As a parting gift when he retired, Fr. Paul gave me a wall plaque with the words “Prayer and Work.” He and I share an appreciation for Benedictine spirituality, and among the Benedictine values is this idea that, to a Christian, prayer and work are really one and the same.
On the same day I received this gift, my father was placed on hospice. He passed away less than two weeks later. My dad was a carpenter who never had the benefit of a fancy Benedictine University education, nor was he afforded the opportunity to take a contemplative retreat in a monastery. Yet somehow he knew this; he lived this. His prayer and his work were one and the same.
If I learned anything from my father, it’s to swing my hammer with prayerful purpose. He taught me that prayer without work is meaningless, and work without prayer is empty. Whether we are plowing and planting, bulldozing and building, or manufacturing and marketing, we are called by Christ to open our eyes to the sacredness of the people we feed—house—clothe—serve—connect—heal—teach. How blessed are those who see their work as prayer and their customers as Christ!
Journey well and pray always.