Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

The Rule of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

We Brothers welcome you to a share one of our daily practices: listening to and reflecting on a chapter of our Rule of Life.

In addition the Brothers have a series of other resources that we hope might be helpful to you in exploring living with a Rule.

Living Intentionally: Creating a Rule of Life

We invite you to download our Living Intentionally Workbook for Creating a Personal Rule of Life. Walk with Br. David Vryhof step-by-step through the process of writing your own Rule.

A Framework for Freedom:

We invite you to discover the freedom that comes from living by a rule of life, by journeying through “A Framework for Freedom,” a 7-week self-guided video course to help you say “Yes” to your life.  Watch the series now.  Subscribe to a daily email.

In Lent 2012, we preached a series on the challenges and rewards of living by a rule of life. Drawing on chapters from SSJE’s Rule. Read and listen to the sermons.

A Living Tradition:

Each day of Lent 2011, we posted a short “living commentary” on our Rule, with a Brother or two offering his unique perspective on the document which shapes and forms our prayer and practice more than any other apart from Scripture and The Book of Common PrayerTo read that conversation, click here.

 

The Rule of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

We Brothers welcome you to a share one of our daily practices: listening to and reflecting on a chapter of our Rule of Life.

  • To listen to the SSJE Rule of Life, read aloud by a brother, click on the chapters to the left.
  • To read a Guide to Personal Reflection, click here
  • To Subscribe to the SSJE Rule of Life, click the subscribe buttons on the left.
  • We welcome comments on each chapter.
  • To purchase a copy of the book The Rule of Life, click here

Introduction

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The audio book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is read by Br. Curtis Almquist and accompanied by carols sung by the Brothers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas follow from December 25 until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the traditional date when the Magi arrived to present gifts to infant Jesus. For many, the meaning of these days is lost. By Christmas night we are saturated with the holiday hype, overfed by music and food, and may already be disappointed that the presents received are not enough. This audio book is not a bah humbug about Christmas customs and presents.

This is simply an invitation to go deeper than the tinsel and wrappings, beyond the presents given and received, to the source of all the good gifts in life. Readers are invited to unwrap gifts that will last, praying the twelve days of Christmas.

Truth

Pledge yourself to live in the way of Jesus. Commit yourself to speaking and upholding the truth. Overcome fear and do what is good and right. Never forget the lives of the poor. Take your inspiration from John the Baptist, or from any other figure – including Jesus himself – who dared to speak the truth and suffer the consequences.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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Source

When you find yourself powerless to move in the direction of love for someone, rather than despair or condemn yourself, claim God’s power at work in and through you. As good and gifted as you are, you do not have all that it takes to pull it off in life. Let your experiences of powerlessness be clarion calls for you to tap the source of power. Let God be God.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Vocation

You can say no to your vocation. You can choose a life more in keeping with your parents’ wishes, social convention, or simply greater security and wealth. But God, who knows the secrets of our hearts, will never stop calling us, inviting us, enticing us, to live the life for which we have been made.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Surrender

With each breath we take, and in every moment, is an opportunity to surrender to the Holy One’s will and say “I am here for you.” Our participation in the Blessed Sacrament can be seen as practice, practice for giving God in each moment probably the only thing our Beloved truly desires: our real presence.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Love

God is described not as loving, but as Love. And this is our ultimate vocation, our fundamental call from God; not to do, but to be love.

-Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE

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Presence

God is not some unknowable, divine being, far removed from human life. Rather, God is known and experienced in the tiny moments of daily living. We see God in the wonder and beauty of creation, and the awe of worship; we touch God, in the person of Jesus, and the simple elements of bread, wine, water, and oil; we know God, who is closer to us even than our own breath.

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Expand

God is constantly expanding our old and finite ways of thinking in order to make room for God’s love, a love that is fresh and intoxicating. In order to contain this new wine, we have to be like new wineskins, ever willing to expand and broaden, accepting a new understanding of what God is doing in our lives and in the world.

-Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE

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Thyself Unmoved, All Motion’s Source – Br. James Koester

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Proverbs 8: 14, 22 – 31
Psalm 8
Romans 5: 1 – 5
John 16: 12 – 15 

One of the great lines from Father Benson, which is among my favourites, is something he said about the Holy Trinity. Writing to Father Rivington in 1875, he says: 

I quite feel that the practical neglect of the doctrine of the Trinity has been the great cause of the decay of Christendom. The Church – the Sacraments – Hagilogy, I had almost said Mythology – have filled the minds of devout people, partly for good partly for evil. ‘Thyself unmoved, all motion’s source’ this mystery of the circulating life of the eternal Godhead, has been almost lost to sight, spoken of as a mystery, and not felt as a power or loved as a reality.[1]

It seems like a bit of an outrageous claim, that the decay of Christendom is because of the practical neglect of the doctrine of the Trinity. Any school child, after all, can tell you that three does not equal one, and nor does one equal three. For many however, the Trinity is just that: a mathematical impossibility. So how is it then, that the neglect of this mathematical formula, and a nonsensical one at that, is the cause of the decay of Christendom?

For Father Benson, the Trinity had nothing to do with mathematics. It’s not about trying to convince people that something which makes no sense, actually does. The Trinity isn’t about math. It is about God, and it has to do with the reality of God who can be known, felt, and loved, in practice. And that’s what Father Benson is getting at here. He’s not speaking of the almost or nearly neglect, as in saying about something well that’s practically impossible, as in it’s unlikely to happen. Instead Father Benson is speaking of the practice, the experience, the experiential. What he is saying, is that people are no longer experiencing the Trinity and that the circulating life of the eternal Godhead is no longer a felt power or a loved reality. Because that circulating life of the eternal Godhead is no longer a felt power, or loved reality, it is rejected as a nonsensical mathematical formula, and one more thing to discredit, an already largely discredited, and irrelevant Church.

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More

The Spirit moves like wind, blowing where it will. We cannot predict nor contain it. When we think we’ve grasped God, we are overly confident in our knowledge. God is always more.

-Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE

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Silence

Listen to your life. Be silent at some point at least once every day. Enter the inner sanctuary of silence within your soul. Be attentive to the Spirit of God who dwells within you and who will speak within you, sometimes even too deep for words.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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