Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: William McNamara OCD on finding God in the commonplacee

I share the secret of the child, of the saints and sages, as well as of clowns and fools when I realize how wondrous and marvelous it is to carry fuel and draw water. Once the spiritual significance of such ordinary earthly acts dawns on me, I can skip the yoga, the mantras and novenas. One finds pain and pleasure, ecstasy and enstasy, God and humanity in the commonplace. All these good natural experiences usher us, if we let them, into the presence of God, into supernatural life. It's better to stay home and smell a flower, bake an apple pie, or sweep a floor than to have a spooky, spurious religious experience at a prayer meeting. It's better to simply enjoy the sunshine or a good show than to meddle curiously and conceitedly with the occult. It's better to romp with the dogs in the backyard than rap with the intellectuals on campus or at church, if the dogs in the yard help us to be less egotistic and more God-centered.

William McNamara was a Carmelite priest writing on behalf of the Spiritual Life Institute of America (SLIA) in Sedona, Arizona. He has written on the contemplative life and founded Carmelite hermitages in the United States and Canada. Learn more here .

List five commonplace things you do daily or often.

As you do them over the next few days complete this thought about each:

(name the commonplace activity) ushers me into the presence of God by …


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