The Rule of the Society of St. Paul
Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, listen to what I have to tell you, as it is necessary to live by this rule to fulfill the mission of the Society of St. Paul and so be sanctified in Christ. Do not neglect any part of this rule; take this as a whole way of life centered on Christ. By living in Christ in this way, you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.[i] I urge you, for the salvation of the world, never to stop proclaiming the one true faith in Christ with your lives, dying to yourselves every day so that you will be raised with Him in glory. Resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified.[ii] Unite yourselves to him in the Eucharist and in prayer, so that you can say I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.[iii] Hold fast to the Truth that Holy Mother Church teaches and has taught for 2,000 years. Remember always that Jesus Christ is the Truth; He is Love incarnate. You must be in relationship with Him if you want to live in the Truth. Do and think all things with His love and in Him, and you will remain in the Truth and witness to it in the world. If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.[iv] Your mission is to call all people into faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, centered on the Eucharist. Do not worry how you are to accomplish all of this, for Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit, the Helper. He will give you the power of God to accomplish all things through Christ Jesus. Call always on our patrons, St. Paul and Bl. Pier Giorgio, for help to live in Christ in their spirit, for they are powerful intercessors. Call on Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, who gave us our savior, Jesus Christ, and she will help you. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.[v]
Here now is the Rule of the Society of St. Paul.
Being in Procession to the Cross
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.[vi] This is the great commandment of God to the Israelites. And from Jesus Christ we receive these words “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”[vii] His final commandment to His disciples is this, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” And how has Christ loved us but by dying on the cross for us? What was once hidden to the Israelites who were given the Old Law written in many words is laid bare for all to see in Jesus Christ on the Cross, the final and full revelation of God Himself to man; it is the saving love of God. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.[viii]
Brothers and sisters, we must always be in procession to the cross. It is our standard of life and salvation. Jesus tells us, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me.”[ix] Seeking to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might, keep the Word which he commands us this day, Jesus Christ, in your heart. Speak of Him to all, when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Fix His cross as an emblem on your forehead, and write it on the doorposts of your house and your gates. May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything. As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.[x] This is what it means to be going in procession to the cross. It is our single and solitary boast, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.[xi] We must do it this day because the resurrected Jesus Christ is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it[xii] and you are all children of the light and of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness[xiii] for the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.[xiv]