RB 33 and Private Ownership
11/March/2008 Filed in: Jottings
Every time I read chapter 33 of the Rule, I examine my conscience (and the conscience of the community). It is so easy to allow "possessions" to multiply, or treat as one's own goods meant to be common to all. Benedict was quite right in seeing the sense of private ownership as leading to a weakening of community. When one has nothing, absolutely nothing, one can call one's own, one is indeed wholly reliant on the community. Paradoxically, one is also free. I don't mean the kind of freedom which implies having no worries or cares or being at liberty to do whatever one likes without reckoning the cost. I mean the kind of freedom which cannot be measured by what one has or one's ability to impose one's will on others: the freedom simply to be the person one is. It is a freedom uniting one with others rather than separating from them. Perhaps we in the West should take a second look at our attitudes to the very poor: they are indeed our brethren, and our sharing with them is no more than their due.