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Nourished by Our Roots - the Rule of Saint Augustine: Day Five

Written by Fr Richard Peers, posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Day Five

1:8. Live then, all of you, in harmony and concord; honour God mutually in each other; you have become His temples.

V.       You have made us for yourself, O Lord. [Alleluia].
       Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you.  [Alleluia].


There is a wonderful inclusio here, at the end of the first Chapter, with the very beginning of the Rule. But it is an inclusio in which Augustine doesn’t just repeat the ‘love God and neighbour’ of the opening section but he intensifies that, we love God in each other. Even more strongly than that he uses the word honour for this love. The honour we pay God in our worship, liturgy and sacraments is the same honour we offer him in our love and care for each other. As Bavel puts it “For Augustine the first form of divine worship is to be found in a good community life.”  Prayer and worship come second to mutual love.

The image of the temple is a powerful and significant one and references three passages in St Paul:

Romans 15: 5-6:

“5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


1 Corinthians 3: 16-17:

“16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”


2 Corinthians 6: 16-17:

“16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them

    and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

    and they will be my people.”[a]

17 Therefore,

“Come out from them

    and be separate,

says the Lord.

Touch no unclean thing,

    and I will receive you.””


The biblical image of the dwelling of God, the Tabernacle, the pitching of the tent, resonates throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. That dwelling is never a place for the individual alone but for the whole community. The ideal of ‘brothers living in unity’ (Psalm 133) is an important one but biblical history and the realities of Christian history show that the reality is very mixed, as no doubt it was for the Augustinian canons who lived here at what is now Christ Church, and is it is for us. Jim Godfrey our verger and guide to the Cathedral reflects on the history of those canons in this film:


May the Lord
grant that we may observe all these things with love,
as lovers of spiritual beauty,
radiating by our lives
the sweet fragrance of Christ,
not like slaves under the law
but as free persons
established in grace.
Through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord. 



You can find the full text of the Rule of saint Augustine by clicking here