St. Augustine Exhorts an Arian

English Translation based in part on JG. Cunningham, tr. Letters of St. Augustin (Letter 211, to his Sister), NPNF, ser. 1, vol. 1.Subscript text in brackets indicates chapters in Letter 211.  For recent scholarship on Augustine’s Rule and bilingual versions of the RA and several related texts see George Lawless, O.S.A., Augustine of Hippo and His Monastic Rule, (Oxford U.Pr., 1987).  MS-Word doc.

§1;    §2;    §3;    §4;    §5;    §6;   §7    §8











BEFORE everything else, beloved brethren, love God; and then your neighbor also, (Mat 22:37-40) for these are the principal commandments given to us.[1][L.211.5]

[1]. Ante omnia, fratres carissimi, diligatur Deus, deinde et proximus, quia ista sunt praecepta principaliter nobis data.

c1_End and Foundation of the Common Life


CHAPTER 1: The End and Foundation of the Common Life




1.1. THESE are the precepts which we establish to be observed by you who live in the monastery.

1. Haec sunt quae ut observetis, praecipimus in monasterio constituti.



1.2. THE principal [reason] you have gathered into one community is to dwell in the house in unity, (Ps.67:7)* 2. Primum, propter quod in unum estis congregati, ut unanimes habitetis in domo et

* Grail: God gives the lonely a home to dwell in  (Deus habitare facit solitarios in domo)


 “having [only] one soul and one heart in God” (Acts 4:32).

 sit vobis anima una et cor unum in Deum.



1.3. And do not describe anything as belonging to one [person], but let all things be held in common, (Acts 4:32) and let distribution of food and clothing be made to each of you by your prior: not equally to all, because you are not all equally strong; but “to each one according to their need” (Acts 4:35). Thus you read in the Acts of the Apostles that, “They had all things in common: and distribution was made to each according their need.” (Acts 4:32 & 35).

3. Et non dicatis aliquid proprium, sed sint vobis omnia communia, et distribuatur unicuique vestrum a praeposito vestro victus et tegumentum, non aequaliter omnibus, quia non aequaliter valetis omnes, sed potius unicuique sicut cuique opus fuerit. Sic enim legitis in Actibus Apostolorum, quia erant illis omnia communia et distribuebatur unicuique sicut cuique opus erat (Act. 4, 32 et 35).



1.4. Let those who owned anything in the world when they entered the monastery cheerfully desire that this become common [property of all].

4. Qui aliquid habebant in saeculo, quando ingressi sunt monasterium. libenter illud velint esse commune.



1.5. But those who owned nothing should not ask within the monastery for what they could not have outside its walls. Nevertheless, let them be given the comforts which their infirmity may require, even if their poverty before coming to the monastery may have been such that they could not have obtained the necessities of life.  And these should not regard as their chief happiness that they have found within the monastery such food and clothing as was elsewhere beyond their reach.

5. Qui autem non habebant, non ea quaerant in monasterio quae nec foris habere potuerunt. Sed tamen eorum infirmitati quod opus est tribuatur, etiam si paupertas eorum, quando foris erant, nec ipsa necessaria poterat invenire. Tantum non ideo se putent esse felices quia invenerunt victum et tegumentum, quale foris invenire non poterant.



1.6. [L.211.6] They are not to hold their heads high because they socialize with persons whom they would not have dared approached in the world; rather they should lift up their hearts, (Col. 3:1-2 and not seek earthly vanities, otherwise monasteries will be useful only to the rich, not to the poor, by humbling the rich and inflating [the egos of] the poor.

6. Nec erigant cervicem, quia sociantur eis ad quos foris accedere non audebant, sed sursum cor habeant et terrena vana non quaerant, ne incipiant esse monasteria divitibus utilia, non pauperibus, si divites illic humiliantur et pauperes illic inflantur.



1.7. However, those [of the rich] who seemed to hold some position in the world must not look with contempt on their brothers, who in coming into this sacred fellowship have left a condition of poverty; let them be careful to glory rather in the fellowship of their poor brothers, than in the status of their wealthy parents. And they should not feel elated if they have contributed something of their own to the maintenance of the community, lest they find in their riches more occasion for pride by sharing them with the monastery, than if they had enjoyed them in the world.

