Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

DRAFT Growing a Rule of Life

Relationship with God, Self, Creation & Others

God, the Chief Gardener of our souls, invites us to grow into fullness of life. Just as stakes and lattices nurture the growth of young plants, so too can spiritual disciplines support the flourishing of our whole being. Explore a tool from monastic spirituality called a ‘Rule of Life’ to cultivate your relationships with God, Self, Others, and Creation.

Monastic Wisdom

for anytime

This six-week journey of reflection on growing a rule of life is now available as an anytime series for individuals and groups. Subscribe to receive the series' video meditations from the SSJE Brothers directly in your inbox, or scroll down and view the videos below. This video offering is accompanied by a helpful workbook, and facilitation guidance for small groups from the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary.

To receive this offering in your inbox, as a daily email for six weeks, add the date you would like to begin. (We recommend that you start on a Sunday to maintain the weekly sequence). If you are going to follow this series as a group, we suggest that everyone coordinate the same start date to receive the videos in synch.

 

As we explore the monastic practice of writing and keeping a Rule of Life, participants will:

  • Design a balanced plan for growing into a deeper relationship with God, Self, Others, and Creation.
  • Celebrate areas of their lives that are thriving and explore areas that need extra nourishment.
  • Tune their sensitivity to the rhythms of nature to help them in keeping a Rule of Life.
  • Grow in fellowship with other participants and support them through the growing process.

Ultimately each participant will create their own unique Rule of Life or ‘Garden Plot’ to sustain and expand beyond the class.

Facilitator’s Guides and other additional supporting materials are available online here >

Theological Reflection

Beloved
Marks of Mission, Marks of Love

 Br. Mark Brown, SSJE . Read more >

Prayer Journal

This beautiful 60-page journal inspires meditation on a daily verse from John, encouraging participants to respond through words, images, or however the Spirit leads.

Download here >

Facilitation Guidance for Groups

The Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary has created resources to help your community get small groups going.

See full support resources here >

What is a Rule of Life?

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Q: What is a Rule of Life?

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Why write and keep a Rule of Life?

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Q: Why write and keep a Rule of Life?

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How could a Rule of Life be helpful to you right now?

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Q: How could a Rule of Life be helpful to you right now?

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How might the rhythms you observe in nature inform the way you live?

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Q: How might the rhythms you observe in nature inform the way you live?

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In the garden of your life, what is thriving and what is not?

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Q: In the garden of your life, what is thriving and what is not?

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When you connect with nature, what makes it meaningful?

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Q: When you connect with nature, what makes it meaningful?

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What ‘seeds’ have you collected for your garden plot?

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Q: What ‘seeds’ have you collected for your garden plot?

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Pick something in God’s creation to "consider" today. What did you notice or observe?

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Q: Pick something in God’s creation to “consider” today. What did you notice or observe?

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What makes you most aware of God’s love?

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Q: What makes you most aware of God’s love?

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Do you feel connected to God’s love on a daily basis?

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Q: Do you feel connected to God’s love on a daily basis?

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What do you long for in your relationship with God?

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Q: What do you long for in your relationship with God?

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What needs to be weeded or cultivated in your soul for you to grow closer to God?

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Q: What needs to be weeded or cultivated in your soul for you to grow closer to God?

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What spiritual practice might help you grow?

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Q: What spiritual practice might help you grow?

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What would help you renew your relationship with God?

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Q: What would help you renew your relationship with God?

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What do you love about yourself?

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Q: What do you love about yourself?

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How has your relationship with your body changed; how might it change?

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Q: How has your relationship with your body changed; how might it change?

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What frailties or weaknesses in yourself might you befriend?

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Q: What frailties or weaknesses in yourself might you befriend?

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How are you creative?

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Q: How are you creative?

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How does it feel to imagine God looking at you – with adoring love?

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Q: How does it feel to imagine God looking at you – with adoring love?

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How might your mind and body need to be nurtured?

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Q: How might your mind and body need to be nurtured?

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How can you find and maintain a healthier balance in your life?

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Q: How can you find and maintain a healthier balance in your life?

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How would you describe the ‘soil’ of your heart and soul at this time in your life?

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Q: How would you describe the ‘soil’ of your heart and soul at this time in your life?

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Who are the “others” in your life with whom you are called to be in relationship?

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Q: Who are the “others” in your life with whom you are called to be in relationship?

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What relationships in your life need mending or strengthening?

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Q: What relationships in your life need mending or strengthening?

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To what part of nature do you most feel connected, and why?

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Q: To what part of nature do you most feel connected, and why?

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Who has loved you well, and how did that love make you feel?

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Q: Who has loved you well, and how did that love make you feel?

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What spiritual practices help to strengthen your connection with the natural world?

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Q: What spiritual practices help to strengthen your connection with the natural world?

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What practices help you to thrive in your relationships with others?

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Q: What practices help you to thrive in your relationships with others?

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How would you describe your unique ÷vocation’ in the world?

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Q: How would you describe your unique ‘vocation’ in the world?

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To what will you say ‘no’ in order to say ‘yes’ to what is most important?

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Q: To what will you say ‘no’ in order to say ‘yes’ to what is most important?

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Where could your life be pruned to bear more fruit?

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Q: Where could your life be pruned to bear more fruit?

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How can you grow in the ways you give and receive love?

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Q: How can you grow in the ways you give and receive love?

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How can you connect with nature in ways that bring life?

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Q: How can you connect with nature in ways that bring life?

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How will you love the people in your life?

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Q: How will you love the people in your life?

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How will you find a healthy and meaningful connection with the natural world?

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Q: How will you find a healthy and meaningful connection with the natural world?

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What has sustained you through challenging seasons in the past?

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Q: What has sustained you through challenging seasons in the past?

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How does gratitude show up in your life?

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Q: How does gratitude show up in your life?

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How will your Rule help you grow into the person you can be?

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Q: How will your Rule help you grow into the person you can be?

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How might others support you on this journey?

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Q: How might others support you on this journey?

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What boundaries would it be helpful to put in place for yourself?

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Q: What boundaries would it be helpful to put in place for yourself?

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How will you direct your energies towards that which gives life?

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Q: How will you direct your energies towards that which gives life?

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Draft a written Rule of Life that will enrich and enliven your relationships.

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Draft a written Rule of Life that will enrich and enliven your relationships.

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Phase 1: Rule of Life & Rhythm of Nature

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Understanding a Rule of Life The Psalmist says, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows God’s handiwork’ (Psalm 19:1). We believe that the rhythms and patterns of life that we see in the natural world around us can inform our own lifestyles and life choices. Growing a ‘Rule of Life’ can…

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Phase 2: My Relationship with God

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Observing your own practices and hopes in relation to God Of all the elements of a Rule of Life, those dealing with our relationship with God are the most important. God is the source and the center of our lives as people of faith. During this phase, we will be exploring ways in which we…

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Phase 3: My Relationship with Self

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Observing your practices and hopes in relation to self There are these wonderful words in the prophecy of Isaiah, where God says: ‘You are precious in my sight and honored and I love you’ (Isaiah 43:4). We have been created by the love of God, for the love of God, and in the love of…

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Phase 4: My Relationship with Others

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Observing your own practices and hopes in relation to others Spirituality is never a private affair. It always brings us into connection with others. We are called by Jesus to be in relationships of love, and to be loving toward others, even our enemies. The Christian message always brings us beyond those who are easy…

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