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187. What is Fitting for Those in the Religious State

1. It is lawful and suitable for those in the religiousstate to teach and, if they are priests, to preach. For, if theyhave ability for such tasks, and are given jurisdiction by theright authorities, there is nothing in the works themselves toconflict with the religious state.

2. It is not lawful for those in the religious life tocarry on secular business for motives of mere gain. Yet forcharity, they may, with due moderation, occupy themselves withbusiness affairs. Some measure of such work is required for theconducting of schools and orphanages. And in business connectedwith the Church or with the relief of a neighbor's need, thereis charity, and not secular officiousness.

3. Those in the religious state are not bound to manuallabor (unless there is a special precept requiring it in the Rulewhich they profess), any more than other people are so bound.Circumstances may, indeed, render manual labor necessary forreligious, and then they are required to perform it.

4. It is certainly lawful for religious to live on alms.St. Benedict, living in a cave, and uninterruptedly intent on hisspiritual growth, was supported for three years by food which amonk brought him atintervals; he did not engage in gainfullabor to support himself. Those religious who live on alms are notidlers. They sanctify themselves and others by diligentlyfulfilling the duties of their state, and are content to beregarded as dependents, accepting whatever is given them; thus theyare helped to be humble and are made more free to attend the thingsof God.

5. Not only may religious live on alms given them unasked;they may also beg for the material necessaries of life. To beg isto abase oneself, and when this is done for Christ, it is a notableact of religious humility, and a potent cure for pride.

6. St. Jerome, instructing the monk Rusticus, says,"Let your sober dress show your purity of mind, and yourcoarse cloak show your contempt of the world." It is suitablefor religious to use common and coarse attire, for such apparelbefits those who do penance and contemn worldly glory.

"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."
St Philip Neri

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

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