7. Sed rursus etiam illi qui aliquid esse videbantur in saeculo non habeant fastidio fratres suos qui ad illam sanctam societatem ex paupertate venerunt. Magis autem studeant, non de parentum divitum dignitate, sed de pauperum fratrum societate, gloriari. Nec extollantur, si conununi vitae de suis facultatibus aliquid contulerunt, nec de suis divitiis magis superbiant, quia eas monasterio partiuntur, quam si eis in saeculo fruerentur.

For every other kind of sin is exercised in performing evil works, while pride lurks even within good works, in order to undo them  And what does it avails to scatter money on the poor and become poor oneself, if the unhappy soul is thus rendered more proud by despising riches than it had been by possessing them? 

Alia quippe quaecumque iniquitas in malis operibus exercetur ut fiant, superbia vero etiam bonis operibus insidiatur ut pereant; et quid prodest dispergere dando pauperibus et pauperem fieri, cum anima misera superbior efficitur divitias contemnendo, quam fuerat possidendo?





1.8. All of you, therefore, should live in unanimity and concord, (Acts 4:32; Rom. 15:6) honoring in each other that God whose temples you have been made. (2Cor 6:16).

8. Omnes ergo unanimiter et concorditer vivite, et honorate in vobis invicem Deum cuius templa facti estis.




CHAPTER 2: On Prayer





2.1. Be regular in prayers (Col. 4:2) at the appointed hours and times.

1. Orationibus instate horis et temporibus constitutis.



2.2. In the oratory no one should do anything else than that for which [the oratory] was made, and from which it has received its name; so that if any who, having leisure, wish to pray [at times] other than at the appointed hours, they may not be impeded by others who imagine they [have the right to use] the place for some other purpose.

2. In oratorio nemo aliquid agat nisi ad quod est factum, unde et nomen accepit; ut si forte aliqui, etiam praeter horas constitutas, si eis vacat, orare voluerint, non eis sit impedimento, qui ibi aliquid agendum putaverit.



2.3. When you pray to God in psalms and hymns, ponder within the heart what is uttered by the voice. 

3. Psalmis et hymnis cum oratis Deum, hoc versetur in corde quod profertur in voce.



2.4. And chant nothing but what is prescribed to be chanted; what is not prescribed to be chanted is not to be chanted.

4. Et nolite cantare nisi quod legitis esse cantandum; quod autem non ita scriptum est ut cantetur, non cantetur.



CHAPTER 3: On Frugality and Mortification





3.1. [L.211.8] Subdue your flesh by fastings and abstinence from meat and drink, as far as health permits. Whoever is unable to fast should not eat other than at the customary mealtime, unless they are sick.

1. Carnem vestram domate ieiuniis et abstinentia escae et potus, quantum valetudo permittit. Quando autem aliquis non potest ieiunare, non tamen extra horam prandii aliquid alimentorum sumat, nisi cum aegrotat.



3.2. From the time of arriving at table until arising from it, listen without noise or arguing to whatever is assigned to be read.  Do not only [exercise] your mouths in receiving food (Mat 4:4); let your ears receive the word of God (Amos 8:11).

2. Cum acceditis ad mensam, donec inde surgatis, quod vobis secundum consuetudinem legitur, sine tumultu et contentionibus audite; nec solae vobis fauces sumant cibum, sed et aures esuriant Dei verbum.




cf RB 34

3.3. [L.211.9] If those who are sick because of their former way of life are treated differently in regard to diet, this should not bother or seem unjust to others whom a different way of life has made stronger. Nor should they consider the former happier for having food they do not receive: instead they should congratulate themselves on their good health which the others do not possess.

3. Qui infirmi sunt ex pristina consuetudine, si aliter tractantur in victu, non debet aliis molestum esse nec iniustum videri, quos facit alia consuetudo fortiores. Nec illos feliciores putent, quia sumunt quod non sumunt ipsi, sed sibi potius gratulentur, quia valent quod non valent illi.



3.4. And if those who have entered the monastery with more delicate habits are given any food, clothing, bed, or blankets which are not given to others who are stronger and thus happier, the latter should consider how far the former have descended from their worldly life down to ours, even if they have not achieved the severe simplicity of those who are stronger.

