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The Rule of Saint Columba

  • Be alone in a separate place near a chief city, if thy conscience is not prepared to be in common with the crowd.
  • Be always naked in imitation of Christ and the Evangelists.
  • Whatsoever little or much you possess of anything, whether clothing, or food, or drink, let it be at the command of the senior and at his disposal, for it is not befitting a religious to have any distinction of property with his own free brother.
  • Let a fast place, with one door, enclose you.
  • A few religious men to converse with you of God and his Testament; to visit you on days of solemnity; to strengthen you in the Testaments of God, and the narratives of the Scriptures.
  • A person too who would talk with you in idle words, or of the world; or who murmurs at what he cannot remedy or prevent, but who would distress you more should he be a tattler between friends and foes, you shall not admit him to you, but at once give him your benediction should he deserve it.
  • Let your servant be a discreet, religious, not tale-telling man, who is to attend continually on you, with moderate labour of course, but always ready.
  • Yield submission to every rule that is of devotion.
  • A mind prepared for red martyrdom (to die for your faith).
  • A mind fortified and steadfast for white martyrdom (to live an ascetic life for your faith) and for forgiveness from the heart of every one.
  • Constant prayers for those who trouble you.
  • Fervour in singing the office for the dead, as if every faithful dead was a particular friend of yours.
  • Hymns for souls to be sung standing.
  • Let your vigils be constant from eve to eve, under the direction of another person.
  • Three labours in the day: prayer, work, and reading.
  • The work to be divided into three parts: your own work, and the work of your place, as regards its real wants; secondly, your share of the brethen's work; and lastly, to help your neighbours, by instruction or writing, or sewing garments, or whatever labour they may be in want of, for as the Lord says, "You shall not appear before me empty."
  • Everything in its proper order; for no one is crowned except he who has striven lawfully.
  • Follow almsgiving before all things.
  • Do not eat unless you are hungry.
  • Do not sleep unless you are tired.
  • Do not speak unless you have purpose.
  • Every increase which comes to you in lawful meals, or in wearing apparel, give it for pity to the brethren that want it, or to the poor in like manner.
  • Love God with all your heart and all your strength;
  • And love your neighbour as yourself.
  • Abide in the Testament of God at all times.
  • Your measure of prayer shall be until your tears come;
  • Or your measure of work until your tears come;
  • Or your measure of your work, or of genuflexion, until your perspiration often comes, if your tears are not free.

 

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