top of page

OMC Rule of Life


The Prayer of St. Columba


Let me bless Almighty God

Whose power extends over sea and land,

Whose angels watch over all.


Let me study sacred books to calm my soul:

I pray for peace,

Kneeling at heaven’s gates.


Let me do my daily work

Gathering seaweed, catching fish,

Giving food to the poor.


Let me say my daily prayers,

Sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet,

Always thanking God.


Delightful it is to live

On a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell,

Serving the King of kings.


In Iona of my heart,

Iona of my love,

Instead of monks’ voices

Shall be the lowing of cows;

But ere the world shall

Come to an end,

Iona shall be as it was.


The Rule of St. Columba

Adapted for the OMC

Be alone in a separate place near a chief city, if thy conscience is not prepared to be in common with the crowd.

 Whether in a city or not, choose a solitary place, physical or mental and pray.  Do not neglect the masses.  Serve them with corporeal and spiritual works of mercy.

•Be always naked in imitation of Christ and the Evangelists.

In total humility imitate Christ as you proclaim the Good News of God’s Love which is our salvation from our self-centeredness.

Whatsoever little or much thou possessest of anything, whether clothing, or food, or drink, let it be at the command of the senior and at his disposal, for it is not befitting a religious to have any distinction of property with his own free brother.

Look upon all possessions as loans from God and let them be used for the honor and glory of God and at the service of Charity.

Let a fast place, with one door, enclose thee.

Whether you live in common or alone, let it be holy ground which is secure, enabling you to live this life enclosed in the Love of God.

A few religious men to converse with thee of God and his Testament; to visit thee on days of solemnity; to strengthen thee in the Testaments of God, and the narratives of the Scriptures.

Find spiritual communion with those in the Order and with holy Christians who seek union with God.  Join with the community of merciful Christian Sisters and Brothers on holy feasts and whenever possible for prayer and celebration.  Share the Faith you have with others.  Build one another up in Faith, Hope and Charity and in Poverty of spirit, Purity of heart, and Obedience to God through the lessons in Sacred Scripture.

A person too who would talk with thee in idle words, or of the world; or who murmurs at what he cannot remedy or prevent, but who would distress thee more should he be a tattler between friends and foes, thou shalt not admit him to thee, but at once give him thy benediction should he deserve it.

Be aware of any person or group who by any lack of Charity in word or deed would worry you needlessly or would draw you into sin.  Stay clear of such persons, except if they seek spiritual renewal and blessing.

Let thy servant be a discreet, religious, not tale-telling man, who is to attend continually on thee, with moderate labour of course, but always ready.

If you are placed in authority over another, whether those in your employ or in business choose them wisely, seek persons who are trustworthy and if possible spiritual, and honest in their service.  Treat all under your authority with Charity.

Yield submission to every rule that is of devotion.

Submit your body, mind and spirit to Charity.

A mind prepared for red martyrdom [that is death for the faith].

Do not hesitate to sacrifice your own comfort and security and even your life for the sake of your Faith, which is in Christ Jesus.

A mind fortified and steadfast for white martyrdom. [that is ascetic practices]  Forgiveness from the heart of every one.

White martyrdom bids you to die to yourself and your greed and your self-centeredness out of love of God and neighbor.  Practice that self-discipline which enables and enhances your spiritual life and the apostolic works which flow from your love.  This rule forbids self-mortification which does no honor to God or which disrespects the sanctity of your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Always forgive in the spirit of seventy times seven, reflecting God’s Love to all.

Constant prayers for those who trouble thee.

Love your enemy, do good to those who persecute you.  Pray for their conversion to that peace which flows from Charity.

Each day pray the Liturgy of the Hours consisting in psalms and readings from Scripture and prayers.  Pray for the Church, the members of the Order and their work and for the world.

Commit yourself to contemplative prayer that you might find union with God and strength to serve God by love of all creation.

Fervour in singing the office for the dead, as if every faithful dead was a particular friend of thine.

