Our history is one of responding to a call we believe to be from God: a call to risky living, and our Rule developed out of this life already being lived – a written response to the many people who were asking – what is central to your hopes and dreams, what are the values and emphases that reflect the character and ethos of your way for living?
We are not a Community because of physically living close to each other (although some do) but because we live close to our chosen way of living, which unites us at a heart level. As a monastic Community, we are consecrated to God in our way for living and the vows – of availability and vulnerability – are taken seriously.
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’.
As a geographically dispersed Community our Rule of life is deliberately flexible and adaptable, so that it does not prescribe uniformly, but provokes individually. It is descriptive rather than prescriptive in that it encourages seeking God for oneself, who we are, where we are, what we are, so as to be a sign of vulnerability, a sign of availability, wherever we are as a scattered Community.
Our Rule is a Way for Living as ‘internal émigrés’ in the current cultural climate. First of all, we are called to be available to God in the cell of our own heart where we can seek Him for His own sake, as the ‘one thing necessary’. Then to be available to others in a call to exercise hospitality, recognising that in welcoming others we honour and welcome Christ Himself.
We are then called to be available to others through participation in God’s care and concern for them by praying and interceding for their situations in the power of His Holy Spirit. We are also called to be available for mission of various kinds according to the leading and initiatives of the Spirit.
Then as it is an ongoing exploration of ‘How then shall we live?’ it also involves an intentional Vulnerability expressed through being teachable in the discipline of prayer: through applying the wisdom of the Scriptures and a mutual accountability in the advocacy of soul friends.
Also we live the vulnerability of embracing the ‘heretical imperative’ by challenging assumed truth; being receptive to constructive criticism; affirming that relationship matters more than reputation and living openly among people as ‘Church without walls’.
Learn more about what a Rule of Life is.