home RULE FOR A NEW BROTHER



CONTENTS

1. SEEKING GOD | 2. FOLLOWING JESUS | 3. MEMBERS OF ONE BODY | 4. FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM | 5. CALLED TO FREEDOM | 6. THAT WE MIGHT BE RICH | 7. THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD | 8. PRAYER | 9. THE HARVEST IS GREAT | 10. THE BODY OF THE LORD | 11. THE SPIRITUAL LIFE | 12. MARY | 13. OF DAYS AND YEARS | 14. THE END AND THE BEGINNING | END


1 SEEKING GOD

God Brother, you want to seek God with all your life, and love Him with all your heart.

But you would be wrong if you thought you could reach Him. Your arms are too short, your eyes are too dim, your heart and understanding too small.

To seek God means first of all to let yourself be found by Him. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of Jesus Christ. He is your God, not because He is yours but because you are His.

To choose God is to realise that you are known and loved in a way surpassing anything men can imagine, I loved before anyone had thought of you or spoken your name.

To choose God means giving yourself up to Him in faith. Let your life be built on this faith as on an invisible foundation. Let yourself be carried by this faith like a child in its mother's womb.

And so, don't talk too much about God but live in the certainty that He has written your name on the palm of His hand. Live your human task in the liberating certainty that nothing in the world can separate you from God's love for you. In Jesus of Nazareth God shows in a special way how urgently He seeks for man, and how entirely He has committed Himself to man's happiness.

In Jesus of Nazareth a man shows how completely we can belong to God; how much freedom and humanity, how much courage and self-forgetfulness a man can possess when he has been found by God and has surrendered himself to Him.

In Jesus there is also a future for you as you go by His road through sin and death towards fellowship and love, unfailing glory and life.

In faith you will recognise Him in the works of His hands, and above all in men, men made in His image and likeness, and most clearly of all in the love which is Jesus.

But even if you receive no sign, no word from Him, you will still recognise Him. His very absence is full of the mystery of his greatness.

It can help you not to seek and serve some image of Him you yourself have created.

So never let yourself lose heart but go on seeking Him in everything, in everybody—they are all pledges that you will finally meet Him. Work hard to know Him face to face. For as sure as the dawn is His coming, certain as the latter rains.

If you abide in love you will abide in God and not wander anymore in darkness.

Then live in joyfulness and hope, unanxious, without any trace of fear, at peace with yourself and the world, in ceaseless revcrence and thanks. Because God's love for you endures for ever.

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2 FOLLOWING JESUS

Following Jesus does not mean slavishly copying His life. It means making His choice of life your own starting from your own potential and in the place where you find yourself. It means living for the values for which Jesus lived and died.

It means following the path He took and seeing things as He saw them.

If there is anything in which this life, this way, can be expressed, in which God has revealed Himself most clearly, it is the reality of love. You are someone only in as far as you are love, and only what has turned to love in your life will be preserved.

What love is you can learn from Jesus.

He is the one who has loved most. He will teach you to put the centre of yourself outside. For no man has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends. He will also teach you to be unlimited space for others, invitation and openness: 'Come to me, all who are weary and over-burdened and I will give you rest.'

So be converted to love every day. Change all your energies, all your potential, into selfless gifts for the other person. Then you yourself will be changed from within and through you God's Kingdom will break into the world.

You are called to follow Jesus closely. With Him you will take the road up to Jerusalem, the city of suffering and glorification. With Him you will give everything that the Kingdom may come.

On this road you are called to be least of all and not master, to carry other men's burdens and not lay your own on them, to give freedom instead of taking it, to grow poor in order to make others rich, to take the cross upon yourself thus bringing joy to other men, to die in order that others may live. This is the mystery of the gospel and there is no purpose in endless talk about it. Be silent—for it will be true and genuine only if you practise it.