Never forget the Communion of Saints.  In union with God’s Mercy, pray for those who have not found eternal peace.  Pray too for those who live in the reflection of spiritual death which is the evil deeds of this world.

Hymns for souls to be sung standing.

Do so as a symbolic gesture of respect.

The ancient Celtic feast of Samhain, celebrated as All Saints and All Souls Days is to be celebrated for a two week period from the Holy Eve on October 31st to sunset of November 14th.  This will be a time of conscious fervent prayer for all those before us who have died, celebrating those who have died in Christ and praying for those who are in need of prayer.  It will also be a period of prayer for those in this life at risk of dying without first making peace with God’s Love.

Let thy vigils be constant from eve to eve, under the direction of another person.

“Be watchful and waiting for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion waiting to devour you.” 

While on this earthly journey be constantly aware of your spiritual life and its outward expression in Charity and Mercy.  For the sake of your humility and honesty before God and yourself, entrust your heart and soul to the loving friendship of your anamchara.


Three labours in the day, viz., prayers, work, and reading.

Work and reading are to include continuous commitment to study in the quest for knowledge which culminates in Charity, from which flows the Mercy of Christ.

The work to be divided into three parts, viz., thine own work, and the work of thy place, that work which is required for the care of your home and family and that work required by your employment or career, as regards its real wants; secondly, thy share of the brethren's [work] that is your share in the work within the Order and as part of the Order for its welfare; lastly, to help the neighbours, viz., by instruction or writing, or sewing garments, or whatever labour they may be in want of, those works of Mercy which the Order embraces for the spiritual and temporal care of souls, ut Dominus ait, "Non apparebis ante Me vacuus [as the Lord says, "You shall not appear before me empty."].

Everything in its proper order; Nemo enim coronabitur nisi qui legitime certaverit. [For no one is crowned except he who has striven lawfully.]

 "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.”

During this earthly journey the Order respects the social civil laws and obligations, unless they are in opposition to God’s.

In all things place God’s Will first.  God is Love and God’s Will reflects that.

Follow alms-giving before all things.

“There are but three things that last, Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is Love.”  Above all else choose Charity.  It is better to err on the side of Charity, perhaps being duped by worldly standards, than to neglect Charity out of fear or over-cautious or cynical judgments.  Treat all as you would treat Jesus and you will not err.

Take not of food till thou art hungry.

Nor take of anything which is not needed for your physical, mental or spiritual welfare.

Sleep not till thou feelest desire.

Use all your energy for the love of God and neighbor.

Speak not except on business.

Let your tongue be used only for your work which is always that Mercy which flows from Charity and the Love which praises God in speech and prayer.  Make all speech reflect this, your business.

Every increase which comes to thee in lawful meals, or in wearing apparel, give it for pity to the brethren that want it, or to the poor in like manner.

And give for pity not only that which is extra, but that which is given from your need.  Give to those in need in the selfless Love that reflects God’s Love for you and all creatures.

•The love of God with all thy heart and all thy strength;

•The love of thy neighbour as thyself

•Abide in the Testament of God throughout all times.

Let God’s Word, God’s revelations of Love shape your life.  This Testament of Love is found in all Creation, in the Holy Scripture and in the person and life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This Testament is found in each loving act which mirrors Christ.  Abide in these.

•Thy measure of prayer shall be until thy tears come;

•Or thy measure of work of labour till thy tears come;

•Or thy measure of thy work of labour, or of thy genuflexions, until thy perspiration often comes, if thy tears are not free.

Persevere in prayer and in works of Mercy and Love without slouching, but without harm to yourself, that you may continue in service for the length of time allotted you in this world by God.

Remember this time here is brief, prepare for the day of your death by a life of Mercy, that you might receive Mercy.  Prepare for your resurrection in Christ by entering into that life of Love, which is your salvation.

Live and proclaim this:

Salvation is of the Lord!

Salvation is of the Lord!

Salvation is of the Christ!

(Adaptation of the Rule of St. Columba for The Order of the Merciful Christ

adapted by Rev. Cait Finnegan

Copyright 1998)

Return to the Order of the Merciful Christ

bottom of page