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How the Abbot ought to care for the excommunicated.

Let the Abbot have a special care of the offending Brethren, for, “They that are well need not the physician, but they that are sick.”167167Matth. ix. 12. He ought, therefore, like a wise physician, to use every means in their regard, and covertly send them as comforters, some elderly and discreet Brothers to console, as it were secretly, the wavering one, and win him to make humble satisfaction. Let them comfort him, that he be not swallowed up by overmuch sorrow, but as the Apostle saith: “Let charity be confirmed towards him, and let all pray for him.”168168I Cor. ii. 8.

The Abbot ought especially to have care, and with all prudence and industry, to see that he lose none of the sheep committed to his charge. Let him know that he hath undertaken the care of sick souls, and not a tyrannical authority over such as are well. Let him fear the threat of the Prophet, by whom God saith; “What ye saw to be fat, that ye took to yourselves, and what was diseased, that ye threw away.”169169Ezech. xxxiv. 3. Let him imitate the loving kindness of the “Good Shepherd,” Who “leaving ninety-nine sheep in the mountains, went to seek one that had gone astray, on whose infirmity He took such compassion, that He vouchsafed to lay it on His own sacred shoulder, and thus carry it back to the flock.”170170Luc. xv. 4.

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