Life is extremely busy and will be for some time to continue.
In the meantime, here’s a random collection of quotes worth pondering:
“The principle literary sources of monastic culture may be reduced to three: Holy Scripture, the patristic tradition, and classical literature. The liturgy. . . is the medium through which the Bible and the patristic tradition are received, and it is the liturgy that gives unity to all the manifestations of monastic culture.”
Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture (trans. Catharine Misrahi, New York: Fordham University Press, 1982), 71.
“The various [monastic] rules were merely so many individual expressions of the tradition. All the ancient monks considered their real rule, in the sense of the ultimate determinant of their lives, to be not some product of human effort but the Word of God himself as contained in the Scriptures. Monasticism was simply a form of the Christian life itself, and hence it drew its inspiration from divine revelation.”
Claude Peifer, “The Rule of St. Benedict”, pp. 65-112 in RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English and Latin with Notes, Edited by Timothy Fry, (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1980), 85.
…[W]hen a monk is endeavouring after the plan of monastic life to reach the heights of a more advanced perfection, and, having learned the consideration of discretion, is able to arrive at the very summit of the anchorite’s life, he ought by no means to seek for all kinds of virtues from one man however excellent. For one is adorned with flowers of knowledge, another is more strongly fortified with methods of discretion, another is established in the dignity of patience, another excels in the virtue of humility, another in that of continence, another is decked with the grace of simplicity. . . . And therefore the monk who desires to gather spiritual honey, ought like a most careful bee, to suck out virtue from those who specially possess it, and should diligently store it up in the vessel of his own breast; nor should he investigate what any one is lacking in, but only regard and gather whatever virtue he has. For if we want to gain all virtues from some one person, we shall with great difficulty or perhaps never at all find suitable examples for us to imitate. For though we do not as yet see that even Christ is made “all things in all” as the Apostle says; still in this way we can find Him bit by bit in all. For it is said of Him, “Who was made of God to you wisdom and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” While then in one there is found wisdom, in another righteousness, in another sanctification, in another kindness, in another chastity, in another humility, in another patience, Christ is at the present time divided, member by member, among all the saints. But when all come together into the unity of the faith and virtue, He is formed into the “perfect man,” completing the fullness of His body, in the joints and properties of all His members.
John Cassian, Inst. 5.4; NPNF 2.11.234-235.