October 4, 2015 Gathering – “New Monasticism – Rule of Life”
Since Companions on the Way began, we have described ourselves as “inspired by both Celtic Christianity and New Monastic Christianity.” (For details on both of these inspirations, click here.) One of the elements of New Monasticism that particularly interested us was their commitment to a “Rule of Life.” What is a Rule of Life? The Northumbria Community describes it this way:
“A Rule of life is absolutely essential to any monastic expression, and is a spiritual rather than a legislative document. It says this is ‘who we are, this is our story’ and reminds us of those things God has put on our heart, and calls us back to the story that God has written as foundational. Monastic stability is to be accountable to a Rule of life as a framework for freedom, not as a set of rules that restrict or deny life, but as a way of living out our vocation alone and together. It is, to use the words of St Benedict, ‘simply a handbook to make the radical demands of the gospel a practical reality in daily life’.” †
At our formation, we liked the idea of committing to a Rule of Life as Companions on the Way, but weren’t quite sure what it would look like for us. Over the last many months, as we have talked, shared, worshiped, and practiced our faith together, themes began to emerge. This past week, our worship was spent wondering whether we were called to created a Rule of Life from these themes and, if so, what that Rule would be. We didn’t have to wonder long. Spirit moved, and together we came up with our Rule:
“As Companions on the Way, our Rule of Life will be to Share Truths, Build Trust, Companion, and Love.”
We believe these are the core elements of the way in which we are called to live as Companions on the Way. And that having a Rule of Life, as the New Monastic communities that inspire us do, will help us to embrace a different kind of living, and act as a reminder to us to practice this way of life to the glory of God, always. You can find each part of our Rule explained in detail in the image below.
In the end, Rules of Life are simply commitments to live in a certain way – a guide, anchor, and freeing framework, all at once. Any of us can do this, and if Christ is at its core, it helps to move our Christianity from being a “religion” to being a “way of life.” For us as Companions on the Way, our Rule of Life is our pledge to God, others, creation, and self.