The Holy Rule of Saint Augustine – Chapter 1

December 31, 2007


The Holy Rule of Life of our Father, Saint Augustine

1. Above all things, dearest brethren, love God, and after Him your neighbor. For these are the main commandments given to us. 2. The following are the things we command you to observe in the monastery.


Purpose and Foundation of the Common Life

3. The first purpose for which you have been brought together is that in living in one house you be of one mind and that you have one heart and soul in God.

4. Do not call anything your own, but let all things be in common. Let food and clothing be distributed to each one of you by your superior, not in equal measure to all, because you are not all of the same health, but so as to provide for each one according to his need. For thus you read in the Acts of the Apostles: they had all things in common and distribution was made to everyone according to his need. (Acts. IV, 32,35)

5. Let those who had possessions in the world freely consent, when they enter the monastery, that these be put to the common use.

6. But let those who possessed nothing not look for things in the monastery which they were unable to have in the world. Nevertheless, all needful care of their infirmities must be provided, though their poverty in the world deprived them of their very necessaries. However, let them not consider themselves fortunate for having found food and clothing such as they were not able to obtain in the world.

7. They should not lift up their heads for being associated with those whom they would not have dared to approach in the world. Let them raise their hearts to God, instead of seeking earthly and vain things. Else the monasteries would be useful to the rich but not to the poor, because the rich would there be humbled, while the poor become proud.

8. On the other hand, let those who seemed to be something in the world not look down upon their brethren who have come from poverty to this holy society. They should rather strive to glory, not in the honored station of their wealthy parents, but in the society of their poor brethren. Neither should they be proud if they bestowed any of their possessions on the community, lest the sharing of their wealth in the monastery fill them with worse pride than its enjoyment in the world. For every other vice brings forth its own evil work, but pride ensnares even good deeds and destroys them. Indeed, what does it profit to renounce wealth by giving to the poor and becoming poor oneself, if the wretched soul becomes prouder by the contempt of wealth than in its possession?

9. Be, therefore, all of one mind and live in harmony, and honor in one another God whose temple you have become.