Monday, September 3, 2007

Ora et Labora

Perhaps St. Benedict should be the patron saint of Labor Day. The Benedictine motto, Ora et Labora - pray and work - keeps running through my head today. September 3 is actually the Feast Day of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, who had a strong connection to St. Benedict; Gregory was studying at Monte Cassino, the monastery that Benedict had founded and where he probably wrote his Rule, when it was destroyed by invading Lombards.
(Why, yes; I have been reading about the Benedictines lately. Why do you ask?)

So here is the thought for Labor Day: "Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you." I have seen this attributed to the Torah, John Wesley, Martin Luther King and a yoga swami, but we Catholics give credit to St. Augustine for the words, and to St. Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits for making the phrase a standard in the Catholic/Christian/God-fearing world.

My plan for September was to blog and exercise every day. So far, not so good; today is the 3rd. But here is my entry, and as soon as I finish this, I am going for a walk.

As for labora on Labor Day, I am off to buy a gallon of paint to finish the downstairs bathroom.

As for ora, today's Psalm is 96:

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
announce his salvation day after day.
Tell God's glory among the nations;
among all peoples, God's marvelous deeds.
And a prayer attributed to St. Benedict:
O gracious and holy Father,
Give us wisdom to perceive you,
intelligence to understand you,
diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you,
eyes to see you,
a heart to meditate on you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.


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