Saturday, April 3, 2010

The abbot, the archbishop and the vicar general

Reader AG at The Risk of Truth blog has posted a new monk and cow story! It concerns a naughty abbot who, under the guise of holiness, secretly pushed peasants' cows over cliffs. He got away with it for several years, having convinced the archbishop of his sanctity. However, his plan goes awry when the Vicar General clues into the Abbot's bovine fetish. You can read the whole story by clicking here.

The Monk, the Cow and the Peddler

[This monk and cow story comes from Erin Manning (aka the blogger Red Cardigan) at the And Sometimes Tea blog...]

There was once an Abbey where a strange Abbot lived. He had to be very, very holy, because nothing he ever said or did made much sense to ordinary men. He gathered around himself a following of monks, to whom he gave strange advice and directions. Some he sent to minister directly to the rich, who were under-served by traditional religious orders; some he sent to instruct children in the lesson that the best wisdom of all could be found at the Abbey; and some he sent with curious orders to find poor families who owned only one or two cows, and push their cows over the nearby cliffs (the story takes place in a mountainous region). The monks often wondered what this program of holy bovicide could possibly mean, but they didn't ever discuss it, because the Abbot's law of charity forbade such conversations among the monks.

One evening, having successfully pushed eight cows and one donkey over a cliff, a monk was walking along the village road. He was sad, because of the donkey; the light had been failing, and in his haste and zeal to exterminate a few more cattle for the Abbot before the day was over, the monk had made a dreadful error. So engrossed in his penitent thoughts was the monk that he collided with a man who was carrying a basket over his shoulders.

"I am so sorry that you did not see me!" exclaimed the monk, not stooping to help the man pick up the things he had dropped; monks don't stoop, for it is as undignified as eating an apple without the proper utensils. "Are you a food-seller, perhaps?" he continued hopefully; he had not had time to eat this day, aside from his breakfast, and the lunch he had packed, and the dinner he had eaten with a poor family before going out to send their cow to bovine glory.

[To continue reading, please click here.]

The monk who misunderstood holiness

Two monks were praying on the mountain when the first monk turned to the second and said: "I cannot understand why you enjoy such renown among the people for holiness."

"I fast every day, whereas you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays only," the first monk said. "I pray for six hours a day. You stop after three. I preach hard teachings to the people, for hours at a time, never compromising an iota of Christian orthodoxy. You limit your homilies to ten minutes - even on important feasts like Christmas and Easter."

"I confess my sins publicly once a day, you confess privately every second week."

"I perform severe penances to discipline the flesh and atone for my sins. You like to relax and partake of food, wine and conversation with the pilgrims who visit our monastery."

"I limit myself to three hours sleep a night, on hard ground with neither blanket nor pillow. You sleep for six, on a bed."

"I donate 75 percent of my stipends to the Church, while you keep 75 percent for yourself."

"I spend our leisure time during the day memorizing Sacred Scripture, while you go for a walk in the mountains and whistle with the birds."

"So what's your big secret?" the first monk asked. "Why do you enjoy a reputation among pilgrims for holiness, and not me?"

The second monk thought for a second, looked his companion in the eyes, and said: "There's no secret, my brother. I love Jesus."