in this even good things done aforetime often come to nothing, but in
that faults even of long standing are wiped away. For commonly in the
school of adversity the heart is subdued under discipline, while, on
sudden attainment of supreme rule, it is forthwith changed and becomes
elated through familiarity with glory. Thus Saul, who had before fled in
consideration of his unworthiness, no sooner had assumed the government of
the kingdom than he was puffed up (1 Kings x. 22; xv. 17, 30);
for, desirous of being honoured before the people while unwilling to be
publicly blamed, he cut off from himself even him who had anointed him to
the kingdom. Thus David, who in the judgment of Him who chose him was well
pleasing to Him in almost all his deeds, as soon as the weight of pressure
was removed, broke out into a swelling sore (2
Kings xi. 3, seq.), and, having been as a laxly running one in his appetite for the
woman, became as a cruelly hard one in the slaughter of the man; and he
who had before known pitifully how to spare the bad learnt afterwards,
without impediment of hesitation, to pant even for the death of the good (Ibid.
indeed, previously he had been unwilling to smite his captured persecutor;
and afterwards, with loss to his wearied army, he destroyed even his
devoted soldier. And in truth his crime would have snatched him farther
away from the number of the elect, had not scourges called him back to
Haec itaque breviter diximus, ut
quantum sit pondus [0016C]
ne temerare sacra regimina quisquis his impar est audeat, et per
concupiscentiam culminis, ducatum suscipiat perditionis. Hinc enim pie
Jacobus prohibet, dicens: Nolite plures magistri fieri, fratres mei
III, 1). Hinc ipse Dei
hominumque Mediator regnum percipere vitavit in terris, qui supernorum
quoque spirituum scientiam sensumque transcendens, ante saecula regnat in
coelis. Scriptum quippe est: Jesus ergo cum cognovisset quia venturi
essent ut raperent eum, et facerent eum regem, fugit iterum in
montem ipse solus (Joan. VI, 15).
Quis enim principari hominibus tam sine culpa potuisset, quam is qui hos
nimirum regeret, quos ipse creaverat? Sed quia idcirco in carne venerat,
ut non solum nos per passionem redimeret, [0016D]
5 verum etiam per
conversationem doceret, exemplum se sequentibus praebens, rex fieri noluit,
ad crucis vero patibulum sponte convenit; oblatam gloriam culminis fugit,
poenam probrosae mortis appetiit; ut membra ejus videlicet discerent
favores mundi fugere, terrores minime timere, pro veritate adversa
diligere, prospera formidando declinare, quia et ista saepe per tumorem
cor inquinant, [0017A]
et illa per dolorem
purgant. In istis se animus erigit, in illis autem etiamsi quando se
erexerit, sternit. In istis sese homo obliviscitur, in illis vero ad sui
memoriam nolens etiam coactusque revocatur. In istis saepe et anteacta
bona depereunt, in illis autem longi quoque temporis admissa terguntur.
Nam plerumque adversitatis magisterio sub disciplina cor premitur: quod si
ad regiminis culmen eruperit, in elationem protinus usu gloriae permutatur.
Sic Saul, qui indignum se prius considerans fugerat, mox ut regni
gubernacula suscepit, intumuit (I
Reg. X, 22; XV, 17, 30);
honorari namque coram populo cupiens, dum reprehendi publice noluit, ipsum
qui in regnum se unxerat, scidit (Act. XIII, 22).
Sic David auctoris judicio pene in cunctis actibus placens, [0017B] mox ut
pressurae pondere caruit, in tumorem vulneris erupit (II
Reg. XI, 3, seq.),
factusque est in morte viri crudeliter rigidus, qui in appetitu feminae
fuit enerviter fluxus; et qui malis ante noverat pie parcere, in bonorum
quoque necem post didicit sine obstaculo retractationis anhelare (Ibid.,
15). Prius quippe ferire
deprehensum persecutorem noluit, et post cum damno desudantis exercitus
etiam devotum militem exstinxit. Quem profecto ab electorum numero culpa
longius raperet, nisi hunc ad veniam flagella revecassent.
IV. That Far the Most Part the Occupation of Government Dissipates the
Solidity of the Mind.
CAPUT IV. Quod
plerumque occupatio regiminis soliditatem dissipet mentis.
Often the care
of government, when undertaken, distracts the heart in divers directions;
and one is found unequal to dealing with particular things, while with
confused mind divided among many. Whence a certain wise man providently
dissuades, saying, My son, meddle not with many matters (Ecclus.
because, that is, the mind is by no means collected on the plan of any
single work while parted among divers. And, when it is drawn abroad by
unwonted care, it is emptied of the solidity of inward fear: it becomes
anxious in the ordering of things that are without, and, ignorant of
itself alone, knows how to think of many things, while itself it knows
not. For, when it implicates itself more than is needful in things that
are without, it is as though it were so occupied during a journey as to
forget where it was going; so that, being estranged from the business of
self-examination, it does not even consider the losses it is suffering, or
know how great they are. For neither did Hezekiah believe himself to be
sinning (2 Kings xx. 13), when he shewed to the strangers who came to him his storehouses of
spices; but he fell under the anger of the judge, to the condemnation of
his future offspring, from what he supposed himself to be doing lawfully (Isai.
Often, when means are abundant, and many things can be done for
subordinates to admire, the mind exalts itself in thought, and fully
provokes to itself the anger of the judge, though not breaking out in
overt acts of iniquity. For he who judges is within; that which is judged
is within. When, then, in heart we transgress, what we are doing within
ourselves is hidden from men. but yet in the eyes of the judge we sin. For
neither did the King of Babylon then first stand guilty of elation (Dan. iv. 16, seq.) when he came to utter words of elation, inasmuch as even before, when
he had given no utterance to his elation, he heard the sentence of
reprobation from the prophetís mouth For he had already wiped off the
fault of the pride he had been guilty of, when he proclaimed to all the
nations under him the omnipotent God whom he found himself to have
Saepe suscepta cura regiminis cor per
diversa diverberat, [0017C]
et impar quisque
invenitur ad singula, dum confusa mente dividitur ad multa. Unde quidam
sapiens provide prohibet, dicens: Fili, ne in multis sint actus tui
(Eccli. XI, 10),
quia videlicet nequaquam plene in uniuscujusque operis ratione colligitur,
dum mens per diversa partitur. Cumque foras per insolentem curam trahitur,
a timoris intimi soliditate vacuatur: fit in exteriorum dispositione
sollicita, et sui solummodo ignara, scit multa cogitare, se nesciens. Nam
cum plus quam necesse est se exterioribus implicat, quasi occupata in
itinere obliviscitur quo tendebat; ita ut ab studio suae inquisitionis
aliena, ne ipsa quidem quae patitur damna consideret, et per quanta
delinquat ignoret. Neque enim peccare se Ezechias credidit (IV Reg. XX, 13),
cum venientibus [0017D]
ad se alienigenis
aromatum cellas ostendit; sed in damnationem secuturae prolis ex eo iram
judicis pertulit, quod se facere licenter aestimavit (Isai. XXXIX, 4).
Saepe dum multa suppetunt, dumque agi possunt, quae subjecti quia acta
sunt admirentur, in [0018A]
cogitatione se animus
elevat, et plene in se iram judicis provocat, quamvis per iniqua foras
opera non erumpat. 6
Intus quippe est qui judicat, intus quod judicatur. Cum ergo in corde
delinquimus, latet homines quod apud nos agimus, sed tamen ipso judice
teste peccamus. Neque enim rex Babyloniae tunc reus de elatione exstitit (Dan. IV, 16, seq.),
cum ad elationis verba pervenit; quippe qui ore prophetico et ante cum ab
elatione tacuit, sententiam reprobationis audivit. Culpam namque
perpetratae superbiae jam ante deterserat, qui omnipotentem Deum quem se
offendisse reperit, cunctis sub se gentibus praedicavit.
But after this, elevated by the success of his dominion, and
rejoicing in having done great things, he first preferred himself to all
in thought, and afterwards, still vain-glorious, said, Is not this
great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, and in the
might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (Dan.
Which utterance of his, as we see, fell openly under the vengeance of the
wrath which his hidden elation kindled. For the strict judge first sees
invisibly what he afterwards reproves by publicly smiting it. Hence him He
turned even into an irrational animal, separated him from human society,
changed his mind and joined him to the beasts of the field, that in
obviously strict and just judgment he who had esteemed himself great
beyond men should lose even his being as a man. Now in adducing these
things we are not finding fault with dominion, but guarding the infirmity
of the heart from coveting it, lest any that are imperfect should venture
to snatch at supreme rule, or those who stumble on plain ground set foot
on a precipice.
Sed post haec successu suae potestatis
elevatus, dum magna se fecisse gauderet, cunctis prius in cogitatione se
praetulit, et post adhuc tumidus dixit: [0018B]
Nonne haec est Babylon
magna, quam ego aedificavi in domum regni, et in robore fortitudinis meae,
et in gloria decoris mei? (Ibid., IV, 27.)
Quae videlicet vox illius irae vindictam aperte pertulit, quam occulta
elatio accendit. Nam districtus judex prius invisibiliter vidit quod
postea publice feriendo reprehendit. Unde et in irrationale animal hunc
vertit, ab humana societate separavit, agri bestiis mutata mente conjunxit,
ut districto videlicet justoque judicio homo quoque esse perderet, qui
magnum se ultra homines aestimasset. Haec itaque proferentes, non
potestatem reprehendimus, sed ab appetitu illius cordis infirmitatem
munimus, ne imperfecti quique culmen arripere regiminis audeant, et qui in
planis stantes titubant, in praecipiti pedem ponant.
V. Of Those Who are Able to Profit Others by Virtuous Example in Supreme
Rule, But Fly from It in Pursuit of Their Own Ease.
V. De his qui in regiminis culmine prodesse exemplo virtutum possunt,
sed quietem propriam sectando refugiunt. 0018C]
For there are
some who are eminently endowed with virtues, and for the training of
others are exalted by great gifts, who are pure in zeal for chastity,
strong in the might of abstinence, filled with the feasts of doctrine,
humble in the long-suffering of patience, erect in the fortitude of
authority, tender in the grace of loving-kindness, strict in the severity
of justice. Truly such as these, if when called they refuse to undertake
offices of supreme rule, for the most part deprive themselves of the very
gifts which they received not for themselves alone, but for others also;
and, while they meditate their own and not anotherís gain, they forfeit
the very benefits which they desire to keep to themselves. For hence it
was that the Truth said to His disciples, A city that is set on an hill
cannot be hid: neither do they light a candle and put it under a bushel,
but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house
(Matth. v. 15). Hence He says to Peter, Simon, Son of Jonas,
lovest thou Me? (Joh. xv. 16, 17); and he, when he had at once answered that he loved, was told, If
thou lovest Me, fled My sheep. If, then, the care of feeding is the
proof of loving, whosoever abounds in virtues, and yet refuses to feed the
flock of God, is convicted of not loving the chief Shepherd. Hence Paul
says, If Christ died/or all, then all died. And if He died for all, it
remaineth that they which live should now no longer live unto themselves,
but unto Him which died for them and rose again (2 Cor. v. 15). Hence Moses says (Deut. xxv. 5)
that a surviving brother shall take to him the wife of a brother who has
died without children, and beget children to the name of his brother; and
that, if he haply refuse to take her, the woman shall spit in his face,
and her kinsman shall loose the shoe from off one Of his feet, and call
his habitation the house of him that hath his shoe loosed. Now the
deceased brother is He who, after the glory of the resurrection, said, Go
tell My brethren (Matth.
For He died as it were without children, in that He had not yet filled up
the number of His elect. Then, it is ordered that the surviving brother
shall have the wife assigned to him, because it is surely fit that the
care of holy Church be imposed on him who is best able to rule it well.
But, should he be unwilling, the woman spits in his face, because
whosoever cares not to benefit others out of the gifts which he has
received, the holy Church exprobrates even what he has of good, and, as it
were, casts spittle on his face; and from one foot the shoe is taken away,
inasmuch as it is written, Your feet shod in preparation of the Gospel
of Peace (Ephes. vi. 15). If, then, we have the care of our neighbour as well as of ourselves
upon us, we have each foot protected by a shoe. But he who, meditating his
own advantage, neglects that of his neighbours, loses with disgrace one
footís shoe. And so there are some, as we have said, enriched with great
gifts, who, while they are ardent for the studies of contemplation only,
shrink from serving to their neighbourís benefit by preaching; they love
a secret place of quiet, they long for a retreat for speculation. With
respect to which conduct, they are, if strictly judged, undoubtedly guilty
in proportion to the greatness of the gifts whereby they might have been
publicly useful. For with what disposition of mind does one who might be
conspicuous in profiting his neighbours prefer his own privacy to the
advantage of others, when the Only-begotten of the supreme Father Himself
came forth from the bosom of the Father into the midst of us all, that He
might profit many?
Nam sunt nonnulli, qui eximia virtutum
dona percipiunt, et pro exercitatione caeterorum magnis muneribus
exaltantur, qui studio castitatis mundi, abstinentiae robore validi,
doctrinae dapibus referti, patientiae longanimitate humiles, auctoritatis
fortitudine erecti, pietatis gratia benigni, justitiae severitate
districti sunt. Qui nimirum culmen regiminum si vocati suscipere renuunt,
ipsa sibi plerumque dona adimunt, quae non pro se tantummodo, sed etiam
pro aliis acceperunt. Cumque sua et non aliorum lucra [0018D]
cogitant, ipsis se, quae
privata habere appetunt, bonis privant. Hinc namque ad discipulos Veritas
dicit: Non potest civitas abscondi super montem posita; neque
accendunt lucernam, et ponunt eam sub modio, sed super candelabrum, ut
luceat omnibus qui [0019A]
in domo sunt
(Matth. V, 15).
Hinc Petro ait: Simon Joannis, amas me? (Joan.
XV, 16, 17.) Qui cum se
amare protinus respondisset, audivit: Si diligis me, pasce oves meas.
Si ergo dilectionis est testimonium cura pastionis, quisquis virtutibus
pollens gregem Dei renuit pascere, pastorem summum convincitur non amare.
