What Is a Rule of Life?
Unless you have an affiliation with a religious order, you may not have heard of a Rule of Life. Put simply, a Rule gives structure to your days according to your vocation. Religious orders live in community, so a rule is beneficial. It provides a standard for all to strive towards and to be accountable.
Because a Rule does involve some decision making, some may think it is just a religious or spiritual schedule. However, it is not a conventional schedule full of goals, habits, or routines. It is meant to simplify your life by placing as priorities those things that will make God central in your life. A Rule is an intentional plan and path to holiness.
Activities are Included in a Rule of Life
Prayer, spiritual activities, and one’s daily duties according to vocation are the components of a Rule. These include weekly Mass, regular confession, daily personal prayer and Christian meditation.
These are interwoven with the work and activities a person is obliged to complete according to his or her vocation. Perhaps you have a job inside or outside the home, are a caregiver, a parent, or a homeschooler. Your Rule will reflect those obligations.
Holiness is available to everyone. When you discern your obligations and make decisions about them, you will live in freedom, rather than constantly choosing in the moment.
Rules of Life Accepted by the Catholic Church
Through the centuries there have been five Rules accepted by the Catholic Church. Written by founders of religious orders or congregations, these five have been amended, expanded, and/or adopted by others. These adaptations fit the needs of communities with different charisms.
The five Rules accepted are:
- The Rule of St. Augustine
- The Rule of St. Benedict
- The Rule of St. Francis
- The Rule of St Albert (The Rule of the Carmelite Order)
- The Basilian Rule
Rules for People Not in Religious Orders or Congregations
St. Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life recognized that when lay people tried to imitate saints who were priests or religious, there was tremendous frustration. He wrote this book as a response to assist both single and married individuals.
Also, Blessed John Henry Newman was a Cardinal who wrote a book called Meditations and Devotions. In his reflections on Christian perfection he gave examples of things to do to be perfect. He called it “the Simple Path” and included the following:
- Getting up out of bed immediately upon rising (sometimes called “the Heroic moment”)
- Making a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament
- Saying the Angelus devoutly
- Praying the rosary well
- Making a good evening meditation
It is important when creating your own rule to create a schedule for prayer, reflect on the nature and quality of your work and if it is out of balance, find guidance in the Gospel, and live simply.
Resources for Creating Your Rule of Life
In addition to what is mentioned above, other resources for you to peruse include:
- Roadmap to Heaven by Fr. Ed Broom
- A Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot
- The Rules of Catholic Life, The Servite Manual
- Creating a Rule of Life at Graceful Catholic
- A presentation by Fr. Chad Ripperger called Rule of Life
How Catholic Radio Can Help You Begin a Rule of Life
- By simply tuning in, your Rule of Life will begin percolating in your mind and heart. We become like what we read, listen to, and people we spend time with. When you listen to Catholic radio, it will become a positive influence on your life.
- Although the words Rule of Life are not always mentioned in our radio shows, the pursuit of holiness is a mainstay across our media network. Shows like The Simple Truth, Mother Miriam Live, and The Terry and Jesse Show encourage listeners to learn their Catholic faith and remain firm in it.
- If you are starting your Rule by incorporating new prayers or devotions, our shows and printable Program Schedule can guide you into this new habit.
- In your Rule, if you desire to attend Mass more frequently but can’t make it due to your work schedule or caregiving, you can tune in every day at 8 AM eastern.
- You can check the Community Calendar for local events that can strengthen your faith and help you meet others who are like minded.
At The Station of the Cross we warmly invite you to tune in and interact with us by sharing your thoughts under Testimonials and signing up for emails on our “About” page. You can listen at thestationofthecross.com and via our iCatholicRadio app.