One reader explores her own awakening and longing to live in full communion with God. She's begun a solid practice and the practice of this interior prayer is carrying her deeper into this communion. She knows the beauty of simply sitting in God's presence, just being. But she wonders, "Is it possible for that peace to always be there?" I offer this as an answer . . .

That peace is always there. Jesus assures us that the kingdom, the reign or realm of God, is both coming and already among us. What's more, it is within us. So is it always there, within us and among us. The trick is to create such a well-worn path by our practice of prayer that we can quickly find the narrow gate to that inner world of eternity no matter where we are or what we're doing.

We will not always (or perhaps often) live in the bliss of that peace. We live a mixed life (both active and contemplative) and will find ourselves tilting one way or another during the day. But we carry the peace of God within us.

Imagine your heart as a little shrine in the midst of the city, often overlooked by the traffic on the street or sidewalk, mostly ignored by the busy and important people in offices and restaurants around it. But it is always there and you can enter it whenever you wish.

There are times you'll forget it and the narrow gate at its entrance will become overgrown and hidden. But when you awaken again and return to your practice, you can push through the ivy on the gate and clear the path again.

It's no use berating yourselves for forgetting the little shrine that's always so near, or fearing that you'll get too busy to enter it. You will. But you can always return. In fact, every distraction is another opportunity for you to return. And you'll find God always smiling, arms outstretched when you walk back through that gate and down the path.

The wonder of all this is that this shrine isn't out the door and down the street. It's as near as the beating of your heart. The peace of God is enshrined in your heart and goes with you wherever you may go.