Saturday, January 3, 2009

My "Rule of Life"

The first book I read in 2008 was The Rule of Saint Benedict, which is the "classic" rule that so many others have been based upon. So, what is a "rule"?

I found this wonderful explanation of a "Rule of Life" from S. Paul's Anglican Church in Riverside, Illinois:

A rule of life is simply a structure in which spiritual formation is facilitated. The Latin term is regula, which does not have some of the negative connotations of the English word "rule." Your own rule regulates your life the way you want it. It should be something you yearn to do. It is a tool for growth, not a pair of iron pants.

Religious orders and groups commonly have a rule that must be adhered to for membership. A personal rule is entirely your own. Many people already have a personal rule and don't even know it. Coming to church on Sundays and holy days is a rule. Daily prayer is a rule. Saying grace at meals is a rule. A rule is simply a way of bringing God into your life in a regular way.

The Rule of Benedict is the most famous formal rule for good reason. Written in the 7th Century, it had -- and continues to have -- a profound effect on Anglicanism. The Anglican Church is much more Benedictine than either our cousins in the Roman Church or the Orthodox Church. In modern times, the Rule of Benedict has been getting more popular with Christians of every denomination. St. Benedict's balanced and practical approach is well suited to Christians living outside of monasteries and seeking to make a place for God even while they are dealing with the demands of modern times.

After reading Benedict's Rule last year, I formulated my own personal Rule of Life last year. I kept parts of it well and other parts not so well. This year I decided to simplify my Rule a little and focus in on two main items: time spent with God and time spent on developing the talents He has given me.

So here is my 2009 Rule of Life:

Follow the Liturgy of the Hours

--- 7 AM Morning Prayer:
~Divine Hours Morning Prayer
~1928 Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer, including Psalms and Lectionary Readings (Old and New Testament)
~Diary of Private Prayer: Morning Prayer

--- Noon Prayer:
~Divine Hours Midday Prayer
~Anglican Prayer Beads

--- 5 PM Evening Prayer:
~Divine Hours Vespers Prayer
~Daily Book of Common Prayer (Prayer and/or Scripture Readings)

--- 10 PM Compline:
~Divine Hours Compline Prayer
~1928 Book of Common Prayer Evening Prayer, including Psalms
~Diary of Private Prayer: Evening Prayer
~Anglican Prayer Beads

Weekly Church Services

-- Attend Friday Morning Prayer and Holy Communion (Healing Service) at Victoria Chapel, Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, plus Holy Day Observances

-- Attend Sunday School and Sunday Worship at Lake Murray Community Church

Bodily Discipline

-- Gluten-free and sugar-free eating with one exception per week

-- Daily exercise, six days/week, building up to 30 minutes per day

-- Awake at 6:30-7:00 AM; Bedtime by 11:00 PM, six days/week

Intellectual Discipline

-- 30 minutes of writing (not counting blogging/journaling), six days/week

-- Mini-retreats for writing/journaling/prayer at least monthly

-- Logos Reading and Discussion Group monthly

-- 30 minutes of study time (not devotional), six days/week

With the aid of Christ Jesus my Lord and Saviour, I intend to keep this Rule of Life in the Year of our Lord 2009. Signed this 29th Day of December, 2008. Susanne Barrett

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