4. Et si eis, qui venerunt ex moribus delicatioribus ad monasterium, aliquid alimentorum, vestimentorum, stramentorum, operimentorum datur, quod aliis fortioribus et ideo felicioribus non datur, cogitare debent quibus non datur, quantum de sua saeculari vita illi ad istam descenderint, quamvis usque ad aliorum, qui sunt corpore firmiores, frugalitatem pervenire nequiverint.

Nor should they all wish to receive what they see given more readily to the few, not out of honor but from toleration.  For this would cause that detestable perversion whereby monast[ic life forces] the wealthy into hard labor, while the poor to become more delicate.

Nec debent velle omnes, quod paucos vident amplius, non quia honorantur, sed quia tolerantur, accipere, ne contingat detestanda perversitas, ut in monasterio, ubi, quantum possunt, fiunt divites laboriosi, fiant pauperes delicati.



3.5. For just as the sick must eat less to keep their illness from worsening; so after illness they must receive the treatment that will most rapidly restore health, even if they come from the most abject poverty.  Their recent illness conferred on them, as it were, the same claim to special treatment as the rich enjoyed as part of their former way of life.

5. Sane, quemadmodum aegrotantes necesse habent minus accipere ne graventur, ita et post aegritudinem sic tractandi sunt, ut citius recreentur, etiam si de humillima saeculi paupertate venerunt, tamquam hoc illis contulerit recentior aegritudo, quod divitibus anterior consuetudo.

But upon recovering their former strength they should return to that happier way of life which is more appropriate for those who are servants of God and whose needs are fewer. 

Sed cum vires pristinas reparaverint, redeant ad feliciorem consuetudinem suam, quae famulos Dei tanto amplius decet, quanto minus indigent.

Nor should they be captivated by the pleasure of food that was necessary to treat their illness.

Nec ibi eos teneat voluptas iam vegetos, quo necessitas levarat infirmos.

Let those regard themselves as truly richer

who are endowed with greater strength to bear hardships.

Illi se aestiment ditiores,

qui in sustinenda parcitate fuerint fortiores;

For it is better to need less

than to want more.

melius est enim minus egere,

quam plus habere.

c4_Chastity and on Fraternal Correction


CHAPTER 4 On Keeping Chastity and on Fraternal Correction





4.1. [L.211.10] Your clothes should not be conspicuous: you should not aspire to please others by your attire, but by your behavior. 20.

1. Non sit notabilis habitus vester, nec affectetis vestibus placere sed moribus.



4.2. When you go out, walk together; when you arrive [at your destination], stay together.

2. Quando proceditis, simul ambulate; cum veneritis quo itis, simul state.



4.3. In walking, standing, and in all your movements do nothing that could offend anyone, instead, let all be in keeping with your sacred [character].

3. In incessu, in statu, in omnibus motibus vestris nihil fiat quod cuiusquam offendat aspectum, sed quod vestram decet sanctitatem.



4.4. Your eyes may glance briefly at any woman, but do not stare at anyone.  When walking you are not forbidden to see women: but to want them, or to wish to be wanted by them is sinful. For it is not only by touch or emotion, but also by gazing that a woman is lustfully desired or desires.  And do not claim to have a chaste mind when you have unchaste eyes, for an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart.

4. Oculi vestri, et si iaciuntur in aliquam feminarum, figantur in nemine. Neque enim, quando proceditis, feminas videre prohibemini, sed appetere, aut ab ipsis appeti velle, criminosum est. Nec solo tactu et affectu, sed aspectu quoque, appetitur et appetit concupiscentia feminarum. Nec dicatis vos animos habere pudicos, si habetis oculos impudicos, quia impudicus oculus impudici cordis est nuntius.

And even though the tongue be silent, when unchaste hearts signal one another by gazing, it is at that moment through sensual passion, delighted by the mutuality of their inflamed desire − despite bodies still intact and free from unchaste violation −, that chastity flees from their way of life.