So keep Jesus Christ before your eyes. Don't hesitate to go anywhere He leads you; don't stay where you are and don't look back, but look forward with eagerness to what lies ahead.

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3 MEMBERS OF ONE BODY

The community is the first place where you will make God's kingdom incarnate. It is one of the countless points where God's new people assemble in peace, in reconciliation, justice and joy, in praise of God and service to the world. A people whose King is the Lord.

Accept with gratitude the brothers God gives you to go with you on the way. Your task is to serve and upbuild one another as members of one body.

To the extent that you are filled with His Spirit and ready to die that others may live, to that extent will you grow in unity and reflect the face of Christ more and more clearly.

And to the extent that you are ready to die together that others may live will your community bear fruit for the coming of the Kingdom.

Then put aside all ambition, and no longer concentrate on yourself. Be constantly converted to your brothers and place yourself in God's hands.

Give instead of demanding, trust others instead of compelling their trust, serve instead of being served, bless instead of cursing. And be sure that when you have done all things well you will still be an unprofitable servant.

So be attentive to the others, not in order to dominate or exploit them but to work for their happiness discreetly and effectively and to build them up in all the riches of faith and love.

And you, accept from your brother the help you need.

Be thankful for the variety of gifts and difference of personality. When you put your own potential ind insights at the service of your brothers your unity will grow stronger and richer, and together you will create that spaciousness which finds room for everyone.

Pluriformity is not the end but the means to make unity more powerful and the individual bear more fruit.

Never be satisfied with what is imperfect yet also realise God is patient with us. Let progress and development be of such a sort that all can keep pace, and never refuse to set out together when in obedience to the gospel the community travels on to a new future.

Make the effort of listening to the other man and of understanding him. Give your opinion when it is useful without false humility or assertiveness. Speak in such a way that you can still hear what the other is saying, and that he will still be ready to hear you. Whether you speak or keep silent let it proceed from the peace of the Lord.

Take no vengeance, not even in thought. Avoid every tendency to depression and sadness—it is death to your soul. Look for the light in all things and all people. Your night will be made radiant by numberless stars till the moment when the Sun of Justice rises in your heart, and that morning begins which knows no ending.

Your faith and love must be constantly renewed; your weakness and faults constantly corrected. Don't be afraid to open yourself to your brothers. Choose from among them a sure and skilful guide who will help you advance in the way of the Lord.

Never disappoint the trust another man puts in you. Be warm and merciful and let none go from you empty-handed. The least you can offer is your time and patience, tout affection and your prayer.

The quality of your community does not depend on age or numbers. The only thing that counts and will bring you a blessing is that you should be always seeking each other in the Spirit of Jesus. From Him alone comes salvation.

Have great respect for the seniors in the community. Don't distress them by your talk or behaviour. Be gentle towards their weakness and incapacities— you are building on what they began.

Every body must have a head, every circle a centre. Joyfully, then, accept the man who fulfils this special service. More than anyone else he needs your support and mercy. Let him be for you as a presence of the Lord, not because of his human qualities and leadership, but for the sake of his special calling and grace.

Everything in your life can have love as its motive, its end. The vows by which you bind yourself are precisely your own way of embodying your love for God and man.

The more you grow in love, the more clearly you will understand what the vows demand; and the more seriously you live your the more you will grow in love.

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4 FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM

Your vow to remain unmarried for the sake of God's Kingdom will draw you into the loneliness of the cross of Jesus and reveal the basic loneliness of every man. At the same time it invites you to build up a fellowship with Him and to establish the kingdom of love among men.

By not marrying you put an end to the, cycte of procreation and death. You are beginning a new kind of existence in the incorruptibility of a new-born generation, and the unimagined fruitfulness of the Kingdom of God.

To be unmarried does not mean for you the renouncing of love, contempt for the body or fear of marriage. No,— it is the bringing of your potential for love into the new and unlimited fruitfulness of the Kingdom.

