All Tertiaries are required to have a Rule of Life. As an enquirer starting your discernment process, you will be asked to prepare one. It is expected that your Rule will contain each of the following nine items. Depending on your life’s circumstances, some sections of the Rule will be more prominent than others.
A Guide to Preparing a Rule of Life
The Holy Eucharist
Since Tertiaries regard the Eucharist as the heart of their prayer they have a definite Rule regarding participation in the Eucharist.
Regular examination of your obedience to Christ is necessary. Your rule should allow for either Sacramental Confession or a personal discussion seeking counsel and advice.
You will be asked to set aside a definite time for prayer each day; to worship God, express your thankfulness, your sorrow for sin and your concern for others. The Third Order commits itself to a daily community obedience of prayer, which includes excerpts from the Third Order Rule, and prayers for Tertiaries and other Franciscans in this Province and around the world. Here are today’s Community Obedience prayers.
This is the discipline of saying no to oneself by putting God first. Often we know our particular weaknesses where we should impose some additional self-discipline. Your Spiritual Director’s advice should be sought on this matter.
A Retreat or Quiet Day provides an opportunity to rest and grow physically, mentally and spiritually. At least once a year you should plan to participate in an organized or a private Retreat.
We all need to learn more about God and his will for us. Study of the Scriptures, and of other books, is important to our Christian growth. Your Rule should make such provision for study as your circumstances permit
Simplicity of Life
Rightly understood, this is part of loving and sharing of the material as well as the spiritual things of life. In relation to the amount of income over which you have control your Rule should allow for the expression of this loving sharing (e.g. In hospitality, support of the Three Orders, your parish and the wider Church as well as other needs).
Service has always been an important part of the Franciscan vocation. Daily work should be the way in which Tertiaries serve God and other people. They should also be ready to take an active part in the life of the Church and the local community.
All Tertiaries are subject to the decisions of the Third Order Chapter. Every Tertiary has a Spiritual Director or guide whose duty it is to give advice and guidance in their Christian living. Personal contact with their Director should be made at least twice a year.
Tertiaries must also report regularly to the Order on the keeping of their Rule of Life.