Hinc Paulus dicit: Si Christus pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo omnes
mortui sunt. Et si pro omnibus mortuus est, superest ut qui
vivunt, jam non sibi vivant, sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est, et
Cor. V, 15). Hinc Moyses
XXV, 5), ut uxorem
fratris sine filiis defuncti, superstes frater 7
accipiat, atque ad nomen fratris filios gignat: quam si accipere forte
renuerit, huic in faciem mulier exspuat, unumque ei pedem propinquus [0019B]
habitaculum domum discalceati vocet. Frater quippe defunctus ille est, qui
post resurrectionis gloriam apparens, dixit: Ite, dicite fratribus
XXVIII, 10). Qui quasi
sine filiis obiit, quia adhuc electorum suorum numerum non implevit. Hujus
scilicet uxorem superstes frater sortiri praecipitur, quia dignum profecto
est, ut cura sanctae Ecclesiae ei qui hanc bene regere praevalet imponatur.
Cui nolenti in faciem mulier exspuit, quia quisquis ex muneribus quae
perceperit prodesse aliis non curat, bonis quoque ejus sancta Ecclesia
exprobrans, ei quasi in faciem salivam jactat. Cui ex uno pede
calceamentum tollitur, ut discalceati domus vocetur. Scriptum quippe est: Calceati
pedes in praeparatione Evangelii pacis (Ephes.
VI, 15). Si ergo [0019C]
ut nostram, sic curam
proximi gerimus, utrumque pedem per calceamentum munimus. Qui vero suam
cogitans utilitatem, proximorum negligit, quasi unius pedis calceamentum
cum dedecore amittit. Sunt itaque nonnulli qui magnis, ut diximus,
muneribus ditati, dum solius contemplationis studiis inardescunt, parere
utilitati proximorum in praedicatione refugiunt, secretum quietis diligunt,
secessum speculationis appetunt. De quo si districte judicentur, ex tantis
proculdubio rei sunt, quantis venientes ad publicum prodesse potuerunt.
Qua enim mente is qui proximis profuturus enitesceret, utilitati
caeterorum secretum praeponit suum, quando ipse summi Patris unigenitus,
ut multis prodesset, de sinu Patris egressus est ad publicum nostrum?
VI. That Those Who Fly from the Burden of Rule Through Humility are Then
Truly Humble When They Resist Not the Divine Decrees.
CAPUT VI. Quod
hi qui pondus regiminis per humilitatem fugiunt, tunc vere sunt humiles,
cum divinis judiciis non reluctantur. [0019D]
There are some
also who fly by reason only of their humility, lest they should be
preferred to others to whom they esteem themselves unequal. And theirs,
indeed, if it be surrounded by other virtues, is then true humility before
the eyes of God, when it is not pertinacious in rejecting what it is
enjoined to undertake with profit. For neither is he truly humble, who
understands how the good pleasure of the Supernal Will ought to bear sway,
and yet contemns its sway. But, submitting himself to the divine
disposals, and averse from the vice of obstinacy, it be be already
prevented with gifts whereby he may profit others also, he ought, when
enjoined to undertake supreme rule, in his heart to flee from it, but
against his will to obey.
Et sunt nonnulli qui ex sola humilitate
refugiunt, ne eis quibus se impares aestimant praeferantur. Quorum
profecto humilitas, si caeteris quoque virtutibus cingitur, tunc ante Dei
oculos vera est, cum ad respuendum hoc quod utiliter subire praecipitur
pertinax [0020A] non
est. Neque enim vere humilis est, qui superni nutus arbitrium ut debeat
praeesse intelligit, et tamen praeesse contemnit. Sed divinis
dispositionibus subditus, atque a vitio obstinationis alienus, cum sibi
regiminis culmen imperatur, si jam donis praeventus est, quibus et aliis
prosit, et ex corde debet fugere, et invitus obedire.
VII. That Sometimes Same Laudably Desire the Office of Preaching, While
Others, as Laudably, are Drawn to It by Compulsion.
CAPUT VII. Quod
nonnunquam praedicationis officium et nonnulli laudabiliter appetunt, et
ad hoc nonnulli laudabiliter coacti pertrahuntur.
sometimes some laudably desire the office of preaching, yet others are as
laudably drawn to it by compulsion; as we plainly perceive, if we consider
the conduct of two prophets, one of whom offered himself of his own accord
to be sent to preach, yet the other in fear refused to go. For Isaiah,
when the Lord asked whom He should send, offered himself of his own
accord, saying, Here I am; send me (Isai. vi. 8). But Jeremiah is sent, yet humbly pleads that he should not be sent,
saying, Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak: for I am a child (Jer.
i. 6). Lo,
from these two men different voices proceeded outwardly, but they t flowed
from the same fountain of love. For there are two precepts of charity; the
love of God and of our neighbour. Wherefore Isaiah, eager to profit his
neighbours through an active life, desires the office of preaching; but
Jeremiah, longing to cleave sedulously to the love of his Creator through
a contemplative life, remonstrates against being sent to preach. Thus what
the one laudably desired the other laudably shrunk from; the latter, lest
by speaking he should lose the gains of silent contemplation; the former,
lest by keeping silence he should suffer loss for lack of diligent work.
But this in both cases is to be nicely observed, that he who refused did
not persist in his refusal, and he who wished to be sent saw himself
previously cleansed by a coal of the altar; lest any one who has not been
purged should dare to approach sacred ministries, or any whom supernal
grace has chosen should proudly gainsay it under a show of humility.
Wherefore, since it is very difficult for any one to be sure that he has
been cleansed, it is safer to decline the office of preaching, though (as
we have said)
it should not be declined pertinaciously when the Supernal Will that it
should be undertaken is recognized. Both requirements Moses marvellously
fulfilled, who was unwilling to be set over so great a multitude, and yet
obeyed. For peradventure he were proud, were he to undertake without
trepidation the leadership of that innumerable people; and, again, proud
he would plainly be were he to refuse to obey his Lordís command. Thus
in both ways humble, in both ways submissive, he was unwilling, as
measuring himself, to be set over the people; and yet, as presuming on the
might of Him who commanded him, he consented. Hence, then, hence let all
rash ones infer how great guilt is theirs, if they fear not to be
preferred to others by their own seeking, when holy men, even when God
commanded, feared to undertake the leadership of peoples. Moses trembles
though God persuades him; and yet every weak one pants to assume the
burden of dignity; and one who can hardly bear his own load without
falling, gladly puts his shoulders under the pressure of others not his
own: his own deeds are too heavy for him to carry, and he augments his
Quamvis nonnunquam praedicationis
officium et nonnulli laudabiliter appetunt, et ad hoc nonnulli
laudabiliter coacti pertrahuntur: quod liquido cognoscimus, si duorum
prophetantium facta pensamus, [0020B] quorum
unus ut ad praedicandum mitti debuisset sponte se praebuit, quo tamen
pergere cum pavore recusavit. Isaias quippe Domino quaerenti quem mitteret,
ultro se obtulit, dicens: Ecce ego, mitte me (Isai. VI, 8). Jeremias autem mittitur, et tamen ne mitti debeat humiliter
reluctatur, dicens: A, a, a, Domine Deus, ecce nescio loqui, quia puer
ego sum (Jerem. I, 6).