So you are called to be a witness to love, and its begetter, an encouragement to all who are seeking love's genuine image.

So you will also be a protest against the narrow view which identifies love with sex.

You will be able to do this only if your deepest self is anchored in God, as Jesus Himself bore witness: I and the Father are one. In Him you will find a love which surpasses all human imaginings.

You will also have to be a community man. Make sure you don't grow isolated from your brothers on the human level. Open yourself to the joys of life together as brothers; foster a mature development of your feelings, and a human warmth in your life.

Always be the first to love and be faithful to that love even if you get no answer. Don't make conditions. Be thankful and praise God when you realise you are loved.

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5 CALLED TO FREEDOM

Following Jesus demands of you in the first place obedience to His Gospel.

You must place yourself, alone and in community, under the scrutiny of this Word, and always be determining your conduct by Then you will find the truth to free you most radically, and a solidarity to make your community a living gift to others.

Obedience also demands of you that you listen to the other person; not only to what he is saying but to what he is.

Then you will begin to live in such a way that you neither crush nor dominate nor entangle your brother but help him to be himself and lead him to freedom.

Christ was thus obedient unto death so that we might be free men. He was the least among the dead that we might have life.

Don't be afraid then that your obedience to the Gospel, your listening to others, will impoverish your personality or decrease your responsibility. It summons you rather to live out your responsibility in your encounter with others.

Never make the mistake of thinking you can gain your freedom by your own exertions. It is something which you give to others and which you receive yourself from them.

No laws, no rules, no therapy, no discussions are capable of setting our communities in order and making them fruitful if the Spirit of Jesus is not master there.

In the community there will be someone who exercises the service of authority. His first task is to foster unity among you and make the community grow in faithfulness to its vocation. His authority builds up the community, but at the same time he has authority only in so far as you are ready to obey him.

For the full development of each one's potentialities a flexible yet definite structure is needed to maintain the space for living together. You can't have a body without a skeleton, or a river without banks to guide its stream. Keep wholeheartedly to the arrangements that have been agreed: then people will never rely on you in vain and you will be able to put all your trust in others.

In obedience to each other and to the Gospel you will discover the interior freedom that makes you capable of comprehending the world's needs— without identifying in a shallow way with special groups and causes— and of entering into them yourself.

Man's freedom is being threatened more than ever. Set yourself against everything that oppresses man. Free yourself from a world that seeks only pleasures and possessions and bring others to share your freedom. Set yourself against everything that makes men slaves politically, economically, socially. You have nothing to lose.

No doubt you will have noticed that man's fundamental bondage is to sin, to his short-sighted attachment to himself.

Through your radical surrender to God you will be freed from this and become a deliverer of other men, a breath of fresh air for those you meet, a servant of all, a source of life, expectation and hope.

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6 THAT WE MIGHT BE RICH

You are ready to put all you have at the service of others. You seek poverty not for its own sake, nor from contempt or fear for the good things God gives you, but because you want to contribute something to alleviate the world's poverty, to make even your own possessions available.

Remember the words of Paul: 'You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.'

The community is the place where you daily share riches and poverty, energy and weakness, joy and sorrow, success and failure, your hope and your doubt. In this kind of community can grow something of Christ's bond with His Father: 'All that I have is yours, all that you have is mine.'

Live like a poor man without parading your poverty. Stand by the poor wherever they live and work. Your first love must go out to the least of men. Don't tie yourself down to the rich or powerful of the world. Get rid of the inclination to court the great and influential. Otherwise you would deform the image of the Church.

Put your trust in God, wait for His mercy and for all that you need. Above all, take Jesus as your riches, the pearl for which you will give everything, your treasure in heaven.

Don't be romantic about this; take your part in the simple struggle for a living, but without attaching your heart to what you earn by it. In this way you will be able to help many people and at the same time be a condemnation of every form of materialism or snobbery.

