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

Written by Fr Richard Peers, posted on Sunday, November 15, 2020

Day Ten

3:3. No one is to be annoyed, nor should it seem to be unjust, when a special diet is provided for brothers whose health has been adversely affected by their former status in life. A different background endows some people with greater physical strength. These should not consider others fortunate because they see concessions granted to their brothers and not to themselves. Let them be thankful rather that they have the strength to endure what others cannot.

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


Augustine’s letters are another place (in addition to his wonderful expositions on the psalms) where his deeply attractive personality is so evident. One of many readers’ favourite letters is Letter 130. It is written to a wealthy widow Anicia Faltonia Proba and is a letter about prayer, there are some very beautiful passages on the Lord’s Prayer. It is the following section that relates to this passage from the Rule:

Letter 130 (to Proba 130,16, 31)

“Let each one do what she can; what one cannot herself do, she does by another who can do it, if she loves in another that which personal inability alone hinders her from doing; wherefore let her who can do less not keep back the one who can do more, and let her who can do more not urge unduly her who can do less. For your conscience is responsible to Godto each other owe nothing but mutual love

May the Lord, who is able to do above what we ask or think, give ear to your prayers."(Ephesians 3:20)

This section of the Rule relates precisely to the aims of the community expressed in 1:2. It is an injunction against envy and jealousy, and that great poison of community life resentment. But it is above all an encouragement to love. This is the same point that Augustine makes to Proba. If we owe no one anything other than love equally we are owed nothing but love and ought not be resentful or jealous if we get less or more than anyone else. 


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