After writing yesterday’s post: https://breadforthejourney.blog/2018/07/19/organ-limerick/, I realized the limerick subtly expresses Ora et Labora, the balance of work and prayer so important to the Benedictine way of life. As a Benedictine oblate, I seek to balance my life in all things; with a spiritual foundation of prayer, work and reflective reading of scripture (lectio divina). Yes, I have been challenged by playing the organ, but I have also been greatly nourished by participating in this work of the Lord. And once the notes are solidified, even as they are becoming more familiar, it too can be prayer.
In her book on The Rule of Benedict, Joan Chittister says, “Work is not what defines the Benedictine. It is the single-minded search for God that defines Benedictine spirituality…The Rule of Benedict treats work and lectio interchangeably. One focuses the skills of the body on the task of co-creation. The other focuses the gifts of the mind on the lessons of the heart…no matter how frail, no matter how old, no one is useless; every one of us is given a gift to give and a task to fulfill (to upbuild the house of God).”
Come, labor on! Cast off all gloomy doubt and faithless fear! No arm so weak but may do service here. Though feeble agents, may we all fulfill God’s righteous will.
Come, labor on! The toil is pleasant, the reward is sure, Blessed are those who to the end endure; How full their joy, how deep their rest shall be, O Lord, with thee! – Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897)