Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XLVIII: CONCERNING THE DAILY MANUAL WORK - The Rule of St. Benedict
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CHAPTER XLVIII: CONCERNING THE DAILY MANUAL WORK - Saint Benedict, The Rule of St. Benedict 
The Rule of St. Benedict, translated into English. A Pax Book, preface by W.K. Lowther Clarke (London: S.P.C.K., 1931).
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CONCERNING THE DAILY MANUAL WORK
Idleness is inimical to the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be occupied, at fixed seasons, with manual work and again at fixed seasons with spiritual reading: and so we think the hours for each should be arranged on this plan: that is to say that from Easter to the first of October they go out in the morning from Prime and work at whatever has to be done until nearly the fourth hour: and from the fourth hour have time for reading until about the sixth hour. And when they rise from table after the sixth hour let them rest upon their beds in complete silence; or if by chance anyone should wish to read, let him so read as that he may not disturb anyone else. Let None be said in good time, about the middle of the eighth hour, and then again let them work at whatever has to be done, until Vespers. And let them not be distressed if poverty or the needs of the place should require that they busy themselves about gathering in the crops with their own hands; for then are they truly monks, when they live by the work of their own hands, as did our fathers and the apostles. Let everything be done in moderation however on account of the faint-hearted.
And from the first of October until the beginning of Lent let them have reading time until the end of the second hour; and at the second hour let Terce be said and then all go to work until None at whatever is assigned them. But as soon as the first signal for None is made, let each and all break off from their work and be ready by the time the second signal has sounded. And after dinner let them have time for their studies and for learning the psalms. But in Lent let them have time for their studies from morning until the end of the third hour; and let them go to work at whatever is assigned them until the end of the tenth hour. In Lent moreover let them each have a book from the library and read it straight through: and these books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent. And above all let one or two seniors be deputed to go round the monastery and keep observation during reading hours lest by chance any brother be found morose and idle, or chatting instead of intent upon his reading; and therefore be not only useless to himself but also a distraction to others. And if, which be far from us, such an one be found, let him be corrected once and yet again; and if then he be not amended let him be subjected to correction according to rule in such wise that others be put in fear. And let not brother associate with brother at times not appointed for that purpose.
Further on the Lord’s day let all have time for reading, except those who have been deputed for various duties; but if there shall be anyone so uninterested or so inert that through lack of will-power or of ability he can neither study nor read let there be some work assigned him that he may not be idle. To weak and delicate brethren let there be assigned such suitable occupation and duties that they be neither overcome of idleness nor so oppressed by exhaustion through work that they be driven to flight. Their weakness is to be taken into consideration by the abbot.