Prayer Through Work

How can the sun and moon praise God, as the Prophet exhorts them to? By performing well that task which has been imposed on them by the Lord. This is great praise which they give Him. Behold, then, an excellent way in which you can praise God at all times — by performing well your tasks and whatever you may have to do. -St. Jerome

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi performed all her exterior duties with so much spiritual delight, and with so pure an intention for God, that they were no hindrance to her interior retirement, and did not distract her in the least from God. And so, on the instant after finishing any of them, she would retire to prayer, and be wholly separated from all earthly things, and completely wrapt in God. Even in the midst of manual labor and employment, she often fell into ecstasies, so that she once said: “It is the same to me whether I am told to go to prayer in the choir, or to any manual work, for I make no difference between them. Nay, were I to say that sometimes I find God more in such work than in prayer, I think I should tell the truth.”

A Franciscan lay-brother who was cook, when he had thoroughly performed the work of his charge, used to retire to prayer, in which he enjoyed many heavenly consolations. To enjoy more of these, he asked and obtained from his Superior permission to give up his distracting occupation; then giving himself entirely to prayer, he found in it nothing but aridity and distractions. Seeing his mistake, he returned to his former work, when the lost consolations immediately came back.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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