Our Rule expresses a spirituality that is grounded, coming out of the hard-won experience and chaos of those who have faced some of the hard questions: How do I live with myself? How do I live with others? How do I relate to the world around me? How do I find time and space for God?
Paradoxically the Rule will send us in two directions – inward into the heart of God and on the outward journey of service in the world. Cultivating these spiritual disciplines will create the freedom to love, and enable the spiritual life to become visible. This will in turn create the space where God’s love and grace can reach us, heal us, direct us and free us to be the persons we truly are.
Our Rule is a Way for Living as ‘internal emigrés’ in the current cultural climate. First of all, we are called to Availability: 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 our Rule 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 through 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 by living openly among people as ‘Church without walls.’
This is a way for living we share even though we are scattered widely in a geographic sense. Remember we are not a residential Community but a Community of the heart. 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 and the vow we have all taken to be Available and Vulnerable as outlined in our Rule.
‘This people have been called together to be a sign and a witness, to accomplish a particular mission, which is their charism, their gift.’ Jean Vanier
‘We are to be a sign of vulnerability, a sign of availability, wherever we are as a scattered and dispersed Community. The Rule is a way of living out our salvation together. It reminds us of ways to live that make sense, and are in accordance with Scripture, in accordance with the ways of God and are appropriate to our task or vocation. The Rule has become our story. It is a story that needs to be lived in. It is a story that needs to be lived out, not just talked about. The Rule continues to challenge our hearts and lives, as it is immediately relevant to real living. It addresses honest questions, and touches on issues with which most of us have wrestled in various forms for many years. Through the Rule comes the gentle but insistent call of Jesus to follow Him closely.’ Andy Raine
Our calling as Christians is to be Christ-like – to be conformed to His image (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). The heart of every Rule of life and applicable to all Christians is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. The goal of the Christian life is love – for God, for our neighbour, for self, for others. We are a pilgrim people on a journey of faith. As a Community we are bound together in a common vocation: to seek God and know self so as to better live with others and serve the world of our influence be it great or small.