Ora et Labora


While one of my faults is that I can sometimes be impatient, this past Wednesday’s experience helped me grow.

Sitting in morning prayer, I had a difficult time concentrating. I leafed through my prayer book and couldn’t help but sigh at how long the psalms were. All I could think about was how much I wanted to accomplish in the office that morning, and prayer just felt like an impediment to my productivity. I felt that I owed it to the staff to get as much done as I could, as one of the members had been out sick the previous day.

Then, amidst this inner battle, I read a line that made me realize that my “work” isn’t just the tasks I preform in the office. It’s something greater than that. It’s something that St. Benedict taught…duh. It’s “Ora et Labora,” and what it means is that you do God’s work not only through your physical labor, but through your prayer and contemplation as well. All I needed was this simple reminder of what I believe about service in the first place: that what I do for others is ultimately connected to my spirituality. Each day the sisters pray, “Thy will be done,” which is exactly what they are doing by working in the community AND by praying for the members of that community, and all humanity. Prayer is work (and sometimes we feel that way!) and I feel it is one of my responsibilities.


2 thoughts on “Ora et Labora

  1. Your insight is spot-on. When I am at the monastery, sharing the sisters’ prayer, I find myself marveling at these women who are there day in and day out. The simple act of showing up and striving to be present to God is astonishing to me because there is so much to distract all of us. The work that lies ahead on any given day is one example. So love what you are doing with this blog.

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