daily with a weekly eucharist and communal prayer time at the church."

Other seekers do not take vows but are connected with religious orders that help them incorporate involving prayer and scriptural study into their daily lives. For example, All Saints Convent, an Episcopal community in Catonsville, Maryland, offers Associate affiliations to both men and women and Fellowship of All Saints for women living outside its walls. Together, they develop a personalized rule of life, something St. Benedict strongly advocated. "Somebody who has young children certainly is not going to keep the same type of rule as somebody who is retired," explains All Saint's Sister Christina. "If they try to do that, they will get discouraged and stop. We help guide them to what will work in their lives so that they can keep it."

Monastic practices are more about reframing what is already present in our lives than a matter of doing something new. Consciously setting time aside for friends, respecting store clerks, or returning phone calls are simple yet effective ways to deepen hospitality. If we make meals for family and friends with the intention of creating a time of community, quietness, and stability, the experience is cast in a new light. Through these humble practices, we can make the ordinary extraordinary and awaken to the wonder of everyday life.

"When you walk into McDonald's, and you're greeted by somebody who has an alert look on his face, and he says, 'Good morning, can I help you?'" Wilkes says, "there's a connection with the divine right there. We all have that opportunity in everything we do. We can do it any time--whether we're collecting garbage or surfing the Internet or serving as the CEO of a huge conglomerate. God's hand is always extended. We just need to reach for it."

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus