“Videte, vigilate, et orate.”
– Mark 13:33
Primitive Rule of St. Albert
Albertus, Dei gratia Hierosolymitanae Ecclesiae vocatus Patriarcha, dilectis in Christo filiis B. et caeteris eremitis qui sub eius obedientia iuxta fontem in Monte Carmeli morantur: in Domino salutem, et Sancti Spiritus benedictionem.
Albert, called by the grace of God to be Patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem, to the beloved sons in Christ B. and the other hermits who under his obedience are living near the spring on Mount Carmel, health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
Multifarie multisque modis sancti patres instituerunt qualiter quisque, in quocumque ordine fuerit, vel quemcumque modum religiosae vitae elegerit, in obsequio Jesu Christi vivere debeat, et eidem fideliter, de corde puro et bona conscientia, deservire.
In varied and many ways, the holy fathers instituted how each one, in whatever order he be or whatever manner of religious life he choose, should live in the service of Jesus Christ and serve Him faithfully, from a pure heart and a good conscience.
Verum, quia requiritis a nobis ut iuxta propositum vestrum tradamus vobis vitae formulam, quam tenere in posterum debeatis:
However, because you ask from us that we hand on to you, according to your purpose, a formula of life which you ought henceforth to hold:
Illud in primis statuimus ut unum ex vobis habeatis Priorem qui, ex unanimi omnium assensu, vel maioris et sanioris partis, ad hoc officium eligatur.
The first thing we establish is that one of you is to be held as Prior, who is to be chosen for this office by the unanimous assent of all, or that of the greater and more sensible part of you.
Cui obedientiam promittat quilibet aliorum, et promissam studeat operis veritate servare.
To whom each of the others is to promise obedience and study to keep this promise in truth by works.
Praeterea, iuxta situm loci quem inhabitare proposueritis, singuli vestrum singulas habeant cellulas separatas, sicut per dispositionem Prioris ipsius, et de assensu aliorum fratrum vel sanioris partis, eaedem cellulae cuique fuerint assignatae.
Next, near the site of the place which you have proposed to inhabit, let each of you have separate cells, just as through the order of the Prior himself and by the assent of the other brothers or of the more sensible part, the same cells have been assigned to each.
Nec liceat alicui fratrum, nisi de licentia Prioris qui pro tempore fuerit, deputatum sibi mutare locum, vel cum alio permutare.
Let it not be permitted for any of the brothers, unless by the permission of he who is the Prior at that time, to change the place assigned to him or to exchange it with another.
Cellula Prioris sit iuxta introitum loci, ut venientibus ad eundem locum primus occurrat, et de arbitrio et de dispositione ipsius postmodum quae agenda sunt cuncta procedant.
Let the cell of the Prior be near the entrance of the place, so that he may be the first to meet those who come to the place and so that whatever things have to be done may all proceed presently from his judgement and order.
Maneant singuli in cellulis suis, vel iuxta eas, die ac nocte in lege Domini meditantes et in orationibus vigilantes nisi aliis iustis occasionibus occupentur.
Let each stay in his cell or nearby it, day and night meditating on the law of the Lord and keeping vigil in prayers unless occupied by other just occasions.
Ii qui litteras norunt et legere psalmos, per singulas horas eos dicant qui ex institutione sanctorum patrum et Ecclesiae approbata consuetudine ad horas singulas sunt deputati. Qui, vero, litteras non norunt, viginti quinque vicibus “Pater noster” dicant in nocturnis vigiliis, exceptis Dominicis et solemnibus diebus, in quorum vigiliis praedictum numerum statuimus duplicari, ut dicatur “Pater noster” vicibus quinquaginta. Septies autem eadem dicatur oratio in laudibus matutinis. In aliis quoque horis septies similiter eadem sigillatim dicatur oratio, praeter officia vespertina, in quibus ipsam quindecies dicere debeatis.
Let those who know letters and how to read the psalms, for each of the hours say those which are assigned from the institution of the holy fathers and the approved custom of the Church for each of the hours. Let those, however, who do not know letters say the “Our Father” twenty-five times in the nightly vigils, except on Sundays and solemnities, in the vigils of which the aforesaid number we establish to be doubled so that the “Our Father” is said fifty times. Let the same prayer be said seven times in the morning Lauds. Also, in each of the other hours, let the prayer be said seven times, except for the office of Vespers when you should say it fifteen times.
Nullus fratrum dicat sibi aliquid esse proprium, sed sint vobis communia, et ex iis quae Dominus vobis dederit, distribuatur unicuique per manum Prioris, id est per hominem ab eo ad idem officium deputatum, prout cuique opus fuerit, inspectis aetatibus et necessitatibus singulorum. Ita tamen ut, sicut praemissum est, in deputatis cellulis singuli maneant, et ex iis quae sibi distributa fuerint, singulariter vivant.