Et cum se invicem sibi, etiam tacente lingua, conspectu mutuo corda nuntiant impudica, et secundum concupiscentiam carnis alterutro delectantur ardore, etiam intactis ab immunda violatione corporibus, fugit castitas ipsa de moribus.



4.5. And one whose eyes fix on a woman and who likes hers to fix on him should not imagine that this is not noticed by others: he is certainly noticed, even by those he judges not to have noticed. But even if he avoided being noticed by human eyes, what could he do about Him Who observes from above, from Whom nothing can be concealed?

5. Nec putare debet qui in femina figit oculum et illius in se ipse diligit fixum, ab aliis se non videri, cum hoc facit; videtur omnino, et a quibus se videri non arbitratur. Sed ecce lateat et a nemine hominum videatur, quid faciet de illo desuper inspectore quem latere nihil potest?

Should we imagine he does not see because he looks with patience that as great as His wisdom? Let every holy man so fear displeasing God that he will not wish to wrongly please a woman.  Thinking always of the One Who sees all, he will not wish to look wrongly at a woman (cf. Mat 5:28).

An ideo putandus est non videre, quia tanto videt patientius, quanto sapientius? Illi ergo vir sanctus timeat displicere, ne velit feminae male placere. Illum cogitet omnia videre, ne velit feminam male videre.

For in this very matter fear is commended to us where it is written, “He who stares with a fixed eye is an abomination to the Lord.” (Prov. 27, 20).

. Illius namque et in hac causa commendatus est timor, ubi scriptum est: Abominatio est Domino defigens oculum (Prov. 27, 20).



4.6. Thus when you are together in the church or in any other place where women also are present, exercise vigilance over each other’s chastity; and God, who dwells within you, will thus exercise vigilance over you by means of each other.

6. Quando ergo simul estis in ecclesia et ubicumque ubi et feminae sunt, invicem vestram pudicitiam custodite; Deus enim qui habitat in vobis, etiam isto modo vos custodiet ex vobis.



4.7. [L.211.11] And if you observe anyone engaging in this shameless staring, warn him at once, so that this budding evil may not progress, but be stopped immediately.

7. Et si hanc de qua loquor oculi petulantiam in aliquo vestrum adverteritis, statim admonete, ne coepta progrediatur, sed de proximo corrigatur.



4.8. But if even after this admonition you see him repeat it, or do it again on another day whoever had occasion to discover it must now report him as they would a wounded person in need of healing. But the offense must be pointed out to another or to a third, so that he may be convicted “on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Mat 18:16) and reprimanded with appropriate severity.

8. Si autem et post admonitionem iterum, vel alio quocumque die, id ipsum eum facere videritis, iam velut vulneratum sanandum prodat, quicumque hoc potuit invenire; prius tamen et alteri vel tertio demonstratum, ut duorum vel trium possit ore convinci et competenti severitate coërceri.

And do not think that you are thus guilty of malevolence. Rather, you are not innocent if by keeping silence you allow brothers to perish, whom you could correct by giving information of their faults. For if your brother had a physical wound he wished to conceal through fear of treatment, would it not be cruel if you kept silence about it, and true compassion if you made it known? How much more, then, are you obliged to make his fault known, to keep him from suffering a more deadly wound of the heart.

Nec vos iudicetis esse malevolos, quando hoc indicatis. Magis quippe innocentes non estis, si fratres vestros, quos indicando corrigere potestis, tacendo perire permittitis. Si enim frater tuus vulnus haberet in corpore, quod vellet occultare, cum timet sanari, nonne crudeliter abs te sileretur et misericorditer indicaretur? Quanto ergo potius eum debes manifestare, ne perniciosius putrescat in corde?



4.9. But if after admonition he refuses to be corrected, he should be brought to the prior first, before being pointed out to the witnesses by whom he may be convicted if he denies the charge.  By being thus more privately rebuked, the fault he has committed may not be made known to all the others. If, however, he then denies the charge, the others must be employed to observe her conduct after the denial, so that now before all, so that he may not be accused by one witness, but convicted by two or three.

9. Sed antequam aliis demonstretur, per quos convincendus est, si negaverit, prius praeposito debet ostendi, si admonitus neglexerit corrigi, ne forte possit, secretius correptus, non innotescere ceteris. Si autem negaverit, tunc nescienti adhibendi sunt alii, ut iam coram omnibus possit non ab uno teste argui, sed a duobus vel tribus convinci.

