RB 57 Work and Prayer
10/December/2007 Filed in: Jottings
If you read Colophon while at work, you may find today's chapter of the Rule interesting (go to the Prayer Box on the Vocation page.) The fundamental disposition required for any work — art, craft or what you will — is honesty and humility (competence is, I think, presumed). Today, monasteries have to be careful about not undercutting commercial competitors rather than overpricing their goods and services, but they still need to be sensitive about what they do and how they do it. What interests me about this chapter, however, is Benedict's acute psychological perception that work can become an ego-trip or worse. How many retired people suddenly feel life has come to an end because they can no longer define themselves as Joe Bloggs the Bank manager or Jill Bloggs the Practice manager? Advent is a good time for thinking about our own relationship with work (or lack of it.) If we are to prepare a highway for God in the desert of our hearts, that which takes up a large part of every day must be part of the structure. Work is not prayer, but it can be a preparation for prayer, can be accompanied by prayer. Above all, it can be transformed by prayer.