En ab utrisque exterius diversa vox prodiit, sed non a diverso fonte
dilectionis emanavit. Duo quippe sunt praecepta charitatis, Dei videlicet
amor et proximi. Per activam igitur vitam prodesse proximis cupiens Isaias
officium praedicationis appetit; per contemplativam vero Jeremias amori
conditoris sedulo inhaerere desiderans, ne mitti ad praedicandum debeat
contradicit. Quod ergo laudabiliter [0020C]
alter appetiit, hoc
laudabiliter alter expavit: iste ne tacitae contemplationis lucra loquendo
perderet, ille ne damna studiosi operis tacendo sentiret. Sed hoc in
utrisque est subtiliter intuendum, quia et is qui recusavit, plene non
restitit; et is qui mitti voluit, ante per altaris calculum se purgatum
vidit; ne aut non purgatus adire quisque sacra ministeria audeat, aut quem
superna gratia elegit, sub humilitatis specie superbe contradicat. Quia
igitur valde difficile est purgatum se quemlibet posse cognoscere,
praedicationis officium tutius declinatur; nec tamen declinari, ut diximus,
pertinaciter debet, cum ad suscipiendum hoc superna voluntas agnoscitur.
Quod Moyses utrumque miro opere explevit, qui praeesse tantae multitudini
et noluit et obedivit. Superbus enim [0020D]
fortasse esset, si
ducatum plebis innumerae sine trepidatione susciperet; et rursum superbus
existeret, si auctoris imperio obedire recusaret. Utrobique ergo humilis,
utrobique subjectus, et praeesse populis semetipsum metiendo noluit, et
tamen de imperantis viribus praesumendo consensit. Hinc ergo, hinc quique
praecipites colligant cum quanta culpa ex appetitu proprio caeteris
praeferri non metuunt, si sancti viri plebium ducatum suscipere Deo etiam
suadente Domino trepidat, et infirmus quisque ut honoris onus percipiat
anhelat; et qui ad casum valde urgetur ex propriis, humerum libenter
opprimendus ponderibus submittit alienis; quae egit ferre non valet, et
auget quod portet.
VIII. Of Those Who Covet Pre-Eminence, and Seize on the Language of the
Apostle to Serve the Purpose of Their Own Cupidity.
CAPUT VIII. De
his qui praeesse concupiscunt, et ad usum suae libidinis instrumentum
Apostolici sermonis arripiunt.
But for the most
part those who covet pre-eminence seize on the language of the Apostle to
serve the purpose of their own cupidity, where he says, If a man desire
the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work (1
Tim. iii. 1).
But, while praising the desire, he forthwith turns what he has praised to
fear when at once he adds, but a bishop must be blameless (1 Tim. iii. 2). And, when he subsequently enumerates the
necessary virtues, he makes manifest what this blamelessness consists in.
And so, with regard to their desire, he approves them, but by his precept
he alarms them; as if saying plainly, I praise what ye seek; but first
learn what it is ye seek; lest, while ye neglect to measure yourselves,
your blamefulness appear all the fouler for its haste to be seen by all in
the highest place of honour. For the great master in the art of ruling
impels by approval and checks by alarms; so that, by describing the height
of blamelessness, he may restrain his hearers from pride, and, by praising
the office which is sought, dispose them to the life required.
Nevertheless it is to be noted that this was said at a time when whosoever
was set over people was usually the first to be led to the torments of
martyrdom. At that time, therefore, it was laudable to seek the office of
a bishop, since through it there was no doubt that a man would come in the
end to heavier pains. Hence even the office of a bishop itself is defined
as a good work, when it is said, If a man desire the office of a
bishop, he desireth a good work (1
Tim. iii. 1).
Wherefore he that seeks, not this ministry of a good work, but the glory
of distinction, is himself a witness against himself that he does not
desire the office of a bishop; inasmuch as that man not only does not love
at all the sacred office, but even knows not what it is, who, panting
after supreme rule, is fed by the subjection of others in the hidden
meditation of his thought, rejoices in his own praises, lifts up his heart
to honour, exults in abundant affluence. Thus worldly gain is sought under
colour of that honour by which worldly gains should have beth destroyed;
and, when the mind thinks to seize on the highest post of humility for its
own elation, it inwardly changes what it outwardly desires.
Plerumque vero qui praeesse
concupiscunt, ad usum suae libidinis instrumentum Apostolici sermonis
arripiunt, quo ait: Si quis episcopatum desiderat, bonum opus
desiderat (I Tim. III, 1); qui tamen laudans desiderium, in pavorem vertit protinus quod
laudavit, cum repente subjungit: Oportet autem episcopum
irreprehensibilem esse (Ibid., 2).
Cumque virtutum [0021B]
enumerat, quae sit irreprehensibilitas ipsa manifestat. Et favet ergo ex
desiderio, et terret ex praecepto, ac si aperte dicat: Laudo quod
quaeritis, sed prius discite quid quaeratis; ne dum vosmetipsos metiri
negligitis, tanto foedior vestra reprehensibilitas appareat, quanto et a
cunctis conspici in honoris arce festinat. 9
Magnus enim regendi artifex favoribus impellit, terroribus retrahit, ut
auditores suos et descripto irreprehensibilitatis culmine restringat a
superbia, et officium laudando quod quaeritur, componat ad vitam. Quamvis
notandum quod illo in tempore hoc dicitur, quo quisquis plebibus praeerat,
primus ad martyrii tormenta ducebatur. Tunc ergo laudabile fuit
episcopatum quaerere, quando per hunc quemque dubium non [0021C]
erat ad supplicia
graviora pervenire. Unde ipsum quoque episcopatus officium boni operis
expressione definitur, cum dicitur: Si quis episcopatum desiderat,
bonum opus desiderat (I
Tim. III, 1). Ipse ergo
sibi testis est quia episcopatum non appetit, qui non per hunc boni operis
ministerium, sed honoris gloriam quaerit. Sacrum quippe officium non solum
non diligit omnino, sed nescit, qui ad culmen regiminis anhelans, in
occulta meditatione cogitationis caeterorum subjectione pascitur, laude
propria laetatur, ad honorem cor elevat, rerum affluentium abundantia
exsultat. Mundi ergo lucrum quaeritur sub ejus honoris specie quo mundi
destrui lucra debuerunt. Cumque mens humilitatis culmen arripere ad
elationem cogitat, quod foris appetit, intus immutat.
IX. That the Mind of Than Who Wish for Pre-Eminence Far the Most Part
Flatters Itself with a Feigned Promise of Good Works.
CAPUT IX. Quod
mens praeesse volentium plerumque sibi ficta bonorum operum promissione
But for the most
part those who covet pastoral authority mentally propose to themselves
some good works besides, and, though desiring it with a motive of pride,
still muse how they will effect great things: and so it comes to pass that
the motive suppressed in the depths of the heart is one thing, another
what the surface of thought presents to the muserís mind. For the mind
itself lies to itself about itself, and feigns with respect to good work
to love what it does not love, and with respect to the worldís glory not
to love what it does love. Eager for domination, it becomes timid with
regard to it while in pursuit, audacious after attainment. For, while
advancing towards it, it is in trepidation lest it should not attain it;
but all at once, on having attained, thinks what it has attained to be its
just due. And, when it has once begun to enjoy the office of its acquired
dominion in a worldly way, it willingly forgets what it has cogitated in a
religious way. Hence it is necessary that, when such cogitation is
extended beyond wont, the mindís eye should be recalled to works already
accomplished, and that every one should consider what he has done as a
subordinate; and so may he at once discover whether as a prelate he will
be able to do the good things he has proposed to do. For one can by no
means learn humility in a high place who has not ceased to be proud while
occupying a low one: one knows not how to fly from praise when it abounds,
who has learnt to pant for it when it was wanting: one can by no means
overcome avarice, when advanced to the sustentation of many, whom his own
means could not suffice for himself alone. Wherefore from his past life
let every one discover what he is, lest in his craving for eminence the
phantom of his cogitation illude him. Nevertheless it is generally the
case that the very practice of good deeds which was maintained in
tranquillity is lost in the occupation of government; since even an
unskilful person guides a ship along a straight course in a cain, sea; but
in one disturbed by the waves of tempest even the skilled sailor is
confounded. For what is eminent dominion but a tempest of the mind, in
which the ship of the heart is ever shaken by hurricanes of thought, is
incessantly driven hither and thither, so as to be shattered by sudden
excesses of word and deed, as if by opposing rocks? In the midst of all
these dangers, then, what course is to be followed, what is to be held to,
except that one who abounds in virtues should accede to government under
compulsion, and that one who is void of virtues should not, even under
compulsion, approach it? As to the former, let him beware lest, if he
refuses altogether, he be as one who binds up in a napkin the money which
he has received, and be judged for hiding it (Matth.
