Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

5 Helpful tips from a 6th-century monk on preparing a meal

MONK,MEAL

Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/20/17

What type of food? How much should be prepared?

In the 6th century, St. Benedict of Norcia was a revolutionary abbot. He established countless monasteries under a common rule that brought much needed order to the monastic life. The rule covered all aspects of life, including meals.

In his Rule, Benedict made specific regulations for meals in community that helped nourish both the soul and body. Here are five of those practical rules that can be applied in various circumstances.

1. Cook a few different types of food, giving options for everyone to eat

We think it sufficient for the daily meal, whether at the sixth or the ninth hour, that there be at all the tables two dishes of cooked food because of the weaknesses of different persons; so that he who perhaps cannot eat of the one may make his meal of the other. Therefore, let two cooked dishes suffice for the brethren; and if there is any fruit or fresh vegetables, let a third dish be added. 

2. Everyone should take turns in the kitchen

All the brethren, except those who are hindered by sickness or by some occupation of great moment, shall serve each other by turns, so that no one be excused from duty in the kitchen, for thereby a very great reward is obtained.

3. Moderation is to be observed in the food (and drink) prepared

[E]xcess [is to] be avoided above all things, that no monk be ever guilty of [consuming too much]; for nothing is more unworthy of any Christian than gluttony. Although we read that wine is by no means a drink for monks, yet, since in our days the monks cannot be convinced of this, let us at least agree to this, that we do not drink to satiety, but sparingly.

4. Avoid eating alone as much as possible

Brethren who go out on any business and expect to return to the monastery on the same day should not presume to take any food while outside the monastery.

5. Treat dinner guests as Christ himself, even breaking a personal fast to accommodate a guest

Let all guests arriving at the monastery be received as Christ Himself, for He will one day say, “I was a stranger and you took Me in.” And let due honor be paid to all, especially, however, to those who are of the household of the faith — and to strangers.The superior may break the fast on account of a guest.


Spencer Beer

Read more:
Spencer: The first Trappist brewery in the “New World”




Read more:
Byzantine monk and nun debut cooking show on balanced life of feasting and fasting

Tags:
FoodSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
2
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
3
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
4
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
5
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
6
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.