Jun. 4, 2016

The Benedictine Ethos

The Latin motto "Orare est laborare, laborare est orare," means to pray is to work, to work is to pray.
It's probably more thought provoking to have both phrases mirroring each other, rather than merely selecting one or the other to think of.
St. Benedict explains in his Rule that "idleness is the enemy of the soul."
He therefore counsels "specified periods for manual labor" for all monks and nuns.
Monastic manual labor traditionally includes such activities as outdoor work as well as pottery, weaving, icon painting, woodcarving, bookbinding, and related arts and crafts, including music, whose goal is the production of useful and beautiful objects, works, and offerings which mirror, albeit with less Light and on a much smaller scale, the transcendent beauty of God.
Whatever the activity, whatever constructive, creative thing of beauty we bring into existence, whatever we set our hand to do to make the world a better place, the work becomes itself a form of prayer, a way of offering one's energies to God for the completion of His kingdom.
Our labor at the keys of the organ, to learn about this art and bring it to realization in the ears of our listeners, is therefore a form or prayer, a prayer without words that reaches God and brings Him closer [See blog, The Power Of Prayer, Part IV].
All of which underscores the equal value of prayer, study, and work.