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

Written by Fr Richard Peers, posted on Saturday, November 28, 2020

Day Twenty Two

5:6. Whenever a servant of God says he is not feeling well, take his word without hesitation, even though the source of the pain is not apparent. If uncertainty continues whether or not the remedy he desires would really make him better, consult a physician.

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


There is something deeply human about this instruction. It is important to recognise what careful language Augustine is using. The sick member of the community must be taken seriously immediately. That does not mean the illness is genuine or serious. But it does mean that the very fact they are saying they are ill is not insignificant. There is also space here for a nuanced understanding of the final sentence. the ‘remedy he desires’ rather than the cure he needs. In any event a doctor may be needed. No community includes every expertise and an expert may be needed.

The phrase ‘servant of God’ is also important, in Latin ‘famulus Dei’, this is a ‘familiar’ a servant who is part of the family of God. Not just any peasant or slave. Even when we recognise that we are servants of God we are not distancing ourselves from him.

Finally, what this passage shows is the need for trust in a community. If everything has to be verified, checked up on, there is no trust and everyone is belittled. Part of the art of leadership is knowing what to verify and when to trust. Trusting people involves giving them the outcome needed not dictating the way to achieve it.


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