CHAPTER LXVIII. If a Brother be commanded to do Impossibilities
26 Apr. 26 Aug. 26 Dec.
If on any brother there be laid commands that are hard and impossible, let him receive the orders of him who biddeth him with all mildness and obedience. But if he seeth the weight of the burden altogether to exceed his strength, let him seasonably and with patience lay before his Superior the reasons of his incapacity to obey, with out shewing pride, resistance, or contradiction. If, however, after this the Superior still persist in his command, let the younger know that it is expedient for him; and let him obey for the love of God, trusting in His assistance.
Why would an abbot lay upon a brother commands that are hard and impossible? Saint Benedict is speaking here from the perspective of the brother, not from that of the abbot. Saint Benedict knows well that at certain hours and seasons life, a brother may find some things hard and impossible. The brother may be weary, or beset with temptations, or feeling unwell. He