The Problem of Possessions

RB 54 takes up a subject Benedict has already treated in RB 33, the problem of ownership and radical dispossession. Unlike most other religious, Benedictines do not take a vow of poverty; yet if we are serious about our monastic life, the degree of ‘dispossession’ is probably greater than among many who do. For example, in the community to which I belong, RB 54 is observed literally. No one receives anything from another without permission, and no one presumes to keep anything unless it has been authorised. Even at the communal level, strict watch is kept over any superfluity. A kind friend in the U.S. recently offered us an iPad and it was quite hard for a community of Apple geeks to say ‘no’; but we could not justify accepting something that was not truly necessary for the work we do. (Note for the curious: we got a donation instead which we applied to more urgent but less stylish needs.)

Possessions can be a problem: too many or two few and one wastes time and energy worrying about them. Living by the providence of God is something most Christians would applaud in theory, but it is incredibly difficult to do as one gets older and/or there are family members to worry about as well as oneself. There is no easy solution. Without becoming scrupulous in the bad sense, we do need to keep an eye on what we amass. Lent, with its call to almsgiving, is a good time for taking stock. Perhaps we could do more than take last season’s books and clothes to the Charity Shop?

Thank You
iBenedictines has climbed a few more places in the Wikio Top Blogs Religion and Belief category, thanks to our readers. That was a very nice surprise!


6 thoughts on “The Problem of Possessions”

  1. Yes, congratulations! I tried to find the blog on the site and failed. What search word to enter? “iBenedictines” didn’t produce results.

    Possessions: a rich, steaming heap of a topic for Lent, for our current (global) cultural and political moment. There are so many dimensions to the ways in which we can think about them and deal with them (that is, if we have a choice in the latter) that it’s almost paralyzing.

    • Thank you. You need to put iBenedictines into the Wikio blog search, not the general search. Alternatively, click on the badge in the sidebar and then look at the listing for the Religion and Life Blogs. There is an excellent selection there to follow, had one but world enough and time.

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