When convicted, he must submit to the corrective discipline appointed by the prior or the properly authorized presbyter . If he refuses to submit to this, and does not depart of his own accord, he is to be expelled from your society. For this is not done cruelly but mercifully, to protect many others from contracting the plague to which he succumbed.

Convictus vero, secundum praepositi, vel etiam presbyteri ad cuius dispensationem pertinent, arbitrium, debet emendatoriam sustinere vindictam. Quam si ferre recusaverit, etiam si ipse non abscesserit, de vestra societate proiciatur.Non enim et hoc fit crudeliter, sed misericorditer, ne contagione pestifera plurimos perdat.



4.10. And what I have said here in regard to abstaining from wanton looks should be carefully observed by observing, forbidding, reporting, proving, and punishing other faults, with love for the persons and hatred of the sin.

10. Et hoc quod dixi de oculo non figendo, etiam in ceteris inveniendis, prohibendis, indicandis, convincendis vindicandisque peccatis, diligenter et fideliter observetur, cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.



4.11. But if any one among you has gone so far in evil as to secretly receive letters or gifts of any kind from any [woman], he should be pardoned and prayed for if he confesses this of his own accord. If, however, he is discovered and convicted of such conduct, he must be more severely punished according to the sentence of the presbyter, or of the prior.

11. Quicumque autem in tantum progressus fuerit malum, ut occulte ab aliqua litteras vel quaelibet munuscula accipiat, si hoc ultro confitetur, parcatur illi et oretur pro illo; si autem deprehenditur atque convincitur, secundum arbitrium presbyteri vel praepositi gravius emendetur.

c5_Custody and Care of Community Goods


CHAPTER 5: On the Custody and Care of Community Goods





5.1. Keep your clothes in one place, under the care of one or two, or as many as required to shake them and keep them from being injured by moths; and as your food is supplied from one pantry, let your clothes be provided from one wardrobe.

1. Vestes vestras in unum habete, sub uno custode vel duobus vel quot sufficere potuerint ad eas excutiendas, ne a tinea laedantur; et sicut pascimini ex uno cellario, sic induimini ex uno vestiario.

And insofar as possible, when clothing appropriate for the season is brought out, regard it irrelevant whether each receives the same article of clothing they put away, something someone else wore, provided that no one is denied what they need. But if this occasions contentions and murmurings among you, and some one complains that they received clothing poorer than they formerly wore, and they consider it beneath them to wear something worn by another brother,

Et, si fieri potest, non ad vos pertineat, quid vobis induendum pro temporis congruentia proferatur, utrum hoc recipiat unusquisque vestrum quod deposuerat, an aliud quod alter habuerat; dum tamen unicuique, quod cuique opus est, non negetur. Si autem hinc inter vos contentiones et murmura oriuntur, cum queritur aliquis deterius se accepisse quam prius habuerat et indignum se esse qui ita vestiatur, sicut alius frater eius vestiebatur,

It only proves how far you are from that interior holy garment of the heart, when you quarrel with each other about bodily garments.

hinc vos probate quantum vobis desit in illo interiore sancto habitu cordis, qui pro habitu corporis litigatis.

But if your weakness is indulged by the concession that you are to receive again the identical article which you had put away it must still be kept in one place and in charge of the ordinary keepers [of the wardrobe].

Tamen si vestra toleratur infirmitas, ut hoc recipiatis, quod posueritis, in uno tamen loco, sub communibus custodibus habete quod ponitis.

5.2_do nothing for self - but for good of all


5.2. It should be understood that[:]

no one performs anything for himself:

all your works be done for the common good of all,

2. Ita sane,

ut nullus sibi aliquid operetur,

 sed omnia opera vestra in commune fiant,


with greater zeal and more cheerful perseverance than if you were each working for your individual interest. For the love concerning which it is written, “Charity does not seek her own,” (1 Cor. 13, 5),  is to be understood as that which prefers the common good to personal advantage, not personal advantage to the common good. maiori studio et frequentiori alacritate, quam si vobis singuli propria faceretis. Caritas enim, de qua scriptum est quod non quaerat quae sua sunt (1 Cor. 13, 5), sic intellegitur, quia communia propriis, non propria communibus anteponit.

