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Abbeys and Priories:
The Rule of St. Augustine - Praeceptum

    1. We enjoin you who are established in the monastery to keep these rules.
    2. First, because you have been gathered together as one body, you should live in unanimity in the house, with "one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32) for God.
    3. And you should not call anything your own, but everything which you have should be common property and your superior should distribute food and clothing (I Timothy, 6:8) to each of you, not the same to everyone, because you have not all the same strength, but rather to each man as he may have need (Acts 4:35). For this is what you read in the Acts of the Apostles, that "all things were in common to them, and distribution was made to everyone as he had need". (Acts 4:32, 35).
    4. Those who owned anything in the world should be willing without begrudging for it to be common property after they have entered the monastery.
    5. But those who had nothing ought not to be seeking in the monastery for what they could not have outside. All the same, they should be given what they need when they are weak, even if their poverty, when they were outside, denied them even the bare necessities. Nonetheless, do not let them congratulate themselves because they have found food and clothing such as they never found outside.
    6. Nor should they give themselves airs because they are mixing with others whom they never dared to approach outside; rather, let them lift their hearts up to God, and not be seeking after worldly vanities, lest monasteries become profitable to the rich but not to the poor, if the rich are to become humble there and the poor puffed up with pride.
    7. Yet, in the same way, those who seemed to be something in the world should not despise their brothers because they were poor before they joined this holy company. They ought rather to strive to take pride, not in the prominence of their rich families, but in the companionship of their poor brethren. Nor should they boast if they have contributed something to the common life out of their means, or take more glory in their wealth because they are sharing it with the monastery than if they were enjoying it in the world. Every other kind of wickedness works in wicked deeds, so that they may be committed, but pride creeps into even good deeds, so that they may come to nothing. What is the use of man's distributing his possessions by giving them to the poor, and making himself poor too, when this contempt for wealth makes his miserable soul more proud than it was when he was wealthy?
    8. So all of you live with one soul and one heart, and honor in one another God, whose temples you were made to be (2 Cor. 6:16).
    1. Assemble for prayers at the established hours and times. But if someone does not try with all his might and with the help of God's mercy to fulfill these orders, but rather despises them with a stubborn heart, let him be warned once, and a second time, and if he then does not improve, he should know that he is liable for fitting punishment from the monastery. If he is young enough for this, let him even be beaten.
    2. Let no one do anything in the oratory except what it was built for and from which it takes its name; so that if by chance there are some who are at leisure and may wish to pray outside the established times, no one who thinks that he has something else to do there should be a hindrance to them.
    3. When you pray to God in psalms and hymns, turn over in your heart what your voice is uttering.
    4. And do not recite anything unless you read that it is to be recited; if it is not written down that it should be, it ought not to be, recited.
    1. Do not let your clothing be remarkable; and do not seek to please by what you wear, but by what you are.
    2. When you go out of doors, walk together; when you arrive at your destination, stay together.
    3. Walking, standing, whatever movement you make, do nothing to offend anyone who sees you, but let everything befit your holy way of life.
    4. Even if your eyes do fall upon some women, fix them on none. It is not that when you go out of doors you are forbidden to catch sight of women; but to desire them, or to want to be desired by them, is a grave sin. The desire for women is stirred, and stirs, not only by touching and by inviting glances, but even by looking. You cannot say that you have shamefast minds if you have shameless eyes, for a shameless eye is the messenger of a shameless heart. And if people, even when their tongues are silent, exchange glances that tell of their shameless hearts, and with their ardor give each other pleasure as the flesh desires, though they may never touch each other's bodies impurely, true chastity has gone from their lives.
    5. Nor should anyone, fixing his eyes on a woman and enjoying hers fixed on him, imagine that others do not see what he is doing. Those he thinks are not noticing can see well enough. But even if this activity is concealed and seen by no man, what of Him who looks down from on high, from whom nothing can be concealed? Are we to suppose that He does not see, just because His patience is as great as His knowledge? Thus a holy man should fear to displease God (Prov. 24:18); nor should he wish to please a woman wrongfully. Let him reflect that God sees everything, and he will not wish to sin by looking at women. For in this matter the fear of God was commended, when it was written: "A fixed gaze is an abomination to the Lord."
    6. So when you are together in church, and anywhere else where women are also present, guard each other's chastity; for God, who lives within you, will in this way protect you through yourselves.
    7. And if you become aware of what I am talking about, this roving eye, in anyone else among you, warn him at once, so that he does not go from bad to worse, but is corrected by his neighbor.
    8. But if after a second warning or on some later occasion you see him doing the same thing, whoever finds this out should treat him as a man already injured who must be healed; but first it should be made known to one or two others, so that what two or three have to say to him may convince him, when they warn him with suitable severity. And do not think yourselves ill-disposed when you point this out. You would be doing more harm if you let your brothers go to ruin by your silence, when you could rescue them through speaking to them. If you brother had a wound in his body which he wanted to hide because he is afraid of the surgeon's knife, would it not be cruel if you said nothing, merciful if you told about it? Then how much more should you make it known, in case a more perilous gangrene should grown in his heart?