Let none of the brothers say anything to be his own, but let them be for you in common; and from those things that the Lord will have given you, let them be distributed to each one by the hand of the Prior—that is through the man appointed by him for that office—as each has need, considering the ages and needs of each. Nevertheless, such that, as has been put forward, let each stay in the assigned cells and singly live from what is distributed to them.
Oratorium, prout commodius fieri poterit, construatur in medio cellularum, ubi mane per singulos dies ad audienda missarum solemnia convenire debeatis, ubi hoc commode fieri potest.
Let an oratory be constructed among the cells as suitably as it can be done, where you should come together each day in the morning for the solemn hearing of Masses, when this can suitably be done.
Dominicis quoque diebus, vel aliis ubi opus fuerit, de custodia ordinis et animarum salute tractetis; ubi etiam excessus et culpae fratrum, si quae in aliquo deprehensae fuerint, caritate media corrigantur.
Also on Sundays, or other days there might be need, you ought to discuss the keeping of the order and the welfare of souls; when also let the transgressions and faults of the brothers, if any be recognized in someone, be corrected with common charity.
Ieiunium singulis diebus, exceptis Dominicis, observetis a festo Exaltationis Sanctae Crucis usque ad diem Dominicae Resurrectionis, nisi infirmitas vel debilitas corporis, aut alia iusta causa, ieiunium solvi suadeat, quia necessitas non habet legem.
You are to observe fasting each day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, unless infirmity or weakness of body or some other just cause urge the fast to be unbound, for necessity does not have a law.
Ab esu carnium semper abstineatis, nisi infirmitatis aut nimiae debilitatis remedio sint sumendae.
You are always to abstain from the eating of meats, unless they have to be eaten as a remedy of infirmity or of great weakness.
Quia vero tentatio est vita hominis super terram, et omnes qui pie volunt vivere in Christo persecutionem patiuntur, adversarius quoque vester, diabolus, tamquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret, omni solicitudine studeatis indui armatura Dei, ut possitis stare adversus insidias inimici. Accingendi sunt lumbi cingulo castitatis; muniendum est pectus cogitationibus sanctis, scriptum est enim: Cogitatio sancta servabit te. Induenda est lorica iustitiae ut Dominum Deum vestrum ex toto corde et ex tota anima et ex tota virtute diligatis, et proximum vestrum tamquam vos ipsos. Sumendum est in omnibus scutum fidei, in quo possitis omnia tela nequissimi ignea extinguere, sine fide enim impossible est placere Deo, et haec est victoria: fides vestra. Galea quoque salutis capiti imponenda est, ut de solo Salvatore speretis salutem, qui salvum facit populum suum a peccatis eorum. Gladius autem spiritus, quod est verbum Dei, abundanter habitet in ore et in cordibus vestris, et quaecumque vobis agenda sunt, in verbo Domini fiant.
Since the life of man on earth is a temptation, and all who devoutly will to live in Christ suffer persecution, and your adversary the devil wanders like a roaring lion seeking someone he may devour, with all solicitude you are to study to be clothed with the armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the attacks of the enemy. The loins should be girded with the belt of chastity; the breast should be fortified by holy meditations, for it is written: holy meditation will save you. The cuirass of justice should be put on that you may love the Lord your God from the whole heart and from the whole soul and from the whole strength, and your neighbor as yourselves. In all things the shield of faith should be taken up, in which you can extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one, for without faith it is impossible to please God, and this is victory: your faith. Also, the helmet of salvation should be set upon the head so that from the only Savior you may hope for salvation, Who saves His people from their sins. Let also the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, dwell abundantly in your mouth and hearts, and let all that should be accomplished by you be done in the word of the Lord.
Faciendum est vobis aliquid operis, ut semper vos diabolus inveniat occupatos, ne ex otiositate vestra aliquem intrandi aditum ad animas vestras valeat invenire. Habetis in hoc beati Pauli Apostoli magisterium pariter et exemplum, in cuius ore Christus loquebatur, qui positus est et datus a Deo praedicator et doctor gentium in fide et veritate; quem si secuti fueritis, non poteritis aberrare. In labore, inquit, et fatigatione fuimus inter vos, nocte ac die operantes, ne quem vestrum gravaremus, non quasi nos non habeamus potestatem, sed ut nosmetipsos formam daremus vobis ad imitandum nos. Nam, cum essemus apud vos, hoc denuntiabamus vobis, quoniam si quis non vult operari non manducet. Audivimus enim inter vos quosdam ambulantes inquiete, nihil operantes. Iis autem qui eiusmodi sunt denuntiamus et obsecramus in Domino Jesu Christo, ut cum silentio operantes suum panem manducent. Haec via sancta est et bona: ambulate in ea.
