I feel a bit like the seer that Saul consulted in yesterday’s Vigil reading :-/
Here goes. There is a pattern for reading the Rule; visit www.osb.org which has the chapters arranged by daily reading. The monastic practice, and what I do as oblate as well, is to read through the entire Rule three times per year, I read a copy of the Rule with commentary, an excellent dog-eared book I have, by a Trappist abbot, Alas it is in French only. In monasteries, usually the abbot or prior will comment on each chapter read “in chapter”, the meeting (often daily, though not always these days) of the entire community that gets its name because the Rule is read at those meetings, which also discuss other house matters.
To become oblate, I underwent a 1-year formation program under the oblate director, where I studied the Rule and was given a series of exercises to complete each month.
Studying the Rule is a life-long project. The most important advice I can give is that we as oblates, and in fact even as monks in today’s world, are meant to be inspired by the Rule; we are by no means meant to live by the letter of the Rule. Remember the Rule was written for a particular place and time (6th Century Italy), so even the notion of “winter” and “summer” are different than in nordic nations (this comes up in the Rule when discussing how to organize the Office of Vigils for shorter summer nights). Moreover the schedule in the Rule was organized for natural time (i.e. position of the sun) rather than fixed time (the clock had not been invented yet).
As you read a chapter each day and reflect on it, it starts to impregnate your life. It takes time. Others have given excellent answers on the importance of balance.
Daily prayer is an essential component of being guided and inspired by the Rule. For me it is the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours); being retired I can do all of it on most days, but for others maybe the two main hours is the best they can offer and that’s OK.
As others have said too, radical hospitality is an essential part of any Benedictine lifestyle, and they have correctly pointed out that this applies not only to people who come to visit your home but to everyone you encounter every day. And it is not as easy as it seems as you will encounter daily people who will test your patience…
Lastly, as a husband do not fall into the trap of thinking the chapters on the Abbot necessarily apply directly to you, or your abbess might have something to say! (ask me how I know… ). But you can be inspired by those chapters when it comes to dealing with and disciplining your children, remembering to keep in mind that hitting children in this age is never a good idea, it was different 1500 years ago. Use whatever counts as “severe” discipline these days for intractable situations, without resorting to violence.
Considerable discernment is required to use the Rule in modern lay society. I fear that for some CAF readers prone to scrupulosity and those who are the “letter of the law” types, the Rule might not be for them,