The Rule of the Third Order

Members of the world-wide Third Order, SSF are bound together by three major commitments:

  1. To Accept the Rule of the Order. This consists of the Principles, the Constitution and the Forms of Profession and Renewal for the Professed. Within this is the requirement as a Professed Tertiary to have a Spiritual Director for consultation
  2. To pray our Community Obedience each day which includes a prayer and a Principle for each day.
  3. To draw up and live by a Personal Rule of Life. This is carefully fitted to the circumstances of each Tertiary. It is the form under which we carry out our life-long vow to keep the Aims of the Order.

The Personal Rule of Life

The personal rule of life is drawn up under nine headings:

  1. The Eucharist. Tertiaries give a central place in their lives to the Eucharist, and pray for a deeper understanding of this Sacrament.
  2. Penitence. Tertiaries spend time each day looking at their life in the light of Christ’s teachings. They ask for forgiveness for their failings and guidance for the future.
  3. Personal Prayer. Each day, tertiaries look for opportunities to offer praise and prayer to God. They generally spend a continuous period each day in prayer or reflection.
  4. Self-denial. Tertiaries seek to live joyfully a life of simplicity, humble service and self discipline after the example of St Francis.
  5. Retreat. Tertiaries make a Retreat each year to allow God to develop their awareness of Him and His calling of them.
  6. Study. Tertiaries study to grow in the knowledge of God and His world. They look on such study as a way of making them better able to serve God.
  7. Simplicity. Tertiaries serve God in all they do and with all they possess. Like St Francis, they set aside the desire to acquire possessions or the good opinion of others for their own glory.
  8. Place in society; work; family. Tertiaries offer to God their place in society, their work and their duty to those to whom their lives are attached. They make God’s love known by word and deed
  9. Obedience. Tertiaries commit themselves in obedience to the Rule of the Third Order and to keep their Rule of Life. In so doing they are alert to the voice of the Spirit speaking inwardly and through their Spiritual Director and other people. They live in Christian Fellowship with their Franciscan brothers and sisters by attending Local Group and Area Meetings.