A rule of life is simply a structure that fosters and facilitates spiritual formation. The Latin term is regula, which connotes “framework”. Your own rule regulates between your life and God. It should be something you yearn to do. It is a tool for growth.
In 1997, St Paul’s Parish Council formulated an excellent document entitled A Community Rule of Life for St Paul’s Parish. It is comprehensive in scope but not required of anyone, except canonical (“official”) members of St Paul’s Parish.
Religious orders and groups commonly have a Rule that must be adhered to for membership. A personal rule is entirely your own. Many people already have a personal rule and don’t even know it. Coming to church on Sundays and Holy Days is part of rule. Daily prayer is part of rule. Saying grace at meals is part of rule. A rule is simply a way of bringing God into your life in a regular way.
The Rule of St Benedict is the most famous formal rule for good reason. Written in the 7th Century, it had — and continues to have — a profound effect on Anglicanism. The Anglican Church is generally more Benedictine than either our cousins in the Roman Church or the Eastern Orthodox Churches. But regardless of tradition, St Benedict’s balanced and practical approach is well suited to Christians living outside of monasteries and seeking to make a place for God even while they are dealing with the demands of modern times.
The Rule of St Benedict may seem as dry as a technical manual. Like the Bible, it is more depth than surface, and it imparts its wisdom slowly. Much of what it teaches is implied rather than stated outright. As a parishioner said some time ago, “It is easier to live it than explain it.”