For, indeed, to bind up in a napkin is to hide gifts received under the
listlessness of sluggish torpor. But, on the other hand, let the latter,
when he craves government, take care lest, by his example of evil deeds,
he become an obstacle to such as are journeying to the entrance of the
kingdom, after the manner of the Pharisees, who, according to the
Masterís voice (Matth.
neither go in themselves nor stiffer others to go in. And he should also
consider how, when an elected prelate undertakes the cause of the people,
he goes, as it were, as a physician to one that is sick. If, then,
ailments still live in his body, what presumption is his, to make haste to
heal the smitten, while in his own face carrying a sore!
Sed plerumque hi qui subire magisterium
pastorale cupiunt, nonnulla quoque bona opera animo proponunt; et quamvis
hoc elationis intentione appetant, [0022A]
operaturos tamen se
magna pertractant; fitque ut aliud in imis intentio supprimat, aliud
tractantis animo superficies cogitationis ostendat. Nam saepe sibi de se
mens ipsa mentitur, et fingit se de bono opere amare quod non amat, de
mundi autem gloria non amare quod amat: quae principari appetens, fit ad
hoc pavida cum quaerit, audax cum pervenerit. Tendens enim, ne non
perveniat trepidat; sed repente perveniens, jure sibi hoc debitum ad quod
pervenerit putat. Cumque percepti principatus officio perfrui saeculariter
coeperit, libenter obliviscitur quidquid religiose cogitavit. Unde necesse
est ut cum cogitatio extra usum ducitur, protinus mentis oculus ad opera
transacta revocetur; ac penset quisque quid subjectus egerit, et repente [0022B]
cognoscit si praelatus
bona agere quae proposuerit possit, quia nequaquam valet in culmine
humilitatem discere, qui in imis positus non desiit superbire. Nescit
laudem cum suppetit fugere, qui ad hanc didicit cum deesset anhelare.
Nequaquam vincere avaritiam potest, quando ad multorum sustentationem
tenditur is cui sufficere propria nec soli potuerunt. Ex anteacta ergo
vita se quisque inveniat, ne in appetitu se culminis imago cogitationis
illudat. Quamvis plerumque in occupatione regiminis ipse quoque boni
operis usus perditur, qui in tranquillitate tenebatur, quia quieto mari
navem et imperitus dirigit; turbato autem tempestatis fluctibus, etiam
peritus se nauta confundit. Quid namque est potestas culminis, nisi
tempestas mentis? In qua [0022C]
procellis navis cordis quatitur, huc illucque incessanter impellitur, ut
per repentinos excessus oris et operis quasi per obviantia saxa frangatur.
Inter haec itaque quid sequendum est, quid tenendum, nisi ut virtutibus
pollens coactus ad regimen veniat, virtutibus vacuus nec coactus accedat?
Ille si omnino renititur, caveat ne acceptam pecuniam in sudarium ligans,
de ejus occultatione judicetur (Matth.
XXV, 18). Pecuniam
quippe in sudario ligare, est percepta dona sub otio lenti torporis
abscondere. At contra, iste cum regimen appetit, attendat ne per exemplum
pravi operis, Pharisaeorum more, ad ingressum regni tendentibus obstaculum
fiat: qui juxta Magistri vocem (Matth. XXIII, 13)
nec ipsi intrant, nec alios intrare permittunt. Cui considerandum [0022D]
quoque est, quia cum
causam populi electus praesul suscipit, quasi ad aegrum medicus accedit.
Si ergo adhuc in ejus opere passiones vivunt, qua praesumptione percussum
mederi properat, qui in facie vulnus portat?
Chapter X. What
Manner of Man Ought to Come to Rule.
CAPUT X. Qualis
quisque ad regimen venire debeat. [0023A]
therefore, ought by all means to be drawn with cords to be an example of
good living who already lives spiritually, dying to all passions of the
flesh; who disregards worldly prosperity; who is afraid of no adversity;
who desires only inward wealth; whose intention the body, in good accord
with it, thwarts not at all by its frailness, nor the spirit greatly by
its disdain: one who is not led to covet the things of others, but gives
freely of his own; who through the bowels of compassion is quickly moved
to pardon, yet is never bent down from the fortress of rectitude by
pardoning more than is meet; who perpetrates no unlawful deeds, yet
deplores those perpetrated by others as though they were his own; who out
of affection of heart sympathizes with anotherís infirmity, and so
rejoices in the good of his neighbour as though it were his own advantage;
who so insinuates himself as an example to others in all he does that
among them he has nothing, at any rate of his own past deeds, to blush
for; who studies so to live that he may be able to water even dry hearts
with the streams of doctrine; who has already learnt by the use and trial
of prayer that he can obtain what he has requested from the Lord, having
had already said to him, as it were, through the voice of experience, While
thou art yet speaking, I will say, Here am I (Isai.
For if perchance any one should come to us asking us to intercede for him
with some great man, who was incensed against him, but to us unknown, we
should at once reply, We cannot go to intercede for you, since we have no
familiar acquaintance with that man. If, then, a man blushes to become an
intercessor with another man on whom he has no claim, with what idea can
any one grasp the post of intercession with God for the people, who does
not know himself to be in favour with Him through the merit of his own
life? And how can he ask of Him pardon for others while ignorant whether
towards himself He is appeased? And in this matter there is yet another
thing to be more anxiously feared; namely, lest one who is supposed to be
competent to appease wrath should himself provoke it on account of guilt
of his own. For we all know well that, when one who is in disfavour is
sent to intercede with an incensed person, the mind of the latter is
provoked to greater severity. Wherefore let one who is still tied and
bound with earthly desires beware lest by more grievously incensing the
strict judge, while he delights himself in his place of honour, he become
the cause of ruin to his subordinates.
Ille igitur, ille modis omnibus debet
ad exemplum vivendi pertrahi, qui cunctis carnis passionibus moriens jam
spiritaliter vivit, qui prospera mundi postposuit, qui nulla adversa
pertimescit, qui sola interna desiderat. Cujus intentioni bene congruens,
nec omnino per imbecillitatem corpus, nec valde per contumeliam repugnat
spiritus. Qui ad aliena cupienda non ducitur, sed propria largitur. Qui
per pietatis viscera citius ad ignoscendum flectitur, sed nunquam plus
quam deceat ignoscens, ab arce rectitudinis inclinatur. Qui nulla illicita
perpetrat, sed perpetrata ab aliis ut propria deplorat. Qui ex affectu
cordis alienae infirmitati compatitur, sicque in [0023B]
bonis proximi sicut in
suis provectibus laetatur. Qui ita se imitabilem caeteris in cunctis quae
agit insinuat, ut inter eos non habeat quod saltem de transactis erubescat.
