Across the church, there are numerous ways to enhance our discipleship and our spiritual practices and disciplines. Many of which come from the older monastic traditions of the middle ages, and many are newer sources that can help create a firm foundation for our Christian faith. Below are several ways in which people can consolidate their faith to help them face the rigours of life following the Way of Christ.
One form of Christian Discipleship training which has been around for more than 60 years, in the London Diocese, is the Cursillo course. Cursillo takes its name from the Spanish word for a “short course” – the “short course in Christian living”. It offers three-day Weekends and follow-up meetings to inspire, support and encourage lay people and clergy in Christ-centred living.
Cursillo is about personal and community transformation, as Christians are challenged to open themselves to God and allow the Holy Spirit to change them and the communities in which they come into contact. The course encourages spiritual direction and a ‘Rule of Life’, and uses the model of ‘Prayer’, ‘Study’ and ‘Action’ to help Christians to grow in their faith and to be more confident in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Find out more on the Diocese of London Cursillo website.
The Rule of St Benedict by Benedict of Nursia influenced many religious communities since the 6th Century. The rule is a book of precepts written for monks living in community under the authority of an abbot. During the 1500 years of its existence, it has become the leading guide in Western Christianity for living in community, in all traditions of the church.
Beyond its religious influences, the Rule is important to the shaping of Western society, embodying, as it does, the idea of a written constitution, authority limited by law and under the law, and the right of the ruled to review the legality of the actions of their rulers.
The rule can be summed up in a number of ways, but with the following guiding principles, we can apply them to our everyday lives, leading to a better community life.
Awareness of God
Being in Right Relationship
Commitment to Growth
Lectio divina / Listening to God’s Word in Scripture
Liturgical prayer / Liturgy of the Hours
Moderation in All Things
Obedient Listening to God, Self, Others
Franciscan spiritual practices
The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant Christian religious orders, and are found in Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic denominations. Founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi, these orders adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary.
From 1207, Francis set up three orders. The First Order, for men living in community; the Second Order, most commonly called Poor Clares, consists of religious sisters; and the Third Order, for men, and women who live a secular life, but try to live the ideals of the movement in their daily lives outside of religious set ups.
Franciscans do not believe in living lavishly while others live in poverty, and the three orders seek to minister to the marginalised right where they are, and they use the Franciscan values of service, humility, peacemaking, contemplation, and collegiality.
The Rule of Saint Francis calls for members to practice simple living and detachment from material possessions in emulation of Jesus’ life and earthly ministry. Franciscan spirituality also strongly emphasizes working to preserve the Church, and remain loyal to it. More information can be found on the Anglican Society of St Francis website, with details of the two houses in London.
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