An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Rule of Life

1) A set of guidelines and commitments directing one's life. The rule usually includes set times of daily prayer and meditation, study (such as reading the Bible), and acts of charity. It can also include regular attendance at the Holy Eucharist, making retreats, placing oneself under a spiritual director or confessor, and fasting or other acts of self denial. A rule may be worked out with a spiritual director, or one may follow a shortened or modified version of the rule of a particular religious order. Some people commit to a rule that is basically a resolve to live with a certain disposition of prayer, study, and charity. Participation in the Daily Office is at the heart of Anglican spirituality, and included in many rules of life. 2) The document in which a religious community has formulated its fundamental understanding of religious life. The early model was the Rule of St. Augustine, in which spiritual principles are accompanied by simple regulations. It inspired the more elaborate Rule of St. Benedict and other monastic rules. See Daily Office; see Monastic.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.