Ora et labora

Today is the Feast of St. Benedict, whose 73-chapter Rule formed the foundation for monastic life as we know it. His principles were often boiled down to a much more succinct maxim: Ora et labora, pray and work.

To Benedict, prayer and action are partners: your prayer life inspires and ignites your passion for action, and your action provides experiences for later reflection and the opportunities to be God’s hands and feet in the world. In our lives, we are to do God’s Work, the Opus Dei. To truly accomplish this feat, we must know God through prayer and we must know work.

It’s no coincidence that these are often the two areas that challenge us most in life: dedicating the time and attention to prayer that we need and working in a way that unites our purpose to Jesus.

Today, in honor of St. Benedict and in lieu of a longer reflection, I want to issue a simple call/challenge: Spend the 10-15 minutes you might have dedicated to reading a reflection to silent prayer for the loved ones in your life. Pray deeply and truthfully for your family, for your friends. Ask the Lord to reveal what needs prayer in their life. Intercede, intercede, intercede.

Finally, ask the Lord for something you can do for any 1 person you prayed for. Be specific.

Lord, show me how to be your hands and feet in their life right here, right now.

Pray, and then act.

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