The Chronicle of the Canons Regular of Mount St. Agnes eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 166 pages of information about The Chronicle of the Canons Regular of Mount St. Agnes.
baskets and mats, or did divers tasks for the good of the community at the bidding of their Superior.  Outwardly indeed they led a life of poverty and toil for Christ’s sake, but the love of the heavenly life made sweet the present indigence.  If one went forth on any business, he would first utter some short word concerning the things of God, or would speak the Name of Jesus, and some other would reply with “Christ” or “Mary” as his devotion impelled him.  For a great while they lived together in this companionship, and until the time of the foundation of the Monastery, all alike, both Clerks and Lay folk obeyed their first Rector, John of Ummen, a zealous man and well skilled in spiritual things.  With such diligence did they follow the virtue of obedience that none dared even to drive in a nail, or do any little thing without the knowledge of the Rector or Procurator, for they received fraternal correction by way of warning for the least neglect, nor was there given any place for excuse, but every man did humbly acknowledge his fault, and was forward to promise amendment.  But if any were not ready to obey, or should cling stubbornly to what was good in his own eyes Father John would chide him more sternly as the manner of the fault and the quality of the person did demand.  Sometimes fired with yet greater zeal for discipline and in order to affright the other Brothers he would say to some that were ill content, or slow to take his Orders:  “Lo! the door standeth open.  If any will go forth, let him go:  I would rather have one that is obedient than many that are disobedient.  By the favour of God I may readily find others who will cheerfully do what ye refuse.”  Thus by the voice of his authority he would curb the ill-contentment of some.  Also he used to say that unwilling and sluggish Brothers were false prophets who thought that naught was profitable save what was good in their own eyes.

Once it happened that the elder Reyner was sent out with some other Brothers to guard the reeds, lest the cattle that passed by might chew and injure them.  But when the time for the midday meal came all the rest went in, and Reyner alone remained on watch in the fields, and afterwards he, too, went in to take his sustenance.  Then he was asked wherefore he had not come in with the others at the appointed hour, and he answered that he had remained outside thinking to do the more good thereby, and prevent danger to their stuff.  But Father John replied, “Would that the beasts had despoiled all our goods so that thou hadst come in with the rest as in duty bound.  This would have pleased me better.”  Then was Reyner deeply penitent, and groaning he prostrated himself humbly on the ground asking for pardon, and saying that he would never do the like again.  But yet John was full of comfort and kindness to those that were tempted or oppressed with any weighty matter, for he had the gracious power of consoling all, whatever might be the cause for which they came to him. 

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The Chronicle of the Canons Regular of Mount St. Agnes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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