Our Rule of Life is a guide to the way we share our lives with one another. Below are excerpts from our Rule of Life which we adopted on March 5, 2011.
We are called to a life of gospel poverty. Jesus asks us to take nothing and to sell everything, and he reminds us that we cannot serve both God and wealth. For each of us, this is a difficult task and a slow conversion. Poverty is a difficult word, ridiculous to the wealthy and poor alike. We must acknowledge the sin of greed and its counterpart, abject poverty. We must realize the desire to consume damages our ability to love. We must be a witness of gospel poverty while working through the ensuing difficultly with honesty and integrity.
For us the friar moves slowly towards giving everything, trusting in the order and the grace of God. This takes years for anyone to consider. An individual must slowly learn to consider the lilies of the field over the desire to consume. Gospel poverty has to be the product of joy rather than compulsion. For the order, poverty means that we must not fall into the trap of pursuing collective wealth. Instead the order must always invest in people, in ministry, and in place, always leaning towards precarity.
We are called to live into the joy of the Incarnation. Jesus tells us that we are blessed and that the Kingdom of God is among us. We must not forget the evil that exists in the world. We must do so knowing the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted are blessed. Knowing that God is in everything, we must learn to walk, sit, and speak with that blessed assurance. Knowing that the Kingdom is amongst us, we must become practiced in seeing it. We will not walk about dismal, but with a quiet confidence, a resonant joy.
We are called to share the life that gives us joy. Jesus tells us “whoever welcomes you welcomes me.” For us welcoming not only means creating a physical space of hospitality, but sharing in the work that will allow us to see God in others. Hospitality means opening our life of prayer, work, and study to the stranger. Hospitality means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Hospitality means being ourselves and allowing others to do the same. We are this for everyone who comes our way. We do this without expectation. We do this to follow the One who teaches us to love neighbor, stranger, and enemy as ourselves.
Like the disciples, we come to the Eucharist saying, “This teaching is hard.” The Eucharist is mysterious and takes imagination. In it God is taking an ordinary people and forming them into the body of Christ with something as common as food and drink. In the rhythm of taking the Eucharist, we come to also proclaim, “To whom could we go?” Jesus is the bread of life. We understand that it takes imagination to realize that God has given us far too much rather than not enough. It takes imagination to open our hearts to receive God’s overflowing gifts instead of assuming his gifts are scarce. We hope by continually and willingly receiving Christ’s taken, blessed, broken and shared body and blood we would recognize our very lives as gifts. We receive and we learn this by offering back every possession, every responsibility, every relationship, our whole lives to God in the Eucharist. They become transformed— taken, blessed, broken and shared with the rest of the world as signs of God’s friendship and love. The Eucharist is our common mission.
Christ did not leave us to remember him in spirit alone but in the physical, in creation, in the eating of bread and the drinking of wine. There is nothing more common than eating. People eat to sustain the body. Food is at the heart of common life. While the Eucharist is the special food of the Church, we look forward to every meal as a moment of encounter with the risen Christ. The Eucharist causes us to ask daily questions of how, what, and whom we eat with at our breakfast, lunch and dinner tables. The meals we prepare and eat during the day are a witness to how the Eucharist has transformed us. Food is best eaten in the company of others. Strangers can become friends when you eat with them. When those we love, the hungry, strangers, perceived enemies gather around the common table, the Kingdom of God becomes plainly visible. As the Church becomes companions with the triune God and each other through the Eucharist, we hope we may become better companions with our brothers, sisters, friends, and strangers in our daily meals.
Our daily prayer life should form us to see God in all things. Our set times of prayer should draw us into prayerful work and interaction. Our corporate prayer life should be a gift that we share freely with those who want to join us. We pray the daily office from the Book of Common Prayer. We should continue to examine our corporate prayer life and be willing to amend our current routine. However, we also cannot expect corporate prayer to be all things for us at all times. Private prayer is also essential and should be incorporated into each day.
Each day we have the opportunity to seek, see, and serve God. All of our work must be done in the spirit of holiness knowing full well we will continue to fail. The work set before us is varied—from weeding the garden to greeting the stranger. With all work we must bring the desire to find God. Holy work means finding a pace that is measured. Holy work means being present with the task set before us no matter how tedious, strenuous, or cerebral. Holy work means incorporating plenty of rest into the day.
We place an especial importance on the work that brings us a greater connection to Creation and the marginalized. We wish to be a sign for the dignity of work and the reverent use of resources. We wish to balance the roles and responsibilities that uplift the common good while respecting the individuals need for creativity and autonomy. We wish to be signs of peace while working side by side.
Our work is about reconnection. Our work is about living fully and whole. It is easy to separate physical work from spiritual work. Our work is to be signs of this forgotten connection. It means that we will learn to grow and cook food. It means that we will design and build. It means that we will make art and live deeply in prayer. It means that we will hammer and preach and be quiet.