Living with a Rule of Life

Eleven years ago–in my continuing saga to learn to live in the present moment–I read and tried to implement a rule of life. Ultimately I was unsuccessful at sticking to one and became frustrated with my search for greater spiritual and personal stability. Over the years as I tried rebooting my attempts I used two very different resources on this subject;  unfortunately neither one provided me with the ability to create something that I could stick to for the long haul.

I’ve come to finally realize that it was probably not in any way due to the books being inadequate but rather a result of the combination of my ADHD and OCD tendencies, in addition to deep-seated perfectionism, and, probably most significantly, an extremely challenging season of life that included multiple chronic health issues that sabotaged my attempts. Now that my health is improving I am optimistically embarking on a reboot of a rule and have decided that it has a greater chance of sticking if I share it here and therefore insure some measure of accountability!

My primary resources for developing a rule are those two books that have helped me in one way or another over the past decade. While I don’t agree with everything the authors have written I’ve gleaned what makes sense to me and feel both books have more content that is worthwhile than not.

The first book I read was one devoted exclusively to the subject, Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life:

http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-Rule-Life-Bring-Order-ebook/dp/B005D9IDZ2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459767168&sr=1-1

The second and ultimately most helpful was Jane Tomaine’s St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living:

http://www.amazon.com/St-Benedicts-Toolbox-Everyday-Benedictine-ebook/dp/B010EINBZS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459767086&sr=1-1

This book was greatly expanded and revised last summer so a few months ago I treated myself and was not disappointed. What was already an exceptionally good book was made even more outstanding and although it has only one chapter specifically devoted to developing one’s rule it is packed with helpful insights and practical instruction.

So, gentle reader, join me as I share my ongoing journey of developing and living by a rule of life–all for the glory of God!

 

 

Praying with the Church

Have you heard of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours as it’s also known? If not you are in for a pleasant surprise. Many lay Christians in the Catholic Church and liturgical faith communities as well as other believers have been discovering this public prayer of the church–normally associated with the clergy–that stretches backwards across centuries of the faithful and around the globe to join a great host of brothers and sisters in Christ. One of its beauties is that it can be prayed privately or in conjunction with fellow believers. Rather than try to explain it in detail here I commend to you the excellent and accessible slim volume on the subject, The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, by Daria Sockey.

http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Catholics-Guide-Liturgy-Hours-ebook/dp/B00BSI816S/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1459421181&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=everyday+catholic%27s+guide+to+the+liturgy+of+hours

Additionally, should you just want an overview of the Liturgy of the Hours or start praying them, Daria has written an extended blog post called Breviary Boot Camp that is a terrific tool for throwing yourself into the Divine Office prayers–if you read about them and discover you are so inclined.

http://dariasockey.blogspot.com/p/breviary-bootcamp.html

For me, a previous participant in these prayers who eventually fell out of using them and then came back several years later, they have been serendipitous in helping my faith journey stay on course during some tough times over the past few months. Now that things are looking up I am addicted to continuing them as I can’t imagine trying to get through my day without their help. If you’re curious about the idea of praying the Psalms and other Scriptures regularly you should read Daria’s post and consider diving right in.

Finally, there’s a wonderful website you can use to get started without any outlay of cash. It provides the prayers in either visual or audio form and you don’t have to figure out where in the cycle of prayers you should be on any given day as the work has already been done for you. It is also available for purchase as an app for iOS, Mac OS10 Lion, Android, Kindle and Nook platforms.

http://divineoffice.org

If any of this sounds intriguing I encourage you to check it out. And remember: you don’t have to pray all the hours. You may be a Night Prayer user as my family and I were when our son was much younger and this was part of our family’s prayer routine. Or you may switch things up daily and pray whatever hour or hours that work for you that day. The beauty is that you can’t fail to benefit from whatever you pray in conjunction with believers all over the world, however that looks for you. No doubt if you become devoted to it your practice will change with the ebb and flow of the seasons of your life.

But no matter whether you stick to it faithfully or go on sabbatical you will always find it there waiting for you to pick up and be refreshed. Peace be with you as you draw closer to the Lord Jesus through the prayer of His Word.

Too Much Tuesday: Too Much Stuff

To the tune of “Three Blind Mice”

 

Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

It’s out of the closets and filling our space;

It’s growing and spilling all over the place;

We’re tripping all over, a terrible case

of too much stuff.

 

Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

The piles are staring us in the face;

They multiply at an alarming pace;

And soon we’ll be buried without a trace

in too much stuff.

 

Too much stuff, too much stuff,

More than enough, more than enough.

It isn’t easy to run the race,

With all this stuff slowing down the pace;

I think I need some additional grace

for too much stuff.

 

Marjorie Morrison shared via Elisabeth Elliot on “Gateway to Joy” over a decade ago.

 

 

 

Huddled Masses

In my opinion, my guest blogger nails it.

Source: Huddled Masses

I Must Decrease

Source: I must decrease

No longer strangers

Source: No longer strangers

Thoughtful Thursday

Two excellent posts on living faithfully to pass along today from a favorite blog:

http://aquinasetc.com/2015/08/27/matthew-2442-51/

http://aquinasetc.com/2015/08/27/more-on-matthew-24/

 

 

Uncluttering of all sorts…

Unclutterer (un-‘kle-ter-er) n. Someone who chooses to get rid of the distractions that get in the way of a remarkable life.

Distractions, also known as clutter, come in many forms–physical, time management, mental, and bad systems. When your surroundings, schedule, and thoughts are chaotic it’s hard to move through the day…The list of distractions is endless and only you know how clutter is interfering with your life. By getting rid of clutter and organizing your work and home life you will free up time, space, and energy so that you can focus on what really matters to you.

Erin Rooney Doland, Unclutter Your Life in One Week

I love autumn (and any hints of it during what is technically still summer!). I love it because, among other things, my version of the spring cleaning bug kicks in. As I am hardly known for being a neat freak<g> the above quote reflects my desire to stay focused on removing whatever distractions in my life that are keeping me from living a “remarkable” or (as I prefer to call it) intentional life. However, no matter how great my intentions limits always exist to keep me from realizing my ideals. But what ultimately matters is staying focused, which requires a balance between simultaneously cultivating the spiritual life without failing to tend to other aspects of my life (e.g., dealing with physical and mental clutter in order to free up time and energy for nurturing relationships and my vocation’s work, creating and following healthy self-care habits, etc). Nonetheless, since becoming Catholic I feel my relationship with God has become much less cluttered and I find myself all the more grateful to realize my life is truly “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). It’s good to know that in the midst of whatever kind of clutter we may find ourselves in, He can always find us.

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