    9. But before making this known to others, by whom he would be condemned if he denies it, you should first tell your superior, if your brother has been warned and has failed to men his ways, so that he may perhaps be privately admonished and his fault not be made known to anyone else. But if he rejects this, the foolish man must be confronted with others, so that he may now in front of everyone be shown to be guilty by two or three persons, and not accused merely by a single witness. When he has been condemned, the superior, or the priest who has charge of these matters, should impose a corrective punishment; and if he refuses to perform it, he should be expelled from your community, if he has not left of his own accord. This is to be done, not out of vindictiveness, but in mercy, lest he destroy others with his contagion.
    10. And what I have said about not letting your eyes rove should be diligently and faithfully applied to other sins, which should be uncovered, prohibited, made known, condemned, and punished; and this is to be done out of love for men and hatred of vices.
    11. But if anyone is so far gone in his evil ways that he is secretly receiving letters or tokens from some woman, let him be spared and prayed for if he confesses it freely; but if, however, he is caught in the act and found guilty, the superior or the priest should decide on some heavy punishment.
    1. Keep your clothes in a common wardrobe, with one or two brothers in charge, or as many as are needed to ensure that there is no damage from moths. Accept your clothing from one wardrobe-keeper, just as you have your food from one cellarer. If this has been arranged, you ought not to be concerned with what you are given to wear, according to the season of the year, or whether each of you receives back the clothes he turned in or others someone else has worn, provided always that no one is refused what he needs. But if arguments and complaints start among you because someone is grumbling that what he has been given is inferior to what he had, and that it is an indignity for him to be dressed in what another brother has worn, learn from this how meanly your spirit is clothed, when you are quarreling about what you put on your bodies. But even if they indulge you in your weakness, and give you back the clothes you turned in, still everything you are not wearing is to be kept in one place by the same keepers.
    2. And make sure that no one is working for his own benefit, but that everything you do is for the common good, with more zeal and greater promptness than if each one of you were working for himself. For love, of which it was written that it "is not self-seeking" (I Cor. 13:5), must be understood as putting the common good before private interests, and not the other way round. And, therefore, the more trouble you take over what you all have in common, and not over what is your own, the more progress people will see that you are making. Let love, which will not pass away, preside over everything our passing needs demand.
    3. And so it follows that if someone brings even to his sons or to anyone bound to him by any close tie in the monastery clothes, or anything considered a necessity, it is not to be received in secret, but is to be put at the superior's disposal, so that it belongs to the common property, and can be given to whoever may need it.
    4. Your clothing should be washed as the superior decides, whether by you or by the launderers, so that your souls do not become soiled by your craving for clean clothes.
    5. Your bodies, too, need to be washed as their infirmity requires, and this should not be refused, but done without complaint according to medical advice, so that everyone, though unwillingly, does as his superior orders for the sake of his health. But if he wants to wash and doing so is bad for him, he ought not to give in to his own wishes, for sometimes he will think that what is pleasing is good, even if it may be harmful.
    6. Furthermore, if some servant of God has a bodily infirmity that cannot be seen, when he says what is afflicting him he must be believed without question' but if it is not certain that what he would prefer to take for his sickness will cure it, a doctor should be consulted.
    7. No fewer than two or three should go together to the public bath houses or anywhere it is necessary to go. Nor is anyone who needs to go out to be accompanied by companions of his own choosing, but by those the superior directs.
    8. The care of the sick, or of those recuperating, or of anyone enfeebled, even if he has no medical symptoms, ought to be entrusted to one particular brother, so that he may ask the cellarer for whatever he may see someone needing.
    9. Those who are assigned to serve the brethren as cellarers or wardrobe-keepers or librarians should do so without complaining.
    10. Books are to be asked for every day at a fixed time; they should not be given to anyone outside the proper time.
    11. Those who are in charge of clothing and footwear should not delay in giving them to those who need them and ask for them.
    1. You should either refrain from disputes, or settle them as fast as you can, lest anger grown into hatred, a mountain be made out of a molehill, and you should turn into a murderer. For this is what you read: "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer" (I John 3:15).
    2. If anyone injures another by insulting or cursing or even attacking him, he must remember to make amends and put this right as soon as possible, and the injured party must forgive him without further ado. If they have injured one another, they must pardon one another because you have asked them to do so; and the more often you do this the more beneficial it will be. It is better for a man to be much tempted by anger and yet to be quick to acknowledge that he has wronged another and to ask for his forgiveness than to be slow to anger and slower still to submit to asking for pardon. If there is anyone who will never ask forgiveness or who does so insincerely, he has no business in the monastery, even though you do not turn him out. Thus, do not use harsh words; but if your tongue has uttered them, that some tongue ought not to gag over offering words to heal the wound it has made.
    3. But when you are controlling your juniors and the needs of discipline require you to say hard things, even if you feel that you are going too far, you do not need to ask pardon from those who must be subject to you; for anyone having office you exceed in humility may weaken his authority. Still you should ask pardon from the Lord of all, who knows with what kindness you love those whom you correct perhaps even more than is fair. For the love between you should be, not fleshly, but spiritual.