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ESV: Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary

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Hermit

I am currently in the process of developing a rule of life for pursuit in a lay monastic vocation. I am taking a live-in position caring for two gentlemen with developmental disabilities. The three of us will live in the same rented duplex, I will have my own room and facilities, and we share the kitchen, living room, etc.

I should have additional time off during the week while they are at work (as well as 2 days off each week for myself) so I can focus on prayer, my graduate studies and investigating monastic life.

This is a good opportunity for me to venture into monastic vocation a step at a time, while also preparing (getting student loans paid, etc) for the decision of moving to a monastery for full time service in the future.

I'm still in the elementary stages of my rule of life. I would like it to develop naturally, as I settle into my new position and life.

Br. Jay

I am a member of the Order of Allogenes (Strangers-as in strangers in this world). We have a rule of life, principles, and protocols. We model ourselves similar to the hidden monks of Russia.

Kerry Denten

Hi there,

I am a "recovering Pentecostal" who, for the last five years or so, has been drawn to a more monastic way of life. Essentially, I'm a bit of a monk in a married man's skin!

I am busy investigating the Rule of St Benedict and am in discussions with the Abbot of Australia's only Anglican Benedictine Abbey about the possibility of joining their oblate program.

With that in mind, for the last two years or so, it has become clear to me that my personal Rule of Life is to be found in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, which reads ...

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need."

I am a man who has bucked against any kind of routine or regularity in my life until recent years, and yet, I have found that the daily rhythm of praying the Offices, coupled with "filtering" life and my decisions through this personal Rule has assisted me in finding the kind of God-life I have longed for for years.

Recently, I felt God challenged me to look at these two verses of Scripture in a similar way to St Benedict. In other words, God asked me two questions about my personal Rule of Life.

1) How do I outwork this rule for myself personally?

2) How would this rule be outworked by a group or a small community?

To answer those questions, I needed to take a good look at the original language of these verses to try and more clearly discern the Apostle Paul's intent in writing them.

My outcomes are these ...

You are to make it a point of honour to seek a quiet, balanced, "rhythmic" life. This should be your primary ambition, allowing "your gentleness to be apparent to all". Your quietness will come from times of silence and labour, solitude and community, private prayer and public prayer, contemplation and petition, divine reading and dialogue.

You must not leave undone the things that you ought to do, according to your specific place in life. Nor should you be involved in the things you ought not. Be satisfied with what you have rather than coveting the latest fad or fancy. You must choose your involvements wisely, to avoid overwork, overcommitment, and personal turbulence. Quietness in every aspect of life must be your goal.

Rest is important and must be taken .. regularly. But you must likewise be producing something fruitful and worthwhile, tangible and beneficial with your life. Don't be abstract. Don't be ethereal. Be prudent and pragmatic. Have something concrete to show for the work of your hands, the sweat of your brow and the exercise of your creativity.

No one who already has enough for themself and their family, but who can continue to make money to do good to others, has a right to retire from business and to live in idleness. Likewise, if you have no need to add to what you have for your own temporal comfort, it should be seen as a privilege for you to apply yourself in promoting works for public and community benefit.

In both public and in private, you shall conduct yourself appropriately, becomingly and honourably. Your life must be one of integrity: that is, the holistic nature of the fruit of the Spirit should be increasingly evident in your life. Your words and your actions must be consistent and trustworthy. Consistent, as in the nature of Christ .. and consistent, in that they be safe and predictable. Your actions must must be kind and courteous, meek and gentle, respectful and joyful.

Treat all people you have dealings with, whether they be your spouse, your children, your family, your brethren or an outsider, in such a way as they were having an encounter with Christ Himself. Treat all people in the same you would have them treat you. Be concerned first with the log in your own eye rather than looking for splinters in others.

If you live according to this rule, you will develop favour in your dealings with people and a compentency in your overall life that will see you able to provide for yourself and your family, to be generous on every occassion, to have "seed to sow and bread for food". Let every outsider see that it is to their genuine benefit to have dealings with you, trusting that only good can come from their contact with you.

In essence, I see 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 as a distillation of the Rule of St Benedict and the few paragraphs mentioned above as a more succinct outworking of his entire 73 chapter rule.

Sorry for the long post first time around, but in the light of the great benefit that this flighty Protestant has found in the embrace of a Rule of Life, I thought it might be of benefit to others to seriously consider it or apply one for themselves.

All I can say to your post is .. Amen and Amen!!

Grace and peace!

Kerry

Monk-in-Training

Marshall,
You point out something not intended in my post. I strongly believe that ALL Christians should follow a Rule of Life, in fact, most already do without knowing it.

My "monastic-type" comment was intended to say something about my personal vocation, not to be a divisive comment.

Marshall Scott

Having been an Associate of the Order of the Holy Cross for more than 25 years, there are many out here following a Rule of Life. Now, part of your question begs, though, is just who is a "monastic type?" After all, I'm an Associate of an Episcopal Benedictine monastic order for men. I don't live in the community, but I support it and have some responsibility to it under the rule.

I have encountered some "non-monastic types" - that is, not affiliated with an order or Christian community - that have a rule of life. I have heard clergy preach about and encourage rules of life, and have noted some Christian education opportunities; but I don't know how we might determine how many "private practitioners" are out in the Church.

kyle

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you sharing some of this with us Sunday morning.

Many blessings my brother.

Misty

I am a member of a somewhat charismatic Christian church. I did not grow up in a 'churched' family so the unstructured nature of that kind of that type of church appealled to me. I find that as I become more established (and have more ups and downs) I crave something like what you are talking about here. The statement "Ever since St. Benedict's time, Christians have used a Rule of Life to provide an ancient yet powerfully consistent way to live into our present and future faith." really resonates with me. I love the faith community I am a part of but I also find myself searching and reading about some of the rich traditions and finding creative ways to not only bring the practice but the meaning into my life.

Bob Dudley

I am an Oblate Probationer in the Order of Julian, a contemplative religious order of the Episcopal church. We have a Rule than includes poverty, chastity, prayer and obedience. You can find out more about us at the web site, www.orderofjulian.org

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