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Chapter XVI.

How no one is allowed to pray with one who has been suspended from prayer.

Further, if one of them has been suspended from prayer for some fault which he has committed, no one has any liberty of praying with him before he performs his penance on the ground,709709    Cf. III. vii., and the description of this penance in IV. xvi. and reconciliation and pardon for his offence has been publicly granted to him by the Abbot before all the brethren. For by a plan of this kind they separate and cut themselves off from fellowship with him in prayer for this reason—because they believe that one who is suspended from prayer is, as the Apostle says, “delivered unto Satan:”710710    1 Cor. v. 5; 1 Tim. i. 20. and if any one, moved by an ill-considered affection, dares to hold communion with him in prayer before he has been received by the elder, he makes himself partaker of his damnation, and delivers himself up of his own free will to Satan, to whom the other had been consigned for the correction of his guilt. And in this he falls into a more grievous offence because, by uniting with him in fellowship either in talk or in prayer, he gives him grounds for still greater arrogance, and only encourages and makes worse the obstinacy of the offender. For, by 212giving him a consolation that is only hurtful, he will make his heart still harder, and not let him humble himself for the fault for which he was excommunicated; and through this he will make him hold the Elder’s rebuke as of no consequence, and harbour deceitful thoughts about satisfaction and absolution.

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