Don't suppose poverty consists only in big things. Keep clear of all competitiveness and envy; treat with care the things we possess in common. Be sober and restrained, and don't wait till you are asked outright before giving anything. But don't suppose poverty consists only in little things. Share with the whole world. A generous contribution to relieve poverty is better than a little gift; and an intelligent and effective effort to fight the causes of poverty is better than almsgiving.

Keep in mind also how much you lack yourself; be aware of your own poverty and dare to hold out your hands to receive from others and to learn from them.

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7 THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

By the grace of God you have been called to a life in which everything is inspired by the sacrament of the Eucharist. You must grow in daily knowledge of this mystery, and in a greater love for the Lord who gives Himself in it.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the centre of your life. It is the highest expression and the strongest support of your life in community. It is the beginning and end of your actions; the source and consummation of your service to God.

When you celebrate the memorial of Christ give thanks to God for His countless benefits. Never tire of praising Him one in heart and voice with your brothers, and united with Christ, the sacrifice of praise. Renew yourself in the spirit of love and unity because you are sharing with your brothers the same bread, the same cup.

The celebration of the Eucharist would be nothing but a romantic or aesthetic sensation should you forget that the heart of it is the self-giving of Jesus. The sacrifice of yourself for the sake of the others is the single foundation of every community. Unite yourself with the Lord, then, in a fruitful and acceptable offering for the life of the world.

Each day you are nourished at the Lord's table and filled with His riches.

So be ready to break the bread of your life for the poor and hungry everywhere in the world. Keep nothing for yourself but share with the others all you have received from God's tenderness.

In the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing Christ's presence is revealed at its most intense. Let your life be permeated with a tremendous reverence towards this mystery of faith. Your adoration needs no justification more than your love and wonder for the infinite, delicate grandeur of God, the unfathomable depths of Christ's gift. Let His praise not depart from your lips.

Life drawn from the Eucharist makes all kinds of demands on you to proclaim the meaning and greatness of this mystery.

You are called especially to give the sacrament its full effect in unity, brotherhood and service. The unity of all Christians and all men must be closest to your heart. Always and everywhere you are called to rise above oppositions and divisions in the universal love of Christ. Always look for what unites and fight everything that estranges and separates men from each other.

Your calling gives you the privilege of living the eucharistic mystery to the So reject nothing which the Church enjoins on your faith, and accept nothing that might obscure the full meaning of this sacrament.

To Christ the Lord who dwells ever present in His gifts you can bring your life's adoration.

Your whole life must be worship in spirit and truth, your whole existence a celebration and adoration of the presence of God. Your life is to be poured out in prayer and adoration before the Eucharist, and there it will be inspired afresh. In this way give glory to the Father through Him, in Him and with Him.

The Eucharist sets you on the way of Christ. It takes you into his redeeming death and gives you a share in the most radical deliverance possible. And already the light of the resurrection, the new creation, is streaming through it from beyond. Whenever you sit at table with the risen Lord, it is the first day of the week, very early in the morning.

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8 PRAYER

The Lord Jesus Himself will teach you how you should pray. He is the creative Word which you may receive in the silence of your heart and the fruitful soil of your life. Listen attentively to what He will say; be swift to carry out what He will ask of youl. You have been promised His Spirit who will bear your poor little efforts before the throne of grace and into the intimacy of the living God.

Your prayer is therefore not so much a duty as a privilege; a gift rather than a problem or the result of your own efforts.

So don't tire yourself out looking for beautiful thoughts or words, but stay attentive before God in humility and expectation, in desire and purity of heart, full of joy and hope. Your prayer will take countless forms because it is the echo of your life, and a reflection of the inexhaustible light in which God dwells.

Sometimes you will taste and see how good the Lord is. Be glad then, and give Him all honour, because His goodness to you has no measure. Sometimes you will be dry and joyless like parched land or an empty well. But your thirst and helplessness will be your best prayer if you accept them with patience and embrace them lovingly.

