Rule of the Order of St. Augustine
- Goal and basis of common life
- The prayer
- Simple lifestyle and care for physical well-being
- Preservation of chastity and fraternal correction
- The temporal needs and their provision
- Atonement and forgiveness for insults
- The spirit of command and obedience
- Observation of the rule
1. Above all, dear brethren, you are to love God, and then your neighbor; for these are the main commandments given to us.
2. This is what we command you in the monastery.
Goal and basis of common life
3. The first goal of your communal life is to live together in harmony and to be "one heart and one soul" toward God.
4. Therefore do not call anything your own, but everything belongs to you together; Through your superiors, food and clothing will be allocated to each of you, not all in the same way, because you do not all have the same health, but rather each according to his needs. So you read in the Acts of the Apostles: “They had everything in common and each was given what he needed” (Acts 4:32 and 35).
5. Those who had wealth in the world should like to see after their entry into the monastery that it becomes common property.
6. But those who had nothing should not look in the monastery for what they could not have outside either. But what they need because of their weakness they should receive, even if their poverty in the world was so great that they could not even find what they needed. But they shouldn't consider themselves lucky because they found food and clothing that they couldn't find outside.
7. Nor should they hold their heads high because they come into the company of people whom they had not dared to approach in the world; their heart should rather be directed upwards and not seek earthly vanity. Otherwise it could go so far that the monasteries would only be of use to the rich, not also to the poor, in that the rich would become humble there and the poor would become arrogant.
8. On the other hand, those who seemed to mean something in the world should not disregard their confreres who came to this holy community from poor backgrounds. They should seek more to boast of living with poor confreres than of the high position of their rich parents. Nor should they arrogate themselves when they have given part of their wealth to the community, and should not become more proud of their wealth because they turn it to the monastery than if they were enjoying it in the world. For all other sin is by evil works that one does; pride, on the other hand, also harms and destroys good works. What use is it to surrender one's wealth to the poor and become poor when the unhappy soul, through the contempt for wealth, becomes more haughty than it was before in its possession?
9. So live together in harmony and love and in each other honor God, whose temple you have become.
10. It is incumbent on prayer with zeal at the appointed hours and times.
11. In the oratorio everyone should only do what it is intended to do and where it gets its name from. Otherwise those who also want to pray outside of the prescribed hours in their free time would be disturbed by those who believe they have to do something else there.
12. When you pray to God in psalms and hymns, what the mouth utters should also live in the heart.
13. And only sing what is prescribed to be sung. What is not written for singing should not be sung either.
Simple lifestyle and care for physical well-being
14. Your flesh tamed by fasting and abstinence in food and drink, as far as health allows. But if someone cannot fast, he should at least not eat any food outside of table time, unless he is sick.
15. When you go to the table, until you get up, listen to the usual reading without any noise or argument; for not only the mouth should receive food for you, but also the ears should hunger for the word of God.
16. If those who are weak because of their previous way of life are given a different diet, those who have become stronger as a result of a different way of life must not resent or find it unjust. Nor should they consider them happier because they get something they don't get themselves; rather, they should be happy that they are able to do what others do not have the strength to do.
17. And if those who have come to the monastery from better living conditions are given something in the way of food, clothing, beds and blankets that is not given to the stronger and therefore happier, the latter must consider how much of their life habits in the Have already given up on the world, even if they have not yet been able to achieve the modesty of the more physically stronger. The whole community must not want what it sees a few get in addition. Because they don't get it because they are preferred, but because they are endured; Otherwise there would be the reprehensible absurdity that in the monastery the rich strive to the best of their ability, while the poor become comfortable.
18. The sick, however, should receive less so as not to cause discomfort. After the illness, however, they must be cared for in such a way that they recover quickly, had they come from the poorest circumstances in the world. After all, the disease they have just survived gives them the same rights as the rich their former way of life. However, when they have regained their former strength, they may return to their - after all, happier way of life. The more modest it is, the better it suits the servant of God. Once they have regained their strength, they should not allow themselves to be controlled by the desire for food that they needed to strengthen while they were weak. They should consider those richer who are braver in enduring hardship; because needing little is better than having a lot.
Preservation of chastity and fraternal correction
19. Be inconspicuous in your behavior; attaches importance to attracting attention not through clothing, but through moral attitude.