Qui sic studet vivere, ut proximorum quoque corda arentia doctrinae valeat
fluentis irrigare. Qui orationis usu et experimento jam didicit, quod
obtinere a Domino quae poposcerit, possit, cui per effectus vocem jam
quasi specialiter dicitur: Adhuc loquente te, dicam, Ecce adsum (Isai.
LVIII, 9). Si enim
fortasse quis veniat, ut pro se ad intercedendum nos apud potentem
quempiam virum, qui sibi iratus, nobis vero est incognitus, ducat,
protinus respondemus: Ad intercedendum venire non possumus, quia
familiaritatis ejus notitiam non habemus. Si ergo homo apud hominem de quo
intercessor erubescit, qua mente apud Deum intercessionis locum pro populo
arripit, qui familiarem se ejus gratiae esse per vitae meritum nescit? 11
Aut ab eo quomodo aliis veniam postulat, qui utrum sibi sit placatus
ignorat? Qua in re adhuc aliud est sollicitius formidandum, ne qui placare
posse iram creditur, hanc ipse ex proprio reatu mereatur (Dist.
49, initio, et c. 1).
Cuncti enim liquido novimus, quia cum is qui displicet ad intercedendum
mittitur, irati animus ad deteriora provocatur. Qui ergo adhuc desideriis
terrenis astringitur, caveat ne districti iram judicis gravius accendens,
dum loco delectatur gloriae, fiat subditis auctor ruinae.
XI. What Manner of Man Ought Not to Come to Rule.
CAPUT XI. Qualis
quisque ad regimen venire non debeat.
every one measure himself wisely, lest he venture to assume a place of
rule, while in himself vice still reigns unto condemnation; lest one whom
his own guilt depraves desire to become an intercessor for the faults of
others. For on this account it is said to Moses by the supernal voice, Speak
unto Aaron; Whosoever he be of thy seed throughout their generations that
hath a blemish, he shall not offer loaves of bread to the Lord his God
it is also immediately subjoined; If he be blind, if he be lame, if he
have either a small or a large and crooked nose, if he be brokenfooted or
brokenhanded, if he be hunchbacked, if he be bleareyed (lippus), if he have a where speck (albuginem) in his eye, if chronic stables, if impetigo in his body, or if he be
). For that man is indeed blind who is unacquainted with the light of
supernal contemplation, who, whelmed in the darkness of the present life,
while he beholds not at all by loving it the light to come, knows not
whither he isí advancing thesteps of his conduct. Hence by Hannah
prophesying it is said, He will keep the feet of his saints, and the
wicked shall be silent in darkness (1
Kings ii. 9).
But that man is lame who does indeed see in what direction he ought to go,
but, through infirmity of purpose, is unable to keep perfectly the way of
life which he sees, because, while unstable habit rises not to a settled
state of virtue, the steps of conduct do not follow with effect the aim of
desire. Hence it is that Paul says, Lift up the hands which hang down,
and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that
which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (Heb.
xii. 12, 13).
But one with a small nose is he who is not adapted for keeping the measure
of discernment. For with the nose we discern sweet odours and stenches:
and so by the nose is properly expressed discernment, through which we
choose virtues and eschew sins. Whence also it is said in praise of the
bride, Thy nose is as the tower which is in Lebanon (Cant. vii. 4); because, to wit, Holy Church, by discernment,
espies assaults issuing from this or that quarter, and detects from an
eminence the coming wars of vices. But there are some who, not liking to
be thought dull, busy themselves often more than needs in various
investigations, and by reason of too great subtilty are deceived.
Wherefore this also is added, Or have a large and crooked nose. For
a large and crooked nose is excessive subtility of discernment, which,
having become unduly excrescent, itself confuses the correctness of its
own operation. But one with broken foot or hand is he who cannot walk in
the way of God at all, and is utterly without part or lot in good deeds,
to such degree that he does not, like the lame man, maintain them however
weakly, but remains altogether apart from them. But the hunchbacked is he
whom the weight of earthly care bows down, so that he never looks up to
the things that are above, but is intent only on what is trodden on among
the lowest. And he, should he ever hear anything of the good things of the
heavenly country, is so pressed down by the weight of perverse custom,
that he lifts not the face of his heart to it, being unable to erect the
posture of his thought, which the habit of earthly care keeps downward
bent. Of this kind of men the Psalmist says, I am bent down and am
brought low continually (Ps.
The fault of such as these the Truth in person reprobates, saying, But
the seed which fell among thorns are they which, when they have heard the
word, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of
life, and bear no fruit (Luke
But the blear eyed is he whose native wit flashes out for cognition of the
truth, and yet carnal works obscure it. For in the blear-eyed the pupils
are sound; but the eyelids, weakened by defluxion of humours, become
gross; and even the brightness of the pupils is impaired, because they are
worn continually by the flux upon them. The blear-eyed, then, is one whose
sense nature has made keen, but whom a depraved habit of life confuses. To
him it is well said through the angel, Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve
that thou mayest see (Apoc.
For we may be said to anoint our eyes with eyesalve that we may see, when
we aid the eye of our understanding for perceiving the clearness of the
true light with the medicament of good conduct. But that man has a white
speck in his eye who is not permitted to see the light of truth, in that
he is blinded by the arrogant assumption of wisdom or of righteousness.
For the pupil of the eye, when black, sees; but, when it bears a white
speck, sees nothing; by which we may understand that the perceiving sense
of human thought, if a man understands himself to be a fool and a sinner,
becomes cognizant of the clearness of inmost light; but, if it attributes
to itself the whiteness of righteousness or wisdom, it excludes itself
from the light of knowledge from above, and by so much the more fails
entirely to penetrate the clearness of the true light, as it exalts itself
within itself through arrogance; as of some it is said, Professing
themselves to be wise, they became fools (Rom.
But that man has chronic scabies whom the wantonness of the flesh
without cease overmasters. For in scabies the violent heat of the
bowels is drawn to the skin; whereby lechery is rightly designated, since,
if the heartís temptation shoots forth into action, it may be truly said
that violent internal heat breaks out into stables of the skin: and it now
wounds the body outwardly, because, while sensuality is not repressed in
thought, it gains the mastery also in action. For Paul had a care to
cleanse away this itch of the skin, when he said, Let no temptation
take you but such as is human (1
Cor. x. 13);
as if to say plainly, It is human to suffer temptation in the heart; but
it is devilish, in the struggle of temptation, to be also overcome in
action. He also has impetigo in his body whosoever is ravaged in the mind
by avarice; which, if not restrained in small things, does indeed dilate
itself without measure.
Solerter ergo se quisque
metiatur ne locum regiminis assumere audeat, si adhuc in se vitium
damnabiliter regnat, ne is quem crimen depravat proprium, intercessor
fieri appetat pro culpis aliorum. Hinc etenim superna voce ad Moysen
dicitur: Loquere ad Aaron: Homo de semine tuo per familias qui [0024A]
habuerit maculam, non offeret panes Domino Deo suo, nec
accedet ad ministerium ejus (Lev.
