He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Mt 13:33)
Through the above Scripture passage our Lord is telling us that our faith is not meant to be separate from our lives, nor just “mixed in”, but that our faith should be the active ingredient of our lives. The yeast is what causes the bread to rise. In the same way, our faith must raise up every aspect of our lives—the ordinary becomes extraordinary when faith is the driving force behind all our actions.
So should it also be with our Rule. We have probably heard it said in the BSP* that our Rule is not the object—growth in holiness is the object. The Rule is a means to the ultimate end of holiness. It is the leaven that turns the extraordinary ingredients of our lives into the bread of extraordinary holiness.
In the diary of St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, she relates what Jesus told her about the true value of living a Rule of life. Section 189 states:
“On one occasion, Jesus gave me to know how pleasing to Him is the soul that faithfully keeps the rule. A soul will receive a greater reward for observing the rule than for penances and great mortifications. The latter will be rewarded also if they are undertaken over and above the rule, but they will not surpass the rule.”
This is an amazing statement. We may feel that the mortifications of the Rule are what our Lord values the most because we feel most deprived through those sacrifices. But we learn here that it is the day-to-day obedience to a Rule of life, the daily dying to self, that gives true value to our sacrifices. The Rule in its entirety, lived daily, is what lifts up our sacrifices to God.
The Rule may also be compared to the charcoal that is lit so that the incense may be burned and ascend into heaven. Without the charcoal, the incense goes nowhere. The Rule gives what we offer a great boost into the heavenly court.
To use another analogy, the Rule lays down the track so the train cars of our offerings may reach their destination.
Perhaps this is why our Lord made this remarkable statement to St. Faustina. A Rule of life can become tiresome. By definition it varies little from day to day, year to year. Familiarity with it may tempt us to dismiss it. We may become sloppy, and begin scanning the horizon for the next new thing.
But in an approved Rule of life the track has been laid and the destination is sure. The coal for the incense is always burning and ready for our sacrifices. The yeast has been tested. It will not fail.
Persistence in living a Rule is well worth the effort; the fruits are many, in us, through us, and around us. May our Lord grant us the grace of persistence so that our leaven will not fail and at the end of our days we may present him with a fragrant golden loaf of holiness.