In Christianity’s earliest community, if someone received money from their work or selling something they owned, then the money went into the community collection to be used for the needs of the whole. Special care was given to the widowed and orphans because they had no means to get money. Likewise, the community cared for the elderly and sick. Each person had what they needed. We live similarly today.
St Benedict envisioned communities of monks operating in the same way. We still hold on to that in our more contemporary living of St. Benedict’s Rule and that early Christian community. St. Benedict emphasized that each member would have what was needed and that some members may need more than others. I always think of this as another form of balance.
In our community we pool our earnings and then are given what we need to live on. Our paychecks are made out to our community. Out of these community funds we receive what we need, i.e. housing, food, medical, education etc. Some Sisters need more perhaps due to medical conditions or work expectations while others may need less because they have no special needs.
We provide for the elderly and the sick. We have our own health care area where Sisters needing assistance are aided by our CNAs and RN nursing staff.
My point is that we continue to live out both the Gospel and the Rule. Indeed, there are differences, but the principle stands as true today as it did 1500 years ago. That is really quite amazing, isn’t it? All these years of Benedictine life still ring true to the original ideals of not only Benedict but the early Christians.
Something as enduring as our Benedictine life certainly continues to offer the world a wonderful spirituality of community. Something this enduring may have much to offer you, as well.