St. Benedict directed his monks in the way of balancing prayer (ora) and work (labora). He knew that one without the other is a sure path to frustration, self-absorption and wasted energy. Jesus himself modeled this for us. Our Lord went into the hills to pray by himself after ministering to the multitudes, and he always prayed before making decisions (like choosing his apostles). Certainly, we know that he prayed for his disciples at the Last Supper, and he sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane to endure his Passion with the prayer of all prayers, “Not my will, Father, but Yours be done.”
Even for those of us not enduring martyrdom or living the realities of monastic life, the daily tasks of work, caring for family, paying bills, getting the oil changed and those other “adulting” details can be heavy. But we know that Jesus Christ tells us to “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ‚Ä¶ For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28, 30)
God won’t take our kids to school or write that term paper for us, but he does give us the grace to do what we must. Whatever it is we have been given to do in our lives is our own unique path to holiness, no matter how mundane it seems. If we can accept our responsibilities ungrudgingly and offer our efforts to the Lord for love of him, our burdens will become light, as he promised. We can let go of outcomes and perfection and follow Our Blessed Mother’s advice: “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5). Our work will be an offering sanctified by our prayer, and then we can trust that God will do the rest.
Cambio is the director of faith formation at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Wayne County.