Holy Rule Of Saint Benedict
On the Keeping of Lent
The life of a monk ought always to be a Lenten observance. However,
since such virtue is that of few, we advise that during these days of
Lent he guard his life with all purity and at the same time wash away
during these holy days all the shortcomings of other times. This will
then be worthily done, if we restrain ourselves from all vices. Let us
devote ourselves to tearful prayers, to reading and compunction of
heart, and to abstinence.
During these days, therefore, let us add something to the usual amount
of our service, special prayers, abstinence from food and drink, that
each one offer to God "with the joy of the Holy Ghost" (1 Thes 1:6), of
his own accord, something above his prescribed measure; namely, let him
withdraw from his body somewhat of food, drink, sleep, speech,
merriment, and with the gladness of spiritual desire await holy Easter.
Let each one, however, make known to his Abbot what he offereth and let
it be done with his approval and blessing; because what is done without
permission of the spiritual father will be imputed to presumption and
vain glory, and not to merit. Therefore, let all be done with the
approval of the Abbot.