Therefore when you give the common good preference above your personal and private interests, the more fully will you be sensible of progress in securing that, in regard to all those things which supply wants destined soon to pass away, the charity which abides may hold a conspicuous and influential place.

Et ideo, quanto amplius rem communem quam propria vestra curaveritis, tanto vos amplius profecisse noveritis; ut in omnibus quibus utitur transitura necessitas, superemineat, quae permanet, caritas.



5.3. An obvious corollary from these rules is, that if anyone bring to their own sons or to another relative in the monastery presents of clothing or of other necessary items, such gifts are not to be privately received, but must be at the disposal of the prior, so that as communal property they may be placed at the service of whoever needs it. If any one conceals any gift bestowed on him, let him be judged guilty of theft.

3. Consequens ergo est ut etiam si quis suis filiis, vel aliqua necessitudine ad se pertinentibus, in monasterio constitutis, aliquid contulerit, vel aliquam vestem, sive quodlibet aliud inter necessaria deputandum, non occulte accipiatur, sed sit in potestate praepositi, ut in re communi redactum, cui necessarium fuerit, praebeatur. Quod si aliquis rem sibi collatam celaverit, furti iudicio condemnetur.



5.4. [L.211.13] Let your clothes be washed, whether by yourselves or by launderers, at intervals approved by the prior, lest excessive concern for clean clothes produce inward stains upon your soul[2].

4. Indumenta vestra secundum arbitrium praepositi laventur, sive a vobis, sive a fullonibus, ne interiores animae sordes contrahat mundae vestis nimius appetitus.



5.5. Illness that necessitates bathing should not be unduly delayed: it should be done without complaint on the physician’s recommendation; and even if reluctant, he must do at the order of the prior what health demands. If, however he desires a bath that is not good for him, this desire must not be yielded to.  For sometimes it is regarded as beneficial because it gives pleasure, while it actually causes.

5. Lavacrum etiam corporum, cuius infirmitatis necessitas cogit, minime denegetur, sed fiat sine murmure de consilio medicinae, ita ut, etiam si nolit, iubente praeposito, faciat quod faciendum est pro salute. Si autem velit, et forte non expedit, suae cupiditati non oboediat. Aliquando enim, etiam si noceat, prodesse creditur quod delectat.

5.5-5.8 Care of the Sick




5.6. Finally, if a servant of God suffers from any hidden pain of body, let his statement as to his suffering be believed without hesitation; but if there be any uncertainty whether that which he finds agreeable be really of use in curing his pain, let the physician be consulted.

6. Denique, si latens est dolor in corpore, famulo Dei, dicenti quid sibi doleat, sine dubitatione credatur; sed tamen, utrum sanando illi dolori, quod delectat expediat, si non est certum, medicus consulatur.



5.7. To the baths, or to any place whither it may be necessary to go, let no fewer than three go at any time. Moreover, the one requiring to go anywhere is not to go with those whom he may choose himself, but with those whom the prior may order.

7. Nec eant ad balneas, sive quocumque ire necesse fueiit, rninus quam duo vel tres. Nec ille qui habet aliquo eundi necessitatem, cum quibus ipse voluerit, sed cum quibus praepositus iusserit, ire debebit.



5.8. The care of the sick, and of those who require attention as convalescents, and of those who, without any feverish symptoms, are labouring under debility, ought to be committed to some one of your number, who shall procure for them from the storeroom what she shall see to be necessary for each.

8. Aegrotantium cura, sive post aegritudinem reficiendorum, sive aliqua imbecillitate, etiam sine febribus laborantium, uni alicui debet iniungi, ut ipse de cellario petat, quod cuique opus esse perspexerit.



5.9. Moreover, let those who have charge, whether in the storeroom, or in the wardrobe, or in the library, render service to their brothers without murmuring.