Sometimes your prayer will be an experience of the infinite distance that separates you from God; sometimes your being and His fullness will flow into each other.

Sometimes you will be able to pray only with your body and hands and eyes; sometimes your prayer will move beyond words and images; sometimes you will be able to leave everything behind you to concentrate on God and His Word. Sometimes you will be able to do nothing else but take your whole life and everything in you and bring them before God. Every hour has its own possibilities of genuine prayer.

Don't be afraid to set apart a considerable time for your prayer every day. It is your vocation. Your zeal for the Kingdom of God and your availibility for all your brothers will grow all the greater for it. Remember that prayer is more powerful than anything you can achieve by your actions.

And the Lord says there are evils that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.

So set yourself again and again on the way of prayer. Never wait till you feel the need for it. Often enough, if you only make a new start, God will bring it to a good end. Make use of a method when you need it. Learn from your brothers and study how the saints of God have prayed.

As you pray in community you will discover the wide horizon of each prayer. Rejoice to meet your brothers in the presence of the Lord, and to look with them to the Father of all light.

Let yourself be carried by the rhythm of prayer in the peace and joy of a new world. Let yourself be healed of the wounds you suffer every day by the saving praise of God.

Let yourself be renewed in your faith, hope and love by the Word that comes to you. Don't let yourself be distracted by accidentals. Try to understand God's Word even in the mouth of a bad reader. Don't be irritated by the brother who sings off-key. The forms are only important to the extent that you know how to see through them.

Don't pray so that the world may admire you, nor to draw men's eyes. Pray so that God may be glorified and His name praised. Unite yourself with the unceasing prayer of the Church on earth and in heaven. Know that through your mouth and heart all of creation is proclaiming the glory of God and groaning for its redemption in the Lord.

In this way your life will be fed with prayer and full of this search for God. You will be able to give without counting the and accomplish God's will every day. You will dedicate yourself heart and soul to the battle against the powers of evil and you will work with joy and indestructible hope for the new humanity for which Jesus gave His life and blood. Prayer and work are not whole without each other.

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9 THE HARVEST IS GREAT

Your first task is to co-operate in the building of a brotherly community. This is the condition and effect of what we celebrate in the Eucharist. In your community begins the reality of the new humanity in which the complex fragmentation of our human existence and society of life is healed and sanctified.

Your community does not exist for itself. If it is truly evangelical it will guide you and free you to serve the people of God. It is itself an active element in realising the Kingdom.

God will urge you to go out from the community to give form to His message of reconciliation and unity among men. Through the suffering and joy of all whom you will encounter you will let all your daily experience reverberate through your prayer, alone and with your brothers.

You have been called to be in the world without being of the world. If the salt loses its savour it is good for nothing. Therefore don't reject the world and don't cut yourself off from people, but love them as Jesus, the Redeemer, did.

But where the world is nothing but the pride of life, lust of the eyes, and desire of the flesh, then flight alone is proper. If you were to value this world you could not be God's friend.

Your only ambition must be to proclaim in word and deed Christ's gospel of freedom, justice and love. For this use the most effective means without supposing that they can replace God's grace.

You are free to do the work you want to do. You can live as a religious and be a witness to the Lord in every kind of work. Discover for yourself what seems the most fruitful field for you. Be enterprising and creative. God blesses the risks undertaken for His sake.

When you choose your work be influenced by its consequences for your life in community and by the needs of the local church. Preferably look for work that you can do to the greatest benefit of the community and in which it can support you most effectively.

Therefore always consult others. You will thus prevent unnecessary conflicts and avoid seeking yourself or losing sight of your goal.

You are never alone in your work. You can profit by the insights, knowledge, experience and contacts of your brothers. Be involved yourself with the whole group and take interest in the work of others; offer them your help where you can.

The love of Christ will not let you rest. Your work is no escape into activity, but a sharing in the upbuilding of the body of Christ. You can do this only on the basis of an intimate union with Him in purity of heart and selflessness.

