Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Rule of Life

A week or so ago I updated the menu bar across the top of this blog to include a page titled "My Rule of Life." This is something that I've been thinking about and praying about for a year or two, but I've never blogged about it before. I don't know where my interest originated. It may have started when I first began reading Saint John of the Cross and other Carmelite authors. I think that's when my interest and curiosity in religious orders began. I began to research the different types of religious orders and what their lives are like. What do they do to devote themselves to God? What vows do they take? Why? How does this affect their daily lives? 

Obviously I don't intend to take vows and join a religious order, because I live very much "in the world" with a husband and a family to care for. But that doesn't mean that I can't follow their example in the way I live my life. So that's when my search began, the search to find a Rule of Life that I felt I could really live. There were many elements to choose from. Poverty. Charity. Celibacy. Silence. Ceaseless prayer. Fasting. There are so many more and they are so many expressions of these. But I just couldn't find the right combination. None of them spoke to me. None of them called out to me. So after giving it a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to write my own, personal Rule. And here it is. Love God. Love Others. Love yourself. 

There is a phrase out there that says you should live in JOY (Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last). And while this is an okay sentiment, to me it implies that I would have to put myself last. In a world where my obligations often leave me stretched completely thin and exhausted, I can't afford to put myself last. I can't take care of other people if I'm not taking care of myself. I have to love myself and take care of myself in order to keep myself physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. But I still want my focus to be on serving God and serving others. 

I'm still working on refining the details of my Rule, but I think I'm off to a good start.

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

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