team, such as always wear gloves at a crime scene and never mess with a marine’s coffee.
God gives us rules to follow.
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
When you think about it, most of us live by unspoken and unwritten rules. For example, always call your mother on Mother’s Day, don’t forget to say thank you, and look both ways before crossing a street. Some families have specific rules like don’t put the ketchup bottle on the Thanksgiving table (yes, we do follow that silly one at my home)
Writing down your spiritual rules can be a powerful practice. A Rule for Life is a collection of guidelines for living. It can also be called a Way of Life. Its purpose is to help us keep our sense of balance by intentionally addressing all aspects of life: physical, emotional, socially, spiritually, etc.
Writing and living within a Rule for Life is a spiritual practice that can help lead to healthy spirituality.
Rule for living grew out of the monastic movement to help monks continue to grow spiritually while in community. Pachomius, who lived in Egypt between 292 and 346 AD, wrote the first known rules. Daily prayers were a foundation for his guidelines.
Perhaps the best known Rule for Life is the Rule of St. Benedict from the 6th century.
We can fill up an entire page with statements or we can write a simple statement of beliefs. The foundation is to consider: how can I intentionally be open to the Holy Spirit and grow closer to God?
In October 2003 I wrote my own Rule for Life for the first time. I reread it several times a year noting areas I am making progress and areas I neglect. I recently revised it as it continues to evolve and nourish my spirituality. I have a friend who wrote a longer rule for herself one year, then condensed it to four sentences as she applied it to her daily living.
My human heart fails many, many times to follow these rules, but I found they give me guidance, call me back to my core beliefs, and refocus my desires on God when the world and sin distract me.
A few examples from my Rule are:
· Seek, know, serve and love God with all my heart, mind and energies.
· Be obedient to God’s Word, be discerning of His will and being open to the work God is doing within me. My prayer is: Do what You need to do in order that I become what You best chose for me.
· Be gentle with myself and love and accept the person God created me to be.
· Trust God no matter what happens.
A Rule of Life is a living, dynamic spiritual practice.
May my rule for life draw me closer to the Ruler of all Life.
Do you have a Rule for Life?
“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instruction, and attend to them with the ear of your heart” St Benedict’s Rule