Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My Rule of Life vs 4.1

I've spent most of this summer researching and writing my Rule of Life. I finally know what it is I want to be when I grow up and that would be a nun. I'm Episcopalian and, yes, we have nuns. On November 2, 2005, I will be Set Apart for a Special Vocation, according to the liturgy of that name found in the Episcopal Church's Book of Occasional Services.

This service was written to apply to those Episcopal women and men who don't fit into the categories of religious orders or communities. And that's me!! This came about because in my various commications with Episcopal and even ecumenical religious communities, I realized that the cost of transportation to and from the community would not be possible for me. Bummer! Or so I thought at first.

God has motivated me to seek more accountability and community in my life. I had interpreted that to be a religious community. And so I thought 'alas for me' when i realized I couldn't in good faith, join one. With prayer, I reaized that I could be accountable to my spiritual director and to my priest and that I have community in my parish, All Soul's Episcopal Church . The Most High is most creative!!

On 11/2/05 will begin my Novitiate year. According to the Rubrics for the service Setting Apart for a Special Vocation, one does not make vows at this time, one promises to live the life for a year. If all goes well, on 11/2/06, i would make my first vows and the following year, life vows.

And here is my Rule. vs 4.1

I. Introduction

Jesus says" Come apart to a quiet place and rest yourself". With this verse, the Lord issues a personal invitation to a both/and life: semi-eremitic; semi-active; but entirely contemplative. Leading the way out of the busyness of the world into God's Sabbath Rest to meet Him, love Him, be changed by Him; refreshment and recollection are sought to return to His service.The purpose of this Rule is to define this call specifically and to allow God to create an ever-widening interior space place to encounter Him and be changed by that encounter. This is demonstrated through a commitment to worship, prayer, study and ministry in whatever way the Lord may lead.

The Desert Christians of Egypt and the Near East, John Cassian and St. Benedict are inspiration for this model of the consecrated life in a balance of prayer, work, study, and recreation. Following their examples, hospitality will be offered to all persons as though they were Jesus, remembering to treat each as fully human in a respectful, validating manner. The Desert Christians provide inspiration and role models for a radical committment to Gospel living. John Cassian's Institutes and Conferences prrovide guidance on the observations of ascetism while the Rule of St. Benedict serves as the basis of daily life. Such a life lived under promises of conversion of life, stability and obedience will serve as an evangelical witness and an apostolate of presence in the church and the world.

II. Nature of vocation

In the call to come apart from the world God creates a hermitage within heart and home where the Gospel is fleshed out and Scripture internalized so that every thought, word and deed communicates Jesus to the world. In imitation of the Desert Christians, this is a solitary path.

In imitation of St. Benedict and John Cassian, the call is to wholeness as well as newness of life. Solitude must be balanced by activity and participation with parish and community, family and friends. There is nothing that cannot be offered to God and nothing that He cannot bless in daily life. Those things which ensure health include: regular worship and Eucharist; monthly meetings with spiritual director; weekly therapy appointments; psychiatritic visits as deemed appropriate by him; weight loss; regular exercise as is consistent with physical limitations; regular doctor visits with all recommended examniations and procedures

III. Canonical Considerations

Since an eventual consecrated life will be lived privately and outside the canonical and juridical forms recognized by Title III, Canon 30, Sections 1 and 2 of The Episcopal Church, Section 3 applies. According to the rubics for "Setting Apart for a Special Vocation", there are three stages for vows: novitiate; temporary or annual vows and life profession.

IV. Novitiate:

This Rule is intended to guide the novitiate period of_____________ [how long should it be???] in which this life will be explored and discerned by Father Michael Russell, Rector of All Soul's Episcopal Church, San Diego, CA; Christie Fleming, spiritual director; and me as guided by the Holy Spirit. When he deems it appropriate, James Mathes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego will become involved.

This Rule may be modified to better meet the demands and requirements of the novitiate period and to guide preparation for temporary or annual vows. Changes must be approved by Christie Fleming and Fr. Michael Russel and will be suggested only after prayer and discussion.

V. Use of Time

Through the grace of disability Jesus has taught me that time is one of the most precious gifts we receive from God which can be acknowledged through set times of prayer, work, recreation and study, in the Benedictine manner.

A. Prayer Life

-- The Divine Office will be observed through the use of the Monastic Diurnal Revised of the Episcopal Benedictine Community of St. Mary, and the Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church of the United States. The Daily Lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Lesser Feasts and Fasts will guide Lectio Divina and study of Scripture.

-- A ministry of intercessory prayer is offered throughout the Divine Office, embracing the most basic and crucial form of hospitality by making room in daily life to entertain God's real but mysterious presence through intercessions, adoration and contemplation.

--Lectio Divina is practised daily for immersion in Scripture and the writings of fellow Christians, ancient, medieval, modern and post-modern and to affect consciousness of every aspect of life through reading (lectio), meditation (meditatio), prayer (oratio) and contemplation ( contempatio). In this manner, our Lord creates a constant, loving awareness of His reality and presence in all of human life.

-- Recognizing Eucharist as the source and food of the spiritual life, it will be received twice weekly At All Soul's Episcopal Church, Point Loma, San Diego, CA.

