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

Written by Fr Richard Peers, posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Day Twenty Four

5:8. Care of the sick, whether the convalescent or those currently ill with any ailment, even though they are not running a temperature, shall be assigned to someone who shall personally obtain from the storeroom whatever he regards necessary for each individual.

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


This short section of the rule is another indication of Augustine’s good balance in caring for individuals. There is nothing here of the life-hating caricature. Quite the opposite. he makes every possible allowance for those who are sick. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” Jesus says in the Beatitudes. Most of us are fortunate enough not to experience real poverty of wealth (although many do in our society). But almost every human being will experience sickness at some point. there is a real poverty about having to rely on others for help, not being able to care for yourself and not even being able to obtain the basic necessities of life without help.

Deeper even than that, however, is a profound gentleness in Augustine. “Even though they are not running a temperature”.  Augustine is not just addressing the needs of the seriously ill. He is concerned for all those who are ill in any kind of way.

Once again Augustine also shows that he is a good leader and manager. The leader recognises that those who are ill must be cared for, but he also recognises that this will not happen by accident. It needs to be organised. It needs to be someone’s job. And, again, in this Augustine sows us that there is no separation between the spiritual and the practical. Our faith and our theology need to be expressed in practical ways in answer to practical issues. How we organise our common, shared activities says everything about our theology and spirituality.


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