Rule of Life
You may read my full Rule of Life HERE.
What is a Rule of Life:
A Rule of Life is a set of rules that one lives by. Every religious order and hermit are to have one. It directs all aspects of ones life: Prayer, work, penance, clothing, dietary, social, ect.
Why have a Rule of Life:
A Rule of Life is important as it is a measure of how one is living the life they proclaim they want to live. A religious or hermit is responsible to the Church and her people and so there must be mechanism by which they are held acceptable.
Is there a more spiritual reason for a Rule of Life:
Most certainly. Having stated the practical and the obvious, the Rule of Life does much more. It allows the individual to humble and submit himself to a plan of life by which he must live and by this life, become holy. The Rule of Life keeps ones life restricted so they do not busy their life with other things that would distract them from the spiritual life. It keeps them focused and aids in preventing them from wandering to the frivolous and the novelties of life. The Rule itself becomes a form of self sacrifice and penance as one must conform himself to it no matter what his individual whim or preference may be for the day or the moment.
Can anyone have a Rule of Life:
A Rule of Life is a specific term used by the Church used to guide the life of the religious. But in general, everyone should have a rule of life of some sort. In fact, the Church gives you some important rules to follow like go to Church on Sundays and Holiday of Obligation, make your Easter Duty (go to confession at least once a year), daily examination of conscience, fulfill your duties in life, live chastity of sate of life… Many have difficultly following just the basics, but if you are dedicated to becoming holy and perfect in your life than a more detailed plan (rule of life) would certainly be appropriate. I would recommend that you even do it in conjunction with a spiritual director. Remember this though, your rule of life is a private promise between you and God. As a promise, you need to be serious about it, but know that if you fail it is not really meant to be a point of sin. This differs with the the religious and the hermit, our Rule of Life is a public promise and a vow to God made before the Church. It is therefore binding under sin. See the difference?
Why my Rule of Life:
Much of what I read told me to keep the Rule short and to the point, be general and not too specific. As I was putting my rule together with my Bishop, it became clear that I wanted to do more with my Rule.
As I talked with a few about my calling to be a hermit, I found that many did not know what a hermit really was or what need there was for them in the Church. I decided that my Rule of Life must be for more than just me, it had to be for the people also. They had to be able to read it and learn a few things:
- What is a hermit
- What will this hermit do for the Church
- What will this hermit do for the people
- What can this hermit do for me
But also, I wanted the Rule to touch their own heart and understanding of the spiritual life in their own life. I wanted it to inspire them to think about areas of their life that perhaps they did not think of or realize that it has spiritual consequences and so must be worked on.
So my Rule of Life is much longer than many. It is more than a list of rules. It brings out the whole theology of why the rules and why things are important to be done and worked on.