6 Ways to Create a Portable Monastery
My latest piece at Ignitum Today:
I’m a husband. I’m a dad. And I’m confident in my vocation.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not drawn to the monastic life. The rhythms of prayer and work, silence and liturgy, study and service beckon like an enchanting voice from another world. I’m sure part of it is the whole “grass is greener on the other side” phenomenon, but I think there’s something else, too. Many of us uncloistered folk yearn for the silence and spiritual depth which seem to elude our hyper-active world, riches we think are only attainable within a priory.
For a long time, I thought it was impossible for the ordinary layperson to cultivate regular times of deep, undistracted prayer. With office jobs and bills and dinner and bath times there was simply no room for that.
But then something changed.
I realized that I already had space for it, I just wasn’t using it well. I already had a sacred period every day when I was alone with my thoughts and open to prayer.
My daily drive to work takes about twenty minutes, and I began to see how much I wasted it. It was usually filled with cell phone chats, banal news, or irrelevant commentary, and through all those things I was giving up some of the most sacred time in my day.
This is probably true for you, too. Whether in a car, a train, or a bike, your commute offers a Benedictine cell, a place cut off from the demands and noise of the world.
What if you began to see it this way? What if you decided that your commute would be your sacred space? What if you turned your car into a monastery or your train into a convent?
Here are six ways I’ve sanctified my own commute: