There is no admonition that we meet with so often in the spiritual life as the words “Pray and work!”
How many times have we been told to unite our work with prayer, to raise it up and sanctify it by prayer? Such frequent reminders flow from the real need and difficulty of safeguarding our interior life in the rush of work; we are frightened by this invasion, by the overwhelming nature of the work that is keeping us away from God. We long to preserve our spiritual life by permeating our work with prayer.
This thought is expressed in the maxim “Pray and work!” But this is a difficult thing to accomplish. For conscientiousness in work and the turning of our attention to God are at odds with one another. When we are fully absorbed in our work, we forget about everything, about the whole external world, and all the more about prayer.
Prayer in work, however, is not a kind of small change; it is not a half measure in the solution of this conflict, nor is it merely a supplement to work. Is it not a part of asceticism? Is it not true that prayer in work has a prominent place in the rules of contemplative orders and, at the present time, in the constitution of almost every religious society?
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