Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 25 – "Ora et Labora"

Comparisons are dangerous little things.

One Poor Claire nun considered it a great privilege to have gone from an active order into a contemplative one; she always conveyed the highest of praise for both. She wrote that the Sisters in the active order counted upon the more rigorous intercession of their cloistered Sisters. As a contemplative later in life, she joined ranks with those who knew that monks and nuns who pray need those whose hands and feet are available to go and do.

Many monasteries have these words on display, carved in stone or wood, painted or embroidered for all see, "ORA ET LABORA."

This was the Benedictine motto: "PRAY AND WORK." It was never one or the other. All monks and nuns had work responsibilities within the monastery, and that tradition continues to this day.

In our earliest weeks together in Cor Unum, we are responding more to the essentials of marketplace monasticism than to vocational devotion. At the same time, we would all insist that devotion is our vocation, no matter how busy our lives may be. We choose to worship before we work, whenever possible, and we are learning to return to worship after our work. We hope to master the discipline of quiet and continual worship WHILE we work, but work we must. Some may perforce spend more time on their knees than others, but all want to develop listening ears, willing hearts, bold love, and courageous intercession.

Let us settle this issue for our Cor Unum hearts: we need to WATCH AND PRAY, HEAR AND OBEY, if we are to know the fulness of devotion to Jesus Christ. Every one of us may glory in our God, and every one of us is privileged to obey Him. We will speak at much greater length concerning both hearing and heeding the Lord, but ours is never a trade-off, one instead of the other.

As we take time with the Lord, our glorious God! today, let us hold our work and service in one hand and our worship and the sincerity of our seeking in another . . . and then lift both to Him. Let us ask Him to show us where our lives are out of balance, where we have not worship to sustain our work, or obedience to prove our worship.

As time goes by, one of the great joys of this house shall certainly be the increase we see in BOTH areas, and the assurance that "Ora et Labora" are standards for our lives as they were for the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Garden Spot"
photo by Kerry

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