It is not necessary to do your work within a tight schedule or the structure of a labour contract.

The community gives you the precious possibility of committing yourself freely, and developing your own initiatives for the good of God's Kingdom. If you think you are called to the diaconate or priesthood you are striving for something good. See it as a high election, a responsible mission. It will be your task to lead and instruct your people in the name of the Lord, to sanctify and upbuild them in the Spirit. This demands an obedient union with the bishop and a collegial union with the other priests.

If you are called to the diaconate or priesthood, it will mean a new call to holiness and love for the Lord and His people.

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10 THE BODY OF THE LORD

The way of Jesus leads to communion with all people. His enduring presence in the Church is the foundation of a profound brotherhood in the world just as God desires it.

Love the Church as the Lord Himself. Though she is burdened with the weakness and sinfulness of a long history she is still the instrument of His Kingdom, His work of salvation for the world, the germ of a new creation.

Show solidarity with all your brothers and sisters in the faith. One baptism and the same Eucharist are the visible signs of your unity.

Be specially mindful of those who are being persecuted by the world for the sake of faith and righteousness.

Your love for the Church will also be expressed in a union of faith with the Holy Father. He fulfils a mission of unifying and upbuilding for the whole Church. Every fracture in the body means a mutual impoverishment, and conflicts with the will of the Lord.

If you love the Church have a profound respect for her institutions and mission. Whatever is impure and useless in her must be healed, not attacked, and purified in suffering rather than criticised.

Give yourself time to discover this Church as a marvellously deep mystery of fellowship in faith, hope and love, transcending all barriers of time and space. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, she makes you members of the household of all God's saints.

The Church comes into being in the community where you live, not so much in her official structures as in her essential form of brotherhood and new creation. Remember then that your community must before all else be one and holy, catholic and apostolic. In this way you will live the mystery of the Church in the place where you are.

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11 THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

Spiritual life is life drawn from the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead and turns the whole world into a new creation.

The Spirit within you will bear fruit of simplicity and goodness, modesty and joy, sobriety and gentleness. He will give you interior freedom and bring your love to perfection. He will make you into a new man.

So don't carry on a futile battle against yourself, don't divide yourself into good and evil. Resist the temptation to analyse yourself— turn your attention to the Lord instead, and be deeply receptive. Accept yourself in His light and concentrate on the mission you have to accomplish.

God's Spirit will bring you to simplicity in an undivided dedication to Him and to your fellowmen. He gives you no programme but the chance of turning yourself towards love hour by hour. And so spiritual life is not a burden but a liberating vocation. It is much more a matter of simplifying than of complicated methods and extraordinary performances.

In special cases it can be good to impose some specific discipline on yourself. Your daily life among your brethren and others in service, openness and fidelity is the usual form of ascesis, which is both effective and enough.

Every day look at the way you are living in the light of God's Word. Let it warm you when you are cold, encourage you when you are disappointed. You must not only be a hearer of the Word— you must also bring it to fulfilment. Happy are you if you meditate upon it daily in your heart: you will be like a tree by the running water, whose branches will stay fresh and green, and they will keep bringing forth new fruit.

Spiritual life will develop only in a climate of silence. Bring the warring voices within you to stillness. Create an atmosphere of tranquillity and silence with your brothers, and so help each other to remain concentrated on the presence of God. It is also a sign of respect for your brothers who are studying, praying or resting.

You will surely have realised that you cannot become a spiritual person without an interior discipline in your dealings with the world. Don't let yourself be trapped into the unrest that comes from excessive talking and gossiping.

Be discerning in your choice of what the television, radio and papers offer-you. Without a personal control on your imagination and emotions you will undermine your spiritual strength and lessen your chances of genuinely meeting and loving one another.

