Infirmorum cura ante omnia et super omnia adhibenda est, ut sicut revera Christo ita eis serviatur, quia ipse dixit: “infirmus fui, et visitastis me”, et: “quod fecistis uni de his minimis, mihi fecistis.” sed et ipsi infirmi considerent in honorem Dei sibi serviri, et non superfluitate sua contristent fratres suos servientes sibi; qui tamen patienter portandi sunt, quia de talibus copiosior mercis adquiritur. ergo cura maxima sit abbati, ne aliquam neglegentiam patiantur. quibus fratribus infirmis sit cella super se deputata et servitor timens Deum et diligens ac sollicitus. balnearum usus infirmis quotiens expedit offeratur, sanis autem et maxime iuvenibus tardius concedatur. sed et carnium esus infirmis omnimo debilibus pro reparatione concedatur; at ubi meliorati fuerint, a carnibus more solito omnes abstineant. curam autem maximam habeat abbas ne a cellarariis aut a servitoribus neglegantur infirmi; et ipsum respicit quidquid a discipulis delinquitur. licet ipsa natura humana trahatur ad misericordiam in his aetatibus, senum videlicet et infantum, tamen et regulæ auctoritas eis prospiciat. consideretur semper in eis inbecillitas et ullatenus eis districtio regulæ teneatur in alimentis; sed sit in eis pia consideratio et præveniant horas canonicas.
(Benedict of Nursia, Regula 36-37)
Before and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, that they be served in very truth as Christ is served; because He hath said, “I was sick and you visited Me” (Mt. 25:36). And “As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me” (Mt. 25:40). But let the sick themselves also consider that they are served for the honor of God, and let them not grieve their brethren who serve them by unnecessary demands. These must, however, be patiently borne with, because from such as these a more bountiful reward is gained. Let the Abbot’s greatest concern, therefore, be that they suffer no neglect. Let a cell be set apart for the sick brethren, and a God-fearing, diligent, and careful attendant be appointed to serve them. Let the use of the bath be offered to the sick as often as it is useful, but let it be granted more rarely to the healthy and especially the young. Thus also let the use of meat be granted to the sick and to the very weak for their recovery. But when they have been restored let them all abstain from meat in the usual manner. But let the Abbot exercise the utmost care that the sick are not neglected by the Cellarer or the attendants, because whatever his disciples do amiss falleth back on him. Although human nature is of itself drawn to feel compassion for these life-periods, namely, old age and childhood, still, let the decree of the Rule make provision also for them. Let their natural weakness be always taken into account and let the strictness of the Rule not be kept with them in respect to food, but let there be a tender regard in their behalf and let them eat before regular hours. (tr. Boniface Verheyen)