B. Study

--Sacred reading allows the word of God to touch and awaken our hearts. "God's word is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword. piercing until it divides soul from spirit; joints rom marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intention of the heart." (Hebrews 4: 12)

--In addition to Scripture during the novitiate the following will be studied:

John Cassian, Institutes and Conferences
Barry Colman, OSB, Worship and Work
Desert Christians of Egypt and the Near East, various readings
Pope St. Gregory, Life and Miracles of St. Benedict - Book Two of the Dialogues
Katherine Howard, OSB, Praying with Benedict
Terrence G. Kardong, OSB, Benedict's Rule - A Translation and Commentary
The Life of Benedict - Any of several versions
Lives and/or accounts of Christian monastics and solitaries
Thomas Merton, Praying the Psalms
Kathleen Norris,Oblate OSB The Cloister Walk
RB 1980 - The Rule of St. Benedict
Srs Schauble & Wojciak, A Reader's Version of the Rule of St. Benedict in Inclusive Language
Columba Stewart, OSB, Prayer and Community - The Benedictine Tradition
Judith Sutera, OSB, Work of God
Norvene Vest, Oblate OSB, Desiring Life
Norvene Vest, Oblate OSB, Friend Of The Soul
Norvene Vest, Oblate OSB, No Moment Too Small
Norvene Vest, Oblate OSB, Preferring Christ
Esther de Waal, A Life-Giving Way - A Commentary on the Rule of Saint Benedict
The Rule of St. Benedict will be read and re-read in several translations.

C. Work

--Work can be prayer. Far from destroying contemplation, activity can be a form of union with God. Self-forgetful service is, like prayer, a movement out of one's self toward the other, a moment of giving and loving.

--Specific ministries

Care, emotional and moral support of my mother
Christmas Arts Committe, All Soul's Episcopal Church, San Diego
Parish Libray, All Soul't Episcopal Church, San Diego
Prayer Shawl Ministry, All Soul's Episcopal Church, San Diego
Stitches From the Heart: knitting for infants and toddlers
in prayer about the ministry: Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
in prayer about the possibility of obtaining a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the University of San Diego

D. Recreation:

-Recognizing that wholeness and mental health require play, time is invested with my mother and friends knitting, playing games, going to the movies, science fiction on TV, reading and container gardening.

VI. Monastic Promises

A. Conversion of Life

--A commitment to conversion of life has at its heart the greatest commandment to love God above all things and beyond every person with everything that we are, and to love every human being as we love ourselves. The remaining two evangelical counsels, poverty and chastity are included here. Through conversion of life, Jesus calls me to walk lightly upon this earth, to cling to nothing except God and to hold everything, even the best of holy things, with a relaxed grip. The choice is not only to avoid evil and choose good, but also learn to choose which good from which good which can only be learned through instant recognition and responce to the still small voice of God in the midst of the whirlwind of this life. This can only be achieved through the action of the Holy Spirit.

--The Commandments and acts of mercy remind us that more than not doing evil, the true spiritual life depends on doing good for the other, whoever the other may be. God desires us to live in the midst of the human struggle with quiet spirits and an open hearts.

--Conversion of life includes the discovery and use of spiritual gifts. In addition to those gifts already known, the Lord will reveal additonal gifts and opportunities for service.

B. Stability

--Benedictine stability is a promise to meet life head on and deal directly with three things: centeredness; commitment and relationships. I begin to understand that God's cupped hands are my true home, my monastery, my hermitage.. Where I am, God is. Singleness of heart is to love one thing. Stability allows me to outlast the Insidious Dark until I can again see new life in that uninhabitable place. In the name of stability, I commit myself to the Episcopal paris of All Soul's, San Diego CA. I will preserve and persist in the way of the Lord until my life shall end.

C. Obedience

--Obedience lies in listening, laboring and knowing what is required. Listening to God, Scripture, the Prayerbook, priests and Bishop, spiritual director and community to increases a recognition of the will of God and the action of the Holy Spirit in both orthodoxy and orthopraxy. By recognizing these authorities, this evangelical counsel opens one to conversion of life to live out the Gospel. Specific forms of accountability include: monthly meetings with Christie Fleming, spiritual director and Ember Day reports to Christie and Father Russell.

D. Habit

--In embracing evangelical poverty, the habit releases us from worldly standards regarding appearance and I adopt for public use, a simple denim habit, jumper or pinafore style, worn with a tee shirt and footwear appropriate for the weather.

--Privately and for prayer, a simple tunic and scapular will be worn.

VII. Income:

Although set apart as a vocational contemplative with the Diocese of San Diego and the parish of all Soul's Episcopal Church, in no way will the Diocese or Parish be responsible for my support. My income is my Social Security benefits and from this I provide for food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses and tithe.

VIII. Medical Power of Attorney:

In the event that I become incapcitated and am unable to make medical decisions for myself, my mother, Anna Amalfitano, holds Medical Power of Attorney.

IX. Last Will and Testament

To be written during the novitiate

X. Death and Burial

Details to be worked out during the novitiate.

First Foray into Blogging

Since a number of people have prevailed upon me to start a blog, here it is. Such as it is. I am worried about the whole thing because I am not very savvy on these computer appliances!!

I want to apologize for calling myself a nun before I am actually a nun... which will be 11/2/2005. While it's true that I feel like one already and in my heart have devorted my life to the Lord, technically speaking, I am not yet a nun because I have made no vows. Except in my heart, mind and spirit. It's just that when I started this whole process, the system would not let me use Gloriamarie as my sign-in. Bummer. I am on a first name basis with the whole world after all, had hoped to be so with my blog.

Another thing I should admit to right up front, I can't type worth beans and I don't see a spell check anywhere!!! And if there was ever a person who needed spell check... ...