20. When you go out, go together; once you have reached your goal, stay together.
21. In walking, standing and in all your movements there was nothing that could offend anyone; but everything corresponds to your holy status.
22. If your gaze falls on a woman, do not let them stay on her. It is true that you are not barred from seeing women when you go out; but to desire them or to want to be desired by them is culpable. Because not only in touch and affection expresses desire and it shows itself in women, but also in looks. Do not say your heart is pure when your eyes are unclean; for the unchaste gaze betrays the unchaste heart. And when the hearts betray their dishonesty to one another in a wordless exchange of looks and, as a result of carnal desire, become passionate about one another, chastity is already over, even if the physical integrity is not injured.
23. Whoever looks for a woman with his eyes and likes it when she also looks for him should not believe that he will remain unseen; he will most certainly be seen by observers of whom he does not even think. But even if it went unnoticed and no one had observed it, what does he want to do with the witness from on high, from whom nothing can remain hidden? Or does one want to believe that the reason he sees nothing is because his patience is as great as his wisdom? The devotee is afraid of displeasing him, so that he does not seek to please a woman in a sinful way. He should remember that God sees everything, so that he does not want to look at a woman culpably. The fear of Him is also recommended in this point through the scripture: "Lustful eyes are an abomination to the Lord" (Prov 27:20).
24. So when you are together in the church and wherever there are women, watch one another over your purity; for God, who dwells in you, will also protect you in this way through yourselves.
25. If you now notice this lack of discipline of the eyes, of which I speak, in one of you, warn him immediately so that the evil beginnings do not grow further, but are immediately eliminated.
26. But if you see him, even after a warning, even if on a different day, do the same thing again, then whoever could perceive it should report him; because he is in a sense wounded and needs healing. But before that one should make a second or third person aware of it so that he can be convicted by two or three witnesses and punished with due severity. Do not think you are loveless when you expose something like this. You are not more guilty if you let your confreres, whom you could improve by reporting, plunge into ruin by silence. If your brother had a wound on his body and wanted to keep it a secret because he was afraid of having it cut, wouldn't it be cruel of you to remain silent about it, but merciful to reveal it? How much more must you make it known so that there is no worse putrefaction in his heart?
27. Before pointing out others who should convict him if he denies, it is a duty to report him beforehand to the superior if he has not tried to improve despite being reprimanded. So maybe one can reprove him more secretly without the others hearing it. But if he denies, then others have to be called in without his knowledge, so that in the presence of everyone he can not be accused by just one witness, but can be convicted by two or three. If he is convicted, however, then he should, at the discretion of the superior or the major superior, in whose area of office it falls, accept a punishment for his recovery. If he is reluctant to do this, he should be excluded from your community, even if he does not go by himself; for this is not done out of hardship either, but out of mercy, so that he does not draw many others into perdition through ominous contagion.
28. What I have said about uncontrolled looks should also be conscientiously and faithfully observed when uncovering, repelling, reporting, convicting and punishing other offenses, with love for people but with hatred of sin.
29. But if someone had gone so far in evil that he would secretly accept letters or any small gifts from a woman, one should, if he freely admits this, treat him gently and pray for him; but if he is caught and convicted, then according to the judgment of the major superior or the superior he should be improved by a severe punishment.
The temporal needs and their provision
30. Keep your clothes together under the care of one or two confreres or as many as are necessary to dust them out so that they do not suffer from moths; and as you are nourished from a larder, so shall you be clothed from a closet. It should - as far as possible - not depend on you what is given to you to wear, depending on the time of year, whether everyone receives what they gave back or something that someone else had. But nobody should be denied what he needs. But if you quarrel and grumble about this, and someone complains that something worse has been given to him than he had before and that he does not deserve to be dressed like his brother, then see in this a proof of how much you still lack that inner, holy garment of the soul, because you argue about the clothing of the body. After all, if you let your weakness go and you get back what you have put down, keep what you have put down in a place under common care.
31. It should be done entirely in the spirit that nobody does anything for himself personally, but that all work with you is done with greater zeal and with more joy for the community than if you were doing it for yourself. It is written of love: “It does not seek its advantage” (1 Cor 13: 5). This is to be understood as follows: it places what is common above what is its own, not what is own above what is common. So you know: the more you are concerned about the community instead of your private interests, the more you have progressed, so that all temporal needs are outshone by the love that remains forever.
