The Holy Rule of Saint Augustine – Chapter 6

December 31, 2007



Asking Pardon and Forgiving Offenses

41. Let there be no quarrels among you, or if they arise, end them as soon as possible, lest your anger grow into hatred, making of a mote a beam, and render the soul guilty of murder. For thus you read: “He that hateth his brother is a murderer,” (John III,15). 42. Whoever has offended another by an invective, an evil wish, or slander should hasten to make amends as soon as possible; and he that has been offended should forgive without reproaches. But if both are guilty of offense, both must forgive each other. And this on account of your prayers which must be the better the more often you pray. He that is tempted to anger, yet hastens to ask forgiveness from him whom he has offended, is better than he that is slower in becoming angry, but is less readily disposed to ask pardon. He that refuses to forgive his brother may not hope for any fruits from his prayers. But he that never asks pardon, or does not ask from his heart, is in the monastery to no purpose, even though he is not expelled. Refrain therefore, from harsh words; but if such have come forth from your mouth, let it not be too much for you to offer the remedy just as you have caused the wound.

43. But when you are compelled to use harsh words by any necessity of curbing irregularities of discipline, you are not obliged to ask pardon of your subjects, lest by too great humility your authority be weakened with those who must obey. But forgiveness must be sought from the Lord of all who knows your kindness even toward those whom you have rebuked perhaps more than is just. However, not sensual but spiritual must your love for each other be.