9. Sive autem qui cellario, sive qui vestibus, sive qui codicibus praeponuntur, sine murmure serviant fratribus suis.



5.10. Let manuscripts be applied for at a fixed hour every day, and let none who ask them at other hours receive them.

10. Codices certa hora singulis diebus petantur; extra horam qui petierit, non accipiat.



5.11. But at whatever time clothes and shoes may be required by one in need of these, let not those in charge of this department delay supplying the want.

11. Vestimenta vero et calceamenta, quando fuerint indigentibus necessaria, dare non differant, sub quorum custodia sunt quae poscuntur.

c6_Requesting Pardon and Forgiving Offenses


CHAPTER 6: On Requesting Pardon and Forgiving Offenses





6.1. You should have no quarrels; but when they arise they should be ended as quickly as possible, lest anger grow into hatred and convert “a splinter into a beam,” (Mt. 7:3-4) and make the soul chargeable with murder. For it is written: “He who hates his brother is a murderer,” (1 Jn. 3, 15).

1. Lites aut nullas habeatis, aut quam celerrime finiatis, ne ira crescat in odium, et trabem faciat de festuca, et animam faciat homicidam. Sic enim legitis: Qui odit fratrem suum homicida est (1 Io. 3, 15).



6.2. Anyone who has injured another by taunting, abusive language, or false accusation must remember to remedy the wrong with an apology as quickly as possible; and the injured party is to grant forgiveness without further disputation.

2. Quicumque convicio, vel maledicto, vel etiam criminis obiectu, alterum laesit, meminerit satisfactione quantocius curare quod fecit, et ille qui laesus est, sine disceptatione dimittere.

If each has offended the other, both must offer mutual forgiveness [especially] on account of your prayers, which,

Si autem invicem se laeserunt, invicem sibi debita relaxare debebunt, propter orationes vestras, quas utique,

offered more frequently,

ought to be regarded as all the more healing.

quanto crebriores habetis,

tanto saniores habere debetis.

This seems to be an allusion to the Lord’s Prayer (as we forgive those…), which those in the cloister pray very frequently, and which should thus be all the more efficacious in monastic community.


It is better to be often tempted to anger but prompt to ask forgiveness after admitting to having wronged another,

Melior est autem qui, quamvis ira saepe temptatur, tamen impetrare festinat, ut sibi dimittat, cui se fecisse agnoscit iniuriam,

than to be less prone to anger but to find it difficult to ask forgiveness.

quam qui tardius irascitur et ad veniam petendam difficilius inclinatur.

But one who never asks forgiveness, or does not do it from his soul (cf. Mt. 18:35) has no reason for being in the monastery, even if he is not expelled. Therefore abstain from harsh words; and if they have [already] escaped your lips, do not shrink from offering healing from the same lips that inflicted the wounds.

Qui autem numquam vult petere veniam, aut non ex animo petit, sine causa est in monasterio, etiam si inde non proiciatur. Proinde vobis a verbis durioribus parcite; quae si emissa fuerint ex ore vestro, non pigeat ex ipso ore proferre medicamenta, unde facta sunt vulnera.



6.3. But whenever the necessity of discipline forces you to use harsh words in restraining those subject to you, then even if you feel that you have gone too far in this you are not obliged to ask forgiveness, lest  by demonstrating excessive humility towards those who ought to be subject to you, the authority necessary for governing is undermined;

3. Quando autem necessitas disciplinae, minoribus coërcendis, dicere vos verba dura compellit, si etiam in ipsis modum vos excessisse sentitis, non a vobis exigitur, ut ab eis veniam postuletis, ne apud eos quos oportet esse subiectos, dum nimia servatur humilitas, regendi frangatur auctoritas..

But you must nevertheless ask forgiveness from the Lord of all, who knows the benevolent love you have even for those whom you may reprove with undue severity. For it must not be earthly, but rather spiritual affection you bear one another.

Sed tamen petenda venia est ab omnium Domino, qui novit etiam eos, quos plus iusto forte corripitis, quanta benevolentia diligatis. Non autem carnalis, sed spiritalis inter vos debet esse dilectio


c7On the Rationale for Governing and Obeying


CHAPTER 7: On the Rationale for Governing and Obeying




7.1. [L.211.15] 44 The Prior is to be obeyed as a father with the honor he is due, so that God is not offended in [the Prior’s] person: and be even more [obedient] to the presbyter entrusted with the [pastoral] care of you all.

