When Dennis Okholm teaches his class on monasticism he, more often than not, hears the complaints, note the plural, that he is not talking about the "real world."
The truth found in monastic life are as real and valid today as they were in the time of St. Patrick, St. Benedict, or other founder of a religious community. A religious community most assuredly comes much closer to the manner in which we are to live our our lives as followers of Christ than the supposed "real world." The basis in which Christian communities are to be established is found in the Book of Acts. And, the rule of any valid religious community is based solely upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and no other.
James, the Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem before it's demise and the brother of Christ, taught faith without action is of little value and meaningless. These actions are meant to be the manner in which we live our lives. Do we live them as Christ taught? Or, more likely, do we make up our own rules, hedging here and there along the way until the life we lay out before God is nothing near that given by His Son?
Our brothers in the French village of Taize have as one of their requirements the community must finance itself by the work of the hands of the members and not be dependent upon donations. To this end, The Order of Saint Patrick, and thus Emmaus House - Albuquerque, our assisted living facility for homeless veterans, is our work. Our sole purpose is to care for these men and women, who pledged to lay down their own lives in our defense, for our benefit, should it be necessary. Our one mission in this life is to care for these men and women who answered the call of a nation in need, responding to their needs in the now.
We do not preach, nor do we teach. We are an ecumenical community with the one mission: to provide care and comfort to homeless veterans in need, in so doing to serve humanity.