According to this prolific Catholic priest, this paperback is "a personal handbook for a practical spirituality." He discovers intimations of grace in work, sex, money, letter writing, music, and much more. We are all detectives charged with finding signs of the Divine Mystery.
Hays sees a pathway to a revived spirituality in the home. Viewed from a fresh perspective, the bathroom becomes an enchanted place for privacy, silence, cleansing, and renewal. The way we entertain guests and strangers in our homes is another sign of spirituality. Hays encourages prayers that spring from the heart in the midst of our routines.
In the most startling chapter, the author proposes the question mark as a new holy symbol for people. Hays describes it as a prayer tool of the saint and mystic: the creative tool of the artist, genius, and explorer; a probe to shed light on thorny issues; and a means of awakening the child within. He notes: "A truly great religion does not give answers so much as it raises great questions that challenge the believer to search inwardly for the answers." After all, we need only remember how often Jesus used questions in his parables and teachings.
Here are a few of Hays's thoughts on the spiritual practices of gratitude and reverence:
• "Prayer is an awareness, an attitude of remembering, that we are all guests in this world. Prayer is an expression of gratitude for the ways in which we are entertained, gifted and loved by the divine host. . . . Deeds of kindness and courtesy, of welcoming and friendship, are ways to allow the gifts to flow on out into the world and to return to their original source."
• "The challenge of the saints of the twenty-first century is to begin again to comprehend the sacred in the Ten Thousand Things of our world: to reverence what we have come to view as ordinary and devoid of the Spirit."