Being Gentle and Stern

For in his teaching the Abbot should always observe the recommendation of the Apostle, in which he says: Reprove, convince, rebuke. (2 Tim. 4:2). That is, he should suit his action to the circumstances, mingling gentleness with sternness; showing now the rigor of a master, now the loving affection of a father, so as sternly to rebuke the undisciplined and restless, and to exhort the obedient, mild, and patient to advance in virtue. And such as are negligent and haughty we charge him to reprove and correct. let him not shut his eyes to the faults of offenders; but as soon as they appear, let him strive, as he has the authority for tht, to root them out, remembering the fate of Eli, the priest of Shiloh (1 Sam 2:11-4:18). Those of good disposition and understanding let him correct, for the first or second time, with words only; but such as are troublesome and hard of heart, proud or disobedient, let him chastise with bodily stripes at the very first offense, knowing tht it is written: The fool is not corrected with words (Prov. 29:19), and again, Strike your son with a rod and you will have freed his soul from death (Prov. 23:14).

Rule of Benedict, Chapter 2


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