Chapter 8 of Augustine’s Rule
Starting on October 2nd, I’ll be doing a Jesuit retreat on the Rule of Augustine (which I’ve written about here: “Up to our necks in Augustine”).
Each day, I’ll read 1 of the 8 chapters of the Rule of Augustine:
Chapter VIII of Augustine’s Rule
Observance of the Rule
1. The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives: not as slaves living under the law but as men living in freedom under grace.
The point of a rule is not to be followed mindlessly or blindly, but to dilate a sense of freedom and openness in a life shared with others. What Augustine has talked about in the rule thus far—principles of monastic life, care & responsibility for each other, serving each other, the value of doing without, love and conflict, spiritual beauty—gives a community the freedom and safety to dive deep into whatever it is that drives them, the passions they share in common and declare.]
2. And that you may see yourselves in this little book, as in a mirror, have it read to you once a week so as to neglect no point through forgetfulness. When you find that you are doing all that has been written, give thanks to the Lord, the Giver of every good. But when one of you finds that he has failed on any point, let him be sorry for the past, be on his guard for the future, praying that he will be forgiven his fault and not be led into temptation.
What text, or what object, would you have as your weekly mirror? By what would you seek to measure your progress? What text is simple enough, and yet broad enough, to serve as a thread through your whole adult life? For example, I often come back to works of poetry of Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, John Ashbery, Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens. Bringing new eyes to these poems never fails to bring awe and insight.
[Part of the Daily Lectio series, named after the Benedictine tradition of lectio divina, “divine reading.” Send comments or suggested readings to firstname.lastname@example.org]