First, we take some time to come into the presence of God and to seek the help and guidance of Holy Spirit. It is good to read something like 1 Corinthians 2 to help us realize how completely dependent we are on the Holy Spirit in the discernment of questions that vitally effect our life and happiness as persons who have been baptized into Christ and share in his divine life and nature.

Then take four sheets of paper.

On the first sheet, seek to express as precisely and concisely as possible our goals in life, what we want to do with our lives, what we want to get out of life and put into it. This should be very realistic, listening deeply to our nature as man or woman, our Christ-nature, our vocation or charism, our gifts and talents. Satisfactorily responding to these, we have then to make what choices are necessary to concretize the goals of our journey so that we have something on which we can really set our sights.

On the second sheet of paper we seek to list as concisely, yet completely as possible, all that we need to do or acquire in order to attain our determined goals. We should be very concrete here, and practical. We should include the basic needs of our nature, such as sleep, food, friendship, work, study, etc., and the needs of our Christ-nature, such as the amount of prayer, sacred reading, etc., that we need to be satisfactorily responding to the Father; and then those things necessary to fulfill our vocation and all the other choices we have made.

As we come over to the third sheet, we should prayerfully look back over a significant period of time, a few months to a year or so. Perhaps this could be the time since our last retreat, or since our life took a significant turn through graduation or a new job or something of that sort. Looking at this period we should try to perceive and note all the things in our life: situations, events, activities, our own passions or emotions, etc., which have been hindering us from attaining our goals.

Finally, on the fourth sheet — and this might be the most difficult part of the exercise — we formulate for ourselves a Rule or Program of Life on a daily, weekly or monthly cycle. With this we seek to assure that there is place in our life for all those things we need to do to attain our goals and eliminate those things we experienced as obstacles. Since we cannot possibly fit into twenty-four hour days and seven day weeks all that we want to do, we will here have to make some difficult choices, giving up good things in order to pursue the things that we really want.

Important to a Rule of Life is a monthly retreat day, or some other regular periodical 'climbing up a high tree' to see where we are. This is important not only to see where we are actually following a rule of life. It is important so that we may experience, in a very conscious way that happiness that comes from knowing we are actually moving along toward the attainment of our goals.

Michael Moran, Ann Overton in As We Knew Him by Ann Overton, Michael Moran