notre dame montreal

Advent Sermon on the rules for life by The Reverend Neil Bramble-Chapman 2003

All age worship talk 07/12/03

Generally - we live by rules and regs. Whether you walked to Church or came by car, esp. if came by car, you will have followed the rules of the Highway code - hopefully!


Play games - football, cricket, rugby etc. all have rules to follow. If you do not follow rules, can’t play game properly. Some rules are easier to understand than others like in soccer, Off-side can be hard to interpret.


Robot Wars - Sir Killalot. 4 rules used to determine who has one if a match is drawn. Damage, control, style and aggression.


Monastic life - basic rules to govern their lives still used today, Rule of St. Benedict. In AD 525 he founded first Monastery and formulated a set of Rules to regulate monastic life.

Centres on Humility and Obedience to God

Provides a way of living together as a Christian Community

Presided over by Abbot, helped by Priors, Master of Novices, Almoner, Guest Master, Infirmerer, Cantor, Cellerer, Chamberlain, Sacrist and other lay-brothers and servants.

Had a strict timetable for worship, Matins at 2am through to Compline at 8pm and then bed. 8 services in total, interspersed with manual work and reading.

2 meals a day at most

even rules about Baths 5 per monk per year, dressing, sleeping, and using the Necessarium!

punishments for being late for prayers or stumbling over the recitation of a Psalm.


In Ch 7 of the Rule, - Benedict sets out the 12 degrees of the ladder to heaven.

Fear of God

Repression of self-will

submission of will to superiors

obedience in hard and difficult matters

confession of faults

acknowledge one’s worthlessness

preference of others to self

avoidance of singularity

speaking only in due season

stifling of undue laughter

repression of pride

exterior humility


Ch 4 - contains rules of good works to perform, starting with the 10 commandments, visiting the sick, not to be a murmerer, put trust in God, honour the aged and never despair of God’s mercy.


Our lives - set me thinking about whether we have a rule of life which we follow. Malachi in today’s reading suggests that we need to reform our lives and give Honour to God in the daily living of our lives. We need a rule of life to enable us to do this. What might help us?

the Bible offers us a guide and the Teachings of Jesus give us specific ideas about how we should live and relate with one another, love and compassion towards others.

Golden Rule "Act to others as you would have them act to you".

Rule of St. Benedict - focus on reading of the Bible, humility, putting others first, obedience to God, good works.


Finally - Use season of Advent as a time of preparation to reflect upon the rule of life you live by, think about what you might change or improve. Maybe if you have a Rule which works for you, you could suggest it to the rest of us.