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.

Yes

We were made for “Yes.” Jesus said that he came so that we might have life—and have it abundantly. We were made for senseless acts of beauty—and fun! Senseless acts of beauty—and fun—are not necessary for our physical survival. But they are essential to our humanity.

-Br. Mark Brown, SSJE

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Body of Christ

The food on which we feast is called the “Body of Christ,” the real presence of the broken Body of Christ. Thomas extends his hands to hold the body of Christ. And so we extend our hands to receive this same “Body of Christ,” and to know the risen Christ, to fill our doubt with Christ’s real presence.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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Claim

It is our time to lay claim, not just to the message of the Cross but of the Empty Tomb as well. Now is the time for us to lay claim to hope and health and life. Now is our time to lay claim to Jesus.

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Glory

Jesus has a gift intended for you – his gift of glory – and this gift will make a world of difference in how you live your life. Grasp the glory.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Bread of Life – Br. Luke Ditewig

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Br. Luke DitewigJohn 6:35

People often remark on the homemade bread we serve at both altar and supper table. One guest told me: “Your bread is substantial and satisfying. Through this retreat I’ve experienced Jesus as substantial and satisfying.”

Bread is ordinary, daily, necessary nourishment, and a key symbol in our salvation story. God provided ancient Israel with bread from heaven in the wilderness for forty years. Wandering in the desert, our parents asked: “What is it?” God said take a measure of this bread from heaven every morning. More will come tomorrow. Don’t hoard it. I will give you enough.[i]

A bit earlier in John, Jesus turned a few loaves and fish into a meal for thousands. Followed by a crowd, Jesus raised the question of how to feed them. The disciples said: “Six months wages would not buy enough bread.” Jesus said: “Make the people sit down. … Jesus gave thanks and distributed the food, … as much as they wanted.”[ii]

As in both these stories, we question how we will live and focus on seeming scarcity. God invites us to trust provision beyond what we imagine. Read More

Embody

I imagine that God wants to do something new—again: to raise up a new kind of body. To incarnate and raise up a new kind of embodiment. And that embodiment is the body of which we are members: we are, in one sense, the risen Body of Christ.

-Br. Mark Brown, SSJE

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For God Alone – Br. David Vryhof

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Br. David VryhofThe Spirituality of the Cistercians
On the Feast of St Robert de Molesme (Cistercian monk, 1029-1111)

Genesis 12:1-4 and Matthew 19:27-29

It’s not easy for us to imagine a group of 22 men, in the latter half of the 11thcentury, heading into a remote and thickly forested region of France to establish a new monastery.  With whatever tools they had brought with them, they began to clear the trees and bushes, and to build small individual huts out of branches.  They had little to eat, few possessions, and none of the comforts that we so routinely take for granted.  In addition to this, they set for themselves a rigorous daily schedule, based on the Rule of St Benedict: four hours of sleep in the night, followed by four hours of prayer, both private and communal.  A meager diet of roots and herbs.  Hard manual work during the day, off-set by more worship and periods of reading or study.

Like Abram and like the apostles in our readings tonight, they left everything– homes, families, possessions, livelihoods, friends, one could say even civilization itself – to give their lives (as completely as they knew how) to God.  Their leader was a 69 year-old man, Robert de Molesme, who had become a Benedictine monk at the tender age of 15.  Not long after having entering the monastery, he began to be recognized for his piety and sanctity, and at a comparably young age, was elected as its prior. Read More

Salvation

The icon of the resurrection is of the risen Lord standing at the entrance of hell, whose gates he has just broken with his cross. Christ is standing, upright and majestic and putting out his hand and grabbing the arms of those below, and hauling them up to life. It is a wonderful image of salvation.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Companion

Resurrection comes amid the deep loss that plunges us into darkness, when life hurts and makes no sense. When we are bent under the weight of heavy hearts, when lips tremble and tears flow. When we call a friend and say: Let’s go to Emmaus. I need to get away. Walk with me.

-Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE

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The Risen Jesus – Br. Jonathan Maury

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Br. Jonathan MauryActs 3:12-19, I John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48

Jesus stood among the disciples and said to them, ‘[Shalom], Peace be with you…

And in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering.”   Luke 24:36b, 41

Likely everyone wondered what it was that had taken place in Jerusalem over those days… so certainly the band of men and women who had followed the prophet Jesus from Galilee wondered – and were afraid.  What meaning could be made of their beloved Master’s execution on the eve of the Passover Sabbath?  And now, what to make of the mysterious reports of what some had experienced early on the first day of the week?

The final chapter of Luke’s gospel openly and unapologetically speaks of the startling and terrifying – and ultimately life-transforming – experience of the gathered disciples.  “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see!” (v. 38-39a)  The One whom they saw die on Friday stands among them again.

This is not the spirit or ghost they at first had feared – both in seeing and in being known by their companions that they were seeing.  No, it is One who proclaims himself to “have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”  It is the One who asks with a touch of humor, “Have you anything here to eat?” Read More