Pray and work...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ora et labora.

-St. Benedict

He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands.


-St. Bernard, a follower of St. Benedict's rule

As Catholic Christians it is our duty to attend Holy Mass on Sundays. Sunday is a time of worship and devotion to God. No work, no servile tasks. Just dedication to the Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.

But what about those other six days of the week? There are many people that continue about their lives, not giving a second thought about the Church and God until Sunday rolls around again. Some very good people in fact. But what we forget I think is that EVERYDAY should be the Lord’s day!

Oh what a better place this world would be if we were in constant prayer! If only we could all learn (myself most definitely included) to give everything we have and do, to Our Lord. The sadness of war, famine, crime, injustices against life including abortion, would all be gone. It is my firm belief that in giving ourselves to God, each and every day, we could affect this world in a countless number of wonderful ways.

It is not easy to be a faithful Catholic. I don’t remember Christ saying somewhere that the road was wide and straight. To lift one’s every moment to Jesus, is next to impossible for us failed humans. But I think that it can be done. With a pure and contrite heart, we can indeed live out the Benedictine motto, ora et labora.

As I am writing on a vocations blog, and have yet to mention vocations at all, I suppose some of you are wondering where all of this ties in. But you see, to pray, everyday, and not just on Sundays, needs to be a part of everyone’s vocation, whether they are called to married life, the priesthood, religious life, or life as a single person.

In the search for our vocations, the search for God’s will in our lives, we will only find it if we give EVERYTHING to Him! For those of us in discernment right now, we will only come to know God’s will I think if we completely trust in His guidance. As we proceed through the different steps of discernment, as we visit different orders or vocations directors, our true vocation will become apparent only if we give it all up in prayer.

This goes beyond the steps of our vocational discernment though. We need to offer EVERYTHING up. Whether it be school, chores, errands, work, it can all be done for the glory of God Almighty. In the smallest task, even if it is mowing the lawn or paying bills, we can give glory to God. I have had friends criticize me on this point. They say that I am being too religious. That I need to “get real” so to speak with today’s world. But offering our daily work in prayer and thanksgiving is about as real as you can get.

God has a tendency I think to give us signs in the most strange places and circumstances. Are you willing to be inattentive to that sign, even if it comes in the form of a strange person walking down the street, or cleaning the house on a Saturday morning?

In order to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must be in constant prayer, whether at Church, school, work, or leisure. We need to take St. Benedict’s words to heart. Only in this way will we discover the Will of the Almighty in our lives.

As always, my prayers are with you all, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. May we all stay silent enough to hear His voice in our hearts...

Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

-Dean

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