1. Praeposito tamquam patri oboediatur, honore servato, ne in illo offendatur Deus; multo magis presbytero, qui omnium vestrum curam gerit.



7.2. But the Prior is particularly responsible to see that all these [rules] are observed; or if neglected that the offence is not passed over, but carefully remedied and corrected, referring any matter beyond his province or power to the presbyter who holds greater authority over you

2. Ut ergo cuncta ista serventur et, si quid servatum non fuerit, non neglegenter praetereatur, sed emendandum corrigendumque curetur, ad praepositum praecipue pertinebit; ita, ut ad presbyterum, cuius est apud vos maior auctoritas, referat, quod modum vel vires eius excedit.



7.3. But let him who presides over you consider himself happy in exercising:

3. Ipse vero qui vobis praeest, non se existimet.

not the power that dominates,

but rather the love that serves.

potestate dominantem,

sed caritate servientem felicem

He is to be honored before you because of his official dignity,

but in fear before God he is to be, [as it were,] beneath your feet [i.e. subject to you all].

Honore coram vobis praelatus ist vobis,

timore coram Deo substratus sit pedibus vestris.

Let him show himself before all a “pattern of good works.” (Titus 2:7) Let him “warn the unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all.” (1 Thes. 5:14) Let him cheerfully observe and cautiously impose rules.

Circa omnes seipsum bonorum operum praebeat exemplum, corripiat inquietos, consoletur pusillanimes, suscipiat infirmos, patiens sit ad omnes. Disciplinam libens habeat, metum imponat.

And, although both are necessary,

Et quamvis utrumque sit necessarium,

let him strive more to be loved by you

than to be feared; (RB 64.15)

 tamen plus a vobis amari appetat

 quam timeri,

always reflecting that for all of you he must render an account to God.

semper cogitans Deo se pro vobis redditurum esse rationem.



7.4. Therefore be obedient to him out of concern, not only for yourselves but even more for him:

because his superior place among you means proportionately greater danger [for him].

4. Unde vos magis oboediendo, non solum vestri, verum etiam ipsius miseremini, quia inter vos,

quanto in loco superiore, tanto in periculo maiore versatur.




CHAPTER 8: On Observance of the Rule




8.1. [L.211.16] May the Lord grant you to observe all these [rules] lovingly as [ardent] lovers of spiritual beauty, diffusing the sweet aroma of Christ through the goodness of your way of life, not like slaves under the law, but as persons established in freedom under grace (cf. Rom 6:15-16).

1. Donet Dominus, ut observetis haec omnia cum dilectione, tamquam spiritalis pulchritudinis amatores et bono Christi odore de bona conversatione flagrantes, non sicut servi sub lege, sed sicut liberi sub gratia constituti.



8.2. And in order to examine yourselves through this treatise as in a mirror, and so as to neglect nothing through forgetfulness, let it be read to you once a week.  And when you find yourselves practicing what is written here, give thanks to the Lord, the Giver of all good [things.  But insofar as one finds himself to have failed in something, let him lament the past and take care for the future, praying that his fault be forgiven, and that he “not be led into temptation.” (Mt. 6:13)

2. Ut autem vos in hoc libello tamquam in speculo possitis inspicere, ne per oblivionem aliquid neglegatis, semel in septimana vobis legatur. Et ubi vos inveneritis ea quae scripta sunt facientes, agite gratias Domino bonorum omnium largitori. Ubi autem sibi quicumque vestrum videt aliquid deesse, doleat de praeterito, caveat de futuro, orans ut ei debitum dimittatur et in temptationem non inducatur.




[1] This opening sentence is not contained in the critical text of Luc Verheijen, O.S.A., (La regle de saint Augustin, Etudes Augustiniennes, Paris, 1967).It is, however, found in  the official text published with the Constitutiones Ordinis Fratrum S. Augustini (Rome 1968).  It is also found at the beginning of Augustine’s Ordo Monasterii and in Letter 211.

[2] Letter 211 includes the following sentence: Let the washing of the body and the use of baths be not constant, but at the usual interval assigned to it, i.e. once in a month


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