32. It follows, then, that gifts, such as clothing or other necessary items that one gives to one's children or relatives in the monastery, are not secretly accepted; but the superior should have the right to make it common and leave it to those who need it. If someone hides a gift, they should be found guilty of theft.
33. Your clothes should be washed according to the judgment of the superior, either by yourself or in the laundry, so that an excessive concern for a clean garment does not stain the soul inside.
34. A bath for the body is by no means to be refused if poor health demands it. According to the recommendations of medicine, it should be done without contradiction, so that one does what is necessary for his health even against his inclination at the command of the superior. But if someone longs for it, although it may not suit him, then one should not give in to his desire; for sometimes one thinks something pleasant is useful when it is harmful.
35. In the case of internal physical pain, when the servant of God says what hurts him, one should believe without hesitation. If, however, it is not certain whether what is pleasant is also what is suitable for healing that pain, one should consult a doctor.
36. Also, no fewer than two or three should go to the baths or any other necessary corridors. Anyone who has to go somewhere should not go with the companions they want, but those of the superior.
37. Someone should be entrusted with caring for the sick and convalescent or otherwise weak, even if they do not have a fever, so that he or she can ask from the kitchen what, in his opinion, everyone needs.
38. Whoever manages the kitchen, clothes, or books should serve the confreres without grumbling.
39. The books are to be requested daily at a certain hour. Anyone who demands it outside of time should not receive it.
40. However, anyone who is entrusted with the safekeeping of clothes and shoes should, upon request, immediately hand them over if they are needed.
Atonement and forgiveness for insults
41. You shouldn't actually have an argument or end it as quickly as possible. Otherwise anger turns into hate, turns the splinter into a beam and the soul into a murderer. For so it is written: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 Jn 3:15).
42. Anyone who has injured someone by swearing, by defamation or even by accusing them of an offense should see that he is making amends as quickly as possible for what he has caused. But the offended person forgives without long negotiations. But if they have offended one another, they must also mutually forgive one another - for the sake of your prayers. The more you pray, the better you should pray. Because if someone quickly flares up angrily, but then quickly asks for forgiveness, if he realizes that he has done an injustice, he is better than someone who does not get angry so quickly, but also finds himself difficult to apologize. But anyone who never wants to ask for forgiveness or does not ask from an honest heart is without justification in the monastery, even if he is not expelled. So then beware of offensive speech; but if they slip out of your mouth, then do not resist offering the remedy with the same mouth that hit the wound.
43. If, however, the need to maintain monastic discipline leads you to harsh words when guiding the younger ones, and if you yourself feel that you have exceeded the right measure in this, you are not required to ask their forgiveness; Otherwise the respect for official authority could be undermined in those who have to be subject to an exaggerated humility. But you must ask for forgiveness from the Lord of all men, who knows with what benevolent love you are also given to those who you may have reprimanded too harshly. However, your love for one another should not be sensual, but spiritual.
The spirit of command and obedience
44. You shall obey your boss as you would a father and show him reverence, lest God be offended in him. You should obey the greater superior who cares for you all even more.
45.It should above all be the responsibility of the superior to ensure that all these regulations are adhered to and that the violations are not easily overlooked, but rather thoroughly improved. He may present to the higher superior, who has the higher authority with you, what goes beyond his realm and his power.
46. The superior should not consider himself lucky because he commands by virtue of his office, but because he can serve with love. By his position in your community he stands above you, before the face of God he lies in fear at your feet. He should be a model of good works towards everyone. He should correct troublemakers, raise the faint-hearted, take care of the weak, be patient with everyone. He should love the monastery order and arouse awe. And, although both are essential, he should strive more to be loved by you than to be feared, and always remain aware that he must one day give an account of you to God.
47. Therefore, through willing obedience, have mercy not only on yourselves, but also on him; for the higher his position among you, the greater the danger in which he lives.
Observation of the rule
48. May the Lord grant that you - as friends of spiritual beauty, as it were - observe all this with love and radiate the fragrance of Christ through a good way of life - not like slaves under the law, but like free ones under grace.
49. But so that you can look at yourself in this little book like in a mirror and not neglect something out of forgetfulness, it should be read to you once a week. Then when you find that you are obeying what is written, give thanks to the Lord, the giver of all that is good. But if someone still sees a mistake in himself, then he will repent of the past, be careful about the future, and pray that his guilt will be forgiven and that he will not be tempted.
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