An often used phrase — almost a motto — of the Benedictine way is “Ora et Labora” (prayer and work).
While the term ora et labora is not used in the Rule of St. Benedict, the combination of prayer and work into a unified day that is consecrated to God was one of the ancient strengths of Benedictine monasticism after the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 AD.
Distinctions are important, and at least some Benedictines cringe at the thought of putting “labora EST ora” (work is prayer) into the mouth of St. Benedict.(1)
But this past week for me has been “labora et labora.” Work and work. I know you have had weeks like that. Maybe your life is like that — and I know what that is like too — it's one of the reasons I am now a Benedictine oblate.
I am glad I have this weekend of rest. This past week of nonstop and late-night work proved the wisdom of St. Benedict — work needs its proper place — after ora.
Picture is Fatigue by Robert.
(1) Kardong’s 1995 article, “Work Is Prayer: Not!”