CHAPTER 59 - The Offering of Children by Nobles or the Poor

If a member of the nobility offers a child to God in the monastery, and the child is too young, the parents draw up the document mentioned above; then, at the presentation of the gifts, they wrap the document itself and the child's hand in the altar cloth. That is how they make their offering ... Poor people do the same, but those who have nothing at all simply write the document and, in the presence of witnesses, off their child with the gifts. RB 59:1-2;7-8

Benedict seems to be interested in the legal ramifications of offering one's child to the monastery. He is not so concerned about the feelings of the parents but is more concerned about protecting the monastery from any legal difficulties, i.e. property ownership.

In the midst of what seems to be legalities Benedict speaks of the central theme of offering which is mentioned three times in this chapter. In the previous chapter (Chapter 58) we are reminded that we do not own anything; everything is gift. Here the offering the gift of self to God is the ultimate goal for Benedict. May it be so for us!