With its 73 chapters, the Rule of Benedict contrasts sharply with the Rule of Saint Augustine. In a rule of only eight chapters, Augustine developed this less obsequious guide to religious life about the year 397AD.
In the latter Rule, the fundamental ideas are constituted around community, love and the human heart rather than detailed rules for prayer cycles and ascetic renunciation.
The Rule of Augustine emphasises the way of interiorisation such that obedience to regulations is merely a symbol of inward transformation.
The early Victorine canons embraced the Rule in 1113, as did the later Dominicans when their order received papal recognition in 1216.
of Augustine enabled these orders to move more freely among congregations and thereby fulfil teaching roles and the preaching of vocations.
Among the various groups of hermits in Tuscany who were part of the "Little Union" of the year 1244 which began the Augustinian Order, there is no definite evidence available that very many of them having the Rule of Augustine before 1244, although it is known that some of them had previously adopted the Rule of Benedict.
As far as their influence on and importance for later monastic living in the Catholic Church is concerned, Augustine and Benedict can be given equal credit.
The importance of Benedict lies is his achievements as an organiser.
He codified the monastic legislation of his era. In this, he brought forth no new ideas, but he compiled his material with skill from the Church traditions then available to him.
On the other hand, Augustine had by the power of his spirit illuminated and deepened the earlier Christian monastic ideals that had come from the East.
He gave Western monasticism its spiritual and ecclesial foundation, and detailed its role in and its responsibility for the entire church.
Christian monasticism in the West was proclaimed not as an escape from the world in the quest of personal holiness and personal salvation, but as one particular way to salvation through service within the Church.
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