XXI, 17). Ubi et repente
subjungitur: Si caecus fuerit, si claudus, si vel parvo, vel grandi et
torto naso, si fracto pede, si manu, si gibbus, si lippus, si albuginem
habens in oculo, si jugem scabiem, si impetiginem in corpore, vel
18). Caecus quippe est, qui
supernae contemplationis lumen ignorat; qui praesentis vitae tenebris
pressus, dum venturam lucem nequaquam diligendo conspicit, quo gressus
operis porrigat nescit. Hinc etenim prophetante Anna dicitur, Pedes
sanctorum suorum servabit, et impii in tenebris conticescent (I Reg. II, 9).
Claudus vero est qui quidem quo pergere debeat aspicit, sed per
infirmitatem mentis, vitae viam perfecte non valet tenere [0024B]
quam videt, quia ad virtutis statum dum fluxa consuetudo non
erigitur, quo desiderium innititur, illuc gressus operis efficaciter non
sequuntur. Hinc enim Paulus dicit: Remissas manus et dissoluta genua
erigite, et gressus rectos facite pedibus vestris, ut non claudicans quis
erret, magis autem sanetur (Heb. XII, 12, 13).
Parvo autem naso est, qui ad tenendam mensuram discretionis idoneus non
est. Naso quippe odores fetoresque discernimus. Recte ergo per nasum
discretio exprimitur, per quam virtutes eligimus, delicta reprobamus. Unde
et in laude sponsae dicitur: Nasus tuus sicut turris quae est in
Libano (Cant. VII, 4),
quia nimirum sancta Ecclesia quae ex causis singulis tentamenta prodeant,
per discretionem conspicit, et ventura vitiorum bella ex alto [0024C]
deprehendit. Sed sunt nonnulli qui dum aestimari hebetes nolunt,
saepe se in quibusdam inquisitionibus plus quam necesse est exercentes, ex
nimia subtilitate falluntur. Unde hic quoque subditur: Vel grandi et
torto naso. Nasus enim grandis et tortus est discretionis subtilitas
immoderata, quae dum plus quam decet excreverit, actionis suae
rectitudinem ipsa confundit. Fracto autem pede vel manu est, qui viam Dei
pergere omnino non valet, atque a bonis actibus funditur exsors vacat,
quatenus haec non ut claudus saltem cum infirmitate teneat, sed ab his
omnimodo alienus existat. Gibbus vero est quem terrenae sollicitudinis
pondus deprimit, 12 ne unquam ad superna respiciat, sed
solis his quae in infimis calcantur intendat. Qui et si quando aliquid ex
bono [0024D] patriae coelestis audierit, ad
hoc nimirum perversae consuetudinis pondere praegravatus, cordis faciem
non attollit, quia cogitationis statum erigere non valet, quem terrenae
usus sollicitudinis curvum tenet. Ex horum quippe specie Psalmista dicit: Incurvatus
sum et humiliatus sum usquequaque (Psal. XXXVIII, 8, sec. LXX). Quorum culpam quoque per semetipsam [0025A] Veritas
reprobans, ait: Semen autem quod in spinis cecidit, hi sunt qui
audierunt verbum, et a sollicitudinibus et divitiis et voluptatibus vitae
euntes suffocantur, et non referunt fructum (Luc.
VIII, 14). Lippus vero est,
cujus quidem ingenium ad cognitionem veritatis emicat, sed tamen hoc
carnalia opera obscurant. In lippis quippe oculis pupillae sanae sunt, sed
humore defluente infirmatae palpebrae grossescunt; quorum, quia infusione
crebro atteruntur, etiam acies pupillae vitiatur. Et sunt nonnulli quorum
sensum carnalis vitae operatio sauciat, qui videre recta subtiliter per
ingenium poterant, sed usu pravorum actuum caligant. Lippus itaque est,
cujus sensum natura exacuit; sed conversationis pravitas confundit. Cui
bene per angelum dicitur: Collyrio [0025B] inunge
oculos tuos ut videas (Apoc.
III, 18). Collyrio quippe
oculos ut videamus inungimus, cum ad cognoscendam veri luminis claritatem
intellectus nostri aciem medicamine bonae operationis adjuvamus. Albuginem
vero habet in oculo, qui veritatis lucem videre non sinitur, quia
arrogantia sapientiae seu justitiae caecatur. Pupilla namque oculi nigra
videt, albuginem tolerans nil videt, quia videlicet sensus humanae
cogitationis si stultum se peccatoremque intelligit, cognitionem intimae
claritatis apprehendit. Si autem candorem sibi justitiae seu sapientiae
tribuit, a luce se supernae cognitionis excludit; et eo claritatem veri
luminis nequaquam penetrat, quo se apud se per arrogantiam exaltat; sicut
de quibusdam dicitur: Dicentes enim se esse sapientes, stulti facti [0025C]
I, 22). Jugem vero habet
scabiem, cui carnis petulantia sine cessatione dominatur. In scabie etenim
fervor viscerum ad cutem trahitur, per quam recte luxuria designatur, quia
si cordis tentatio usque ad operationem prosilit, nimirum fervor intimus
usque ad cutis scabiem prorumpit; et foris jam corpus sauciat, quia dum in
cogitatione voluptas non reprimitur, etiam in actione dominatur. Quasi
enim cutis pruriginem Paulus curabat abstergere, [0026A]
cum dicebat: Tentatio vos non apprehendat, nisi humana (I Cor. X, 13);
ac si aperte diceret: Humanum quidem est tentationem in corde perpeti,
daemoniacum vero est in tentationis certamine et in operatione superari.
Impetiginem quoque habet in corpore, quisquis avaritia vastatur in mente:
quae si in parvis non compescitur, nimirum sine mensura dilatatur
For, as impetigo
invades the body without pain, and, spreading with no annoyance to him
whom it invades, disfigures the comeliness of the members, so avarice,
too, exulcerates, while it pleases, the mind of one who is captive to it.
As it offers to the thought one thing after another to be gained, it
kindles the fire of enmities, and gives no pain with the wounds it causes,
because it promises to the fevered mind abundance out of sin. But the
comeliness of the members is destroyed, because the beauty of other
virtues is also hereby marred: and it exulcerates as it were the whole
body, in that it corrupts the mind with vices of all kinds; as Paul
attests, saying, The love of money is the root of all evils (1 Tim. vi. 10). But the ruptured one is he who does not carry turpitude into action,
but yet is immoderately weighed down by it in mind through continual
cogitation; one who is indeed by no means carried away to the extent of
nefarious conduct; but his mind still delights itself without prick of
repugnance in the pleasure of lechery. For the disease of rupture is when humor
viscerum ad virilia labitur, quae propeta cum malestin dedecatis
intumescunt. He, then, may be said to be ruptured who, letting all his
thoughts flow down to lasciviousness, bears in his heart a weight of
turpitude; and, though not actually doing deeds of shame, nevertheless in
mind is not withdrawn from them. Nor has he power to rise to the practice
of good living before the eyes of men, because, hidden within him, the
shameful weight presses him down. Whosoever, therefore, is subjected to
any one of these diseases is forbidden to offer loaves of bread to the
Lord, lest in sooth he should be of no avail for expiating the sins of
others, being one who is still ravaged by his own.
