"Every one has his proper gift from God, one after this manner and another after that" (1 Cor 7:7). It is with some hesitation, therefore, that we determine the measure of nourishment for others. However, making allowance for the weakness of the infirm, we think one hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each one. But to whom God grants the endurance of abstinence, let them know that they will have their special reward. If the circumstances of the place, or the work, or the summer's heat should require more, let that depend on the judgment of the abbot or abbess, who must above all things see to it, that excess or drunkenness do not creep in.
Although we read that wine is not at all proper for monks, yet, because monks in our time cannot be persuaded of this, let us agree to this, at least, that we do not drink to satiety, but sparingly; because "wine makes even wise men fall off" (Sir 19:2). But where the poverty of the place will not permit the aforesaid measure to be had, but much less, or none at all, let those who live there bless God and murmur not. This we charge above all things, that they live without murmuring.
"This we charge above all things, that they live without murmuring." These are our Father Benedict's concluding words to this chapter, and they show what is his highest priority regarding the amounts of food and drink consumed by the community. More than anything else, it's important that those who follow the Benedictine way are content with what is provided for them. This principle of contentedness goes well beyond food and drink to the heart of what we are about: the relinquishing of our prejudgments and desires in favor of the Spirit's guidance in our lives. May we follow in the footsteps of St. Benedict, then, opening ourselves to hear from and freely follow the Spirit’s lead.