Some kind of work is to be done by you, so that always the devil may find you occupied, lest out of your idleness he may prevail to find some access for entering your souls. You have in this both the instruction and the example of St. Paul the Apostle, in whose mouth Christ spoke, who was set up and given by God a preacher and teacher of the nations in faith and truth, whom if you follow, you will not be able to stray. In labor, he said, and fatigue we were among you, night and day laboring, lest we might burden any of you, not as if we do not have power, but that we ourselves might give you a pattern for imitating us. For, when we were with you, this we warned you, that if anyone does not want to work, let him not eat. For we have heard among you some walking unquietly, working nothing. We warn and entreat those who are of this kind in the Lord Jesus Christ, that working in silence they eat their own bread. This way is holy and good: walk in it.
Commendat autem Apostolus silentium, cum in eo praecipit operandum, et quemadmodum Propheta testatur: Cultus iustitiae silentium est; et rursus: In silentio et spe erit fortitudo vestra.
Moreover, the Apostle recommends silence, since he orders that in it work is to be done, just as the Prophet testifies: Silence is the cultivation of justice; and again: In silence and hope will be your strength.
Ideoque statuimus ut ab hora vespertina usque ad horam tertiam sequentis diei silentium teneatis, nisi forte necessitatis vel causa rationabilis, aut licentia Prioris, silentium interrumpat.
Therefore we establish that from the hour of Vespers to the hour of Terce of the subsequent day, you are to keep silence, unless perhaps by a cause of reasonable necessity, or by the permission of the Prior, one may break the silence.
Alio vero tempore, licet silentii non habeatur observatio tanta, diligentius tamen a multiloquio caveatur, quoniam sicut scriptum est—et non minus experientia docet—In multiloquio peccatum non deerit, et qui inconsideratus est ad loquendum sentiet mala; item, qui multis verbis utitur, laedit animam suam; et Dominus in Evangelio: De omni verbo otioso quod locuti fuerint homines, reddent rationem de eo in die iudicii. Faciat ergo unusquisque stateram verbis suis, et frenos rectos ori suo, ne forte labatur et cadat in lingua, et insanabilis sit casus eius ad mortem, custodiens cum Propheta vias suas, ut non delinquat in lingua sua et silentium, in quo cultus iustitiae est, diligenter et caute studeat observare.
At other times, although the observance of silence is not to be kept as much, yet let loquaciousness be more diligently avoided, for it is written–and experience teaches no less–In loquaciousness sin will not be lacking, and he who is thoughtless towards speaking will experience evils; similarly: The man who uses many words, injures his soul; and the Lord in the Gospel: Concerning every idle word which men will have uttered, they will render an account for it on the day of judgment. Let each one therefore make a balance for his words and proper restraints for his mouth, lest perhaps in speech he slip and fall, and his fall be incurable unto death, guarding with the Prophet his ways, so that he may not fail by his speech, and may study diligently and carefully to observe silence, in which is the cultivation of justice.
Tu autem, frater B., et quicumque post te institutus fuerit Prior, illud semper habeatis in mente, et servetis in opere, quod Dominus ait in Evangelio: Quicumque voluerit inter vos major fieri, erit minister vester, et quicumque voluerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus.
Moreover, you, brother B., and whoever after you may be established as Prior, are always to have in mind and keep in works what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever among you wills to become greater, will be your minister, and whoever among you wills to be first, will be your servant.
Vos quoque, caeteri fratres, Priorem vestrum honorate humiliter, Christum potius cogitantes quam ipsum, qui posuit illum super capita vestra, et Ecclesiarum praepositis ait: Qui vos audit, me audit, qui vos spernit, me spernit; ut non veniatis in iudicium de contemptu, sed de obedientia mereamini aeternae vitae mercedem.
Also, you other brothers, humbly honor your Prior, thinking him more Christ than himself, Who placed him over your heads and said to those placed over the Churches: He who hears you hears me, he who spurns you spurns me; so that you may not come into judgement from contempt, but from obedience may merit the recompense of eternal life.
Haec breviter scripsimus vobis, conversationis vestrae formulam statuentes, secundum quam vivere debeatis. Si quis autem supererogaverit, ipse Dominus, cum redierit, reddet ei. Utatur tamen discretione, quae virtutum est moderatrix.1
These things we have briefly written for you, setting up a pattern for your conduct, according to which you should live. If anyone, however, also does the supererogatory, then the Lord Himself, when He returns, will reward him. Yet, let discretion be used, which is the moderator of the virtues.2
1 Bede Edwards, The Rule of Saint Albert, (Aylesford and Kensington, 1973), p. 78-93.
2 ©2019 Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. All rights reserved.