You will find a source of wisdom and spiritual joy in the feasts of the Church. The year is crowned with the signs of God's goodness. If you celebrate these feasts with the Church then your own life and suffering, your enthusiasm and work, your dying and rising and your waiting for the Lord will receive significance and impact.

Never be misled by the thought that after failing and sinning there can be no forgiveness. Look critically at your own shortcomings, but be sure that with the Lord there is always abundance of redemption.

Your spiritual life must be mobile; travel from oasis to oasis. Yet the Lord can prepare a table even in the desert, and in the furnace of trial He will be coolness and refreshment.

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12 MARY

Mary will have her own place in your life. You cannot separate her from the Lord who chose her as His mother and His bride.

She is the selfless space where God became man; she is the silence in which God's Word can be heard.

She is the free woman, subject to none, not even to the powers of evil.

She is the image of the Church. Her self-effacing service will guide you to the Lord. Her faith and fidelity are a model for your life.

She has trodden all the paths of our human existence; she has gone through darkness and suffering, through the abyss of loneliness and pain.

She is the little creature through whom God's grandeur shines out; she is the poor one filled with divine riches. She is wholly grace, and grace for you.

Then take your part joyfully in the prophecy of scripture: 'Behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.'

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13 OF DAYS AND YEARS

Your life unfolds in a continuous succession of experiences and expectations. No two days are the same, no year leaves you unaltered.

Every day has enough trouble of its own. When you go to sleep, bury all that has happened in the mercy of God. It will be safe there. Stand back from what has happened, and be grateful for it all.

When the day begins be sure that you yourself can be as new and pure as the new light. It is like a resurrection. The first hour is the most important of the day. Don't yield to laziness, but greet with joy the new opportunities God offers you.

Even in the complicated world of today try to keep close to a natural rhythm of life. Meals taken together should be moments of rest in your day. See your encounters with others as high peaks in your life, and upbuilding.

The evenings are particularly suited for talking and companionship, joy and relaxation. But here too the more you give the more you will receive. Be careful not to prolong your evenings indefinitely. In the long run it will produce nothing good. If you are visiting friends, don't keep them away from their rest but know how to end your visit at a decent hour.

Your way through life will not remain the same.

There are years of happiness and years of suffering. There are years of abundance, and years of poverty, years of hope, and of disappointment, of building up, and of breaking down. But God has a firm hold on you through everything.

There are years of strength and years of weakness, years of certainty, years of doubt. It is all part of life, and it is worth the effort to live it to the end and not give up before it is accomplished.

You need never stop growing. A new future is always possible. Even on the other side of death a new existence waits for you in the fulness of that glory which God has prepared for you from the beginning.

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14 THE END AND THE BEGINNING

This rule is not meant to be a burden for you. Nor does it pretend to be complete. It should help you discover and experience how great is the freedom to which you are called, and how great the responsibility which you may take upon yourself. Be so faithful to this rule today that you can be faithful again tomorrow.

Set out on the road together with your brothers, together with the numberless people of God, all pilgrims travelling to the Father's house. Go on your way singing, a song of hope on your lips and your heart burning within you. Now we have the alleluias of the journey, soon there will be the alleluias of consummation, of the great sabbath with God.

Now you are being sown in the darkness of the earth; when that day comes, you will bloom in the light and warmth of God's eternity.

Set out on the road, brother, and peace be with you for ever.

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We are all members of some community. New brothers, and new sisters join our community from time to time. This 'Rule' was written for a 'religious' community, the kind of community traditional in the Church. But its message is also for ordinary men and women, young and old in society. It speaks of the simple ways, the virtues human or heroic needed to enable us to live with one another. It teaches us to give and to receive. So this Rule may speak to you for it is loving and reasonable, humane and Christian. As a reviewer of the original Dutch edition wrote: '! do not hesitate to put it in the same class as the Rule of the Brothers of Taize.'


ISBN 0 232 51220 5 95p net | Darton Longman & Todd | top