Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants

I raced through this book, nearly swallowed it wholemonkshabits. It’s the perfect size for a Lenten snack treat (144 pages including forward, afterward and notes) and fit in beautifully with my self-prescribed reading diet.

Author Dennnis Okholm (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) leads a light, action-driven tour through the Benedictine Rule of Life and how the habits of monks (pun intended) can enhance your spiritual journey to the cross.

At the back of the book is a list of fifteen suggestions for developing a personal rule of life. How many of the items on this list are already incorporated into your own spiritual practice?

1. Pray at least two Offices daily.

2. Read and meditate on sacred scripture at least once a day.

3. Practice times of silence.

4. Practice a contemplative type of prayer.

5. Remember that every moment of our lives is lived in the Divine Presence.

6. Do a partial or full fast (or abstain from meat) at least once a week.

7. Attend church services and/or receive the Holy Eucharist at least once weekly.

8. Care for those you live with, work with, and worship with.

9. Treat your family and your daily work/profession as your main Christian ministry.

10. Refrain from judging others and pray for them instead.

11. Be consistently involved in at least one ministry/program of your parish.

12. Treat all physical objects in your environment with care and reverence.

13. Remember Rule of Benedict 4: “The love of Christ must come before all else.”

14. Be faithful (stable) in your family, employment, parish responsibilities.

15. Serve other with consistent patience and care.


“The quest of the human heart for meaning is the heartbeat of every religion.” -David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

TODAY’S EXERCISE: It’s a beautiful day! 2.26 miles (40 minutes) run/walk up Thistle hill and down (2x) with Buddy the WonderDog and a gentle stroll with the old girl, JessieDog.


~ by Kimberly Mason on March 11, 2009.

2 Responses to “Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants”

  1. I wanted to add some more, particularly around work. From my husband, a former priest in the Discalced Carmelite order, I learned about the practice of napping to keep the Noonday Devil at Bay. The reason the devil is so active then is because we tend to be sleepy after lunch, so why not have a siesta?

    Benedict’s concept of prayer is work, work is prayer has become one of my mottos.

    Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (another Discalced Carmelite, but more than 3 centuries ago) was so known for practicing the presence of God in everything he did (like washing dishes) that people flocked to the monastery to help him do his work.

    There are many other monk and nun habits that work well in the midst of daily work. I don’t know anyone who has more fun while doing real work than some sisters who can roll up their sleeves with joy then relax fully after work.

    Great post! We’ll keep this in our files to share with others. Pat McHenry Sullivan, co-founder, Spirit and Work Resource Center,

  2. This looks fantastic. In so many ways we are “mystics” without monasteries in this day and age. This is the sort of thing we need. Thank you for sharing.

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