PODCAST | Turning Work into Prayer
“Each and every event of this life, without exception, must be steps which take you to God, which move you to know him and love him, to give him thanks, and to strive to make everyone else know and love him” (St. Josemaria Escriva; The Forge, no. 680).
In this meditation from Fr. Peter Armenio, priest of Opus Dei, we are invited to reflect upon work as a medium for prayer, using the hidden life of Jesus as an example. Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus spent many years working as a carpenter. Though nothing is written about these years, St. Josemaria considered this silence to be an inspiration of the Holy Spirit, exemplifying the ordinariness which characterized Jesus’s life until he began his public ministry. Thus, when we echo the Apostles’ request “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) we can hear Jesus’s response through his lived example. Work is a place where we are meant to encounter God daily.
The idea of “sanctification of work” is simple, but the process is not easy. Fr. Peter explains that a personal life of prayer outside of work is the driving force behind our ability to sanctify our work, since sanctification of work is not about perfecting a routine as much as it is about giving a gift of love. As such, conversation with the Lord in mental prayer, frequenting the Sacraments, and making regular aspirations and acts of love are foundational to being able to sanctify our work, as they increase our love. Likewise, laxity in our spiritual norms can detract from our ability to sanctify our work, as there is less love given in that work. Ultimately, the one who prays more is the one who loves more.