. Impetigo quippe
sine dolore corpus occupat, et absque occupati taedio excrescens membrorum
decorem foedat, quia et avaritia capti animum dum quasi delectat,
exulcerat; dum adipiscenda quaeque cogitationi objicit, ad inimicitias
accendit, et dolorem in vulnere non facit, quia aestuanti animo ex culpa
promittit. Sed decor membrorum perditur, quia aliarum quoque virtutum per
hanc pulchritudo [0026B]
depravatur; et quasi
totum corpus exasperat, quia per universa vitia animum supplantat, Paulo
attestante qui ait: Radix omnium malorum est cupiditas (I Tim. VI, 10).
Ponderosus vero est, qui turpitudinem non exercet opere, sed tamen ab hac
cogitatione continua sine moderamine gravatur in mente; qui nequaquam
quidem usque ad opus nefarium rapitur, sed ejus animus voluptate luxuriae
sine ullo repugnationis stimulo delectatur. Vitium quippe est ponderis,
cum humor viscerum ad virilia labitur, quae profecto cum molestia
dedecoris intumescunt. Ponderosus ergo est, qui totis cogitationibus 14
ad lasciviam defluens, pondus turpitudinis gestat in corde; et quamvis
prava non exerceat opere, ab his tamen non evellitur mente. Nec ad [0026C]
usum boni operis in
aperto valet assurgere, quia gravat hunc in abditis pondus turpe. Quisquis
ergo quolibet horum vitio subigitur, panes Domino offerre prohibetur, ne
profecto diluere aliena delicta non valeat is quem adhuc propria devastant.
And now, having
briefly shewn after what manner one who is worthy should come to pastoral
authority, and after what manner one who is unworthy should be greatly
afraid, let us now demonstrate after what manner one who has attained to
it worthily should live in it.
Quia igitur paucis
ad pastorale magisterium dignus qualiter veniat, atque hoc indignus
qualiter pertimescat ostendimus, nunc is qui ad illud digne pervenerit, in
eo qualiter vivere debeat demonstremus.
Apr 20; Aug 20; Dec 20
(cf. RM 93, title)
LXIV DE ORDINANDO ABBATE
IN 1 appointing an abbot this should always be the guiding principle: the one selected is to be chosen by the whole community acting in concord in the fear of God, or by some part of the community, however small, which possesses sounder counsel. 2 It is for the merit of his life and the wisdom of his teaching that the one appointed should be chosen, even if he comes last in community rank.
1 In abbatis ordinatione illa semper consideretur ratio ut hic constituatur quem sive omnis concors congregatio secundum timorem Dei, sive etiam pars quamvis parva congregationis saniore consilio elegerit. 2 Vitae autem merito et sapientiae doctrina eligatur qui ordinandus est, etiam si ultimus fuerit in ordine congregationis.
BUT 3 even if it were the entire community that acted together in electing a person (and may this never happen!) who consented to their vices, 4 if these vices somehow came to the notice of the bishop in whose diocese the place belongs, or if they were perceived by the neighboring abbots or Christians, 5 then they would be obliged to prevent this depraved consensus from prevailing and to constitute instead a worthy steward for the house of God, 6 knowing that for this they will receive a good reward if act purely and out of zeal for God; and that to neglect this would on the contrary be sinful.
3 Quod si etiam omnis congregatio vitiis suis - quod quidem absit - consentientem personam pari consilio elegerit, 4 et vitia ipsa aliquatenus in notitia episcopi ad cuius dioecesim pertinet locus ipse vel ad abbates aut christianos vicinos claruerint, 5 prohibeant pravorum praevalere consensum, sed domui Dei dignum constituant dispensatorem, 6 scientes pro hoc se recepturos mercedem bonam, si illud caste et zelo Dei faciant, sicut e diverso peccatum si neglegant.
Apr 21; Aug 21; Dec 21
(cf. RM 15:35; 27:25; 3:72)
THE 7 one appointed abbot should always ponder what a burden he has received, and to whom he will have to give an account of his stewardship (Luke 16:2) 8 and he must know how much more fitting it is to provide for others than to preside over them. 9 He should therefore be learned in divine law, so that he knows how to bring forth new things and old (Matt 13:52).; he is to be chaste, sober, merciful, 10 and he should always allow mercy to triumph above judgment (Jas 2:13), so that he may receive mercy (Mt. 5:7).
7 Ordinatus autem abbas cogitet semper quale onus suscepit et cui redditurus est rationem vilicationis suae, 8 sciatque sibi oportere prodesse magis quam praeesse. 9 Oportet ergo eum esse doctum lege divina, ut sciat et sit unde proferat nova et vetera, castum, sobrium, misericordem, 10 et semper superexaltet misericordiam iudicio, ut idem ipse consequatur.
1 HE is to hate vices and love the brothers. 12 But in correcting them he is to act prudently and avoid extremes, lest in trying too ardently to scrape off the rust, he breaks the vessel:13 his own frailty he must always keep before his eyes, recalling that the bruised reed is not to be broken (Isa 42:3). 14 By this we do not mean he should permit vices to sprout: on the contrary, he should prudently and charitably cut them off as he sees best for each, as we have said: 15 and he should strive to be loved rather than feared.
11 Oderit vitia, diligat fratres. 12 In ipsa autem correptione prudenter agat et ne quid nimis, ne dum nimis eradere cupit aeruginem frangatur vas; 13 suamque fragilitatem semper suspectus sit, memineritque calamum quassatum non conterendum. 14 In quibus non dicimus ut permittat nutriri vitia, sed prudenter et cum caritate ea amputet, ut viderit cuique expedire sicut iam diximus, 15 et studeat plus amari quam timeri.
HE 16 is not to be turbulent and anxious, nor excessive and obstinate, nor jealous and prone to suspicion; for otherwise he will never be at rest: 17 In his commands he is to be farsighted and considerate; and whether the works he enjoins concern God or the world he is to be discerning and moderate, 18 reflecting on the discretion of holy Jacob, who said: If I drive my flocks too hard, they will all die in one day (Gen 33:13). 19 Thus by means of this and other examples of discretion, the mother of virtue, he is to regulate everything so that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak are not frightened away.
16 Non sit turbulentus et anxius, non sit nimius et obstinatus, non sit zelotypus et nimis suspiciosus, quia numquam requiescit; 17 in ipsis imperiis suis providus et consideratus, et sive secundum Deum sive secundum saeculum sit opera quam iniungit, discernat et temperet, 18 cogitans discretionem sancti Iacob dicentis: Si greges meos plus in ambulando fecero laborare, morientur cuncti una die. 19 Haec ergo aliaque testimonia discretionis matris virtutum sumens, sic omnia temperet ut sit et fortes quod cupiant et infirmi non refugiant.
AND 20 in particular he is to keep this Rule in every way, 21 so that, having ministered well, he will hear from the Lord what was heard by the good servant who gave grain to his fellow-servants in due season: 22 Truly I say to you, he said, he sets him over all his goods (Matt 24:27)..
20 Et praecipue ut praesentem regulam in omnibus conservet, 21 ut dum bene ministraverit audiat a Domino quod servus bonus qui erogavit triticum conservis suis in tempore suo: 22 Amen dico vobis, ait, super omnia bona sua constituit eum.