In the last post I wrote about the Rule of St. Benedict and its applicability for all Christians. Some people think of a Rule as just that-a bunch of rules-but actually it is a simple way of life, a game-plan, if you will, for living.
Most of us can’t live by the Rule of St. Benedict, though as the last post hopefully showed some of its precepts are very useable by all following Christ. Rather I think we all could use a personal rule of life, geared to each person and their life, a game plan that looks at certain aspects of life, asks ‘where am I now on that?’ and then says, ‘where do I want to be?’
Try this: Take a look at your prayer life. Ask yourself, ‘do I pray? When? How? How often? Do I only pray on Sundays? Only before meals? Only when I need something or I’m in trouble?’
Now as you answer those questions put it down on paper-write it down. Take each question, ask yourself what the answer is and write it down so you have a sort of current state of affairs on prayer document.
Then think about prayer and its effects. And think about whether you want to start praying more or less, (yes I said less; some people, perhaps, need to pray less often and less intensely) in new ways or stick with what you do now…in other words, put a plan for prayer together going forward. Now add that to the paper.
By doing so you have already begun to make a personal rule of life.
During Lent we’re going to have four Wednesday evening sessions where we first take a look at what a rule is and why we might want to have one, then we will decide together what categories should go into the rule (money? relationships? possessions? health?). From there we will guide each person to evaluate where they are now, where they would like to be and by the end of session four (we might get it done in three sessions) each person will have their own personal rule of life, a simple document that provides information on aspects of life that need our attention.
By doing this we also begin to see how ‘official’ rules, like the Rule of St. Benedict, aren’t restrictive after all. They can be liberating. And our own rule of life will be too; it won’t stop us from doing things it will liberate us to do things better and simpler.
See you during Lent! Check this web site for more details as we get closer.