I grew up in northeastern Massachusetts but have pretty much been away from that area since I was 18 years old. Whenever I go back to visit my dad or for some other reason I generally know where to go but often I have to ask how to get to a certain place or get some other clarification. It gets really bad when I have to ask something like “Is it Route 28 or Route 29 up here?” when I conflate different places where I have lived. I am getting that weird feeling now as I fire up the blog again. In recent years I have posted infrequently, but this year my blog truly went into “blog fade” as this is the first post I have done all year. Life is busy with church and the family and the doctoral program but really there is no excuse for not posting. Thankfully, Fr. Peck’s Preachers Institute is again doing the 40 day blogging challenge as we prepare for Christmas and I have again been accepted to be a part of it.
Today’s topic is rules and is two-fold – an outline of the rules of the exercise as well as a chance for us to blog about rules with some sort of spiritual angle. The rebel in me likes to think that flaunting rules is good but of course rules are there to provide structure as well as constraints on our more undesirable behavior. Rules and respect for them help society to flourish. There are many ways to consider rules in the context of our faith; I like the connection with structure. Prayer is crucial to Orthodoxy, of course, and a prayer rule helps us to pray regularly and with focus. Such a rule or structure guides us in praying on a regular basis as well as helping us center our requests, praise and thanksgiving. If prayer is a struggle or if you don’t really pray on a regular basis, consider coming up with some structure for prayer. Make a point to say the Our Father every night, cross yourself when you hear a siren, start praying before meals – whatever it may be, try it – you will not be disappointed.