Going Forth in Peace: Work and Prayer on Day 6

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Many people are familiar with the Benedictines’ motto of “work and prayer.” That is, Benedictines seek to balance prayer time and work time. Today, however, Sr. Antoinette helped us explore what it should really mean in practice.

Foremost, she said, work and prayer should be more than what we do. It should be what and how we live.

She used the Concluding Rite of the Eucharist as a fine example. There are 4 options available for the priest or deacon to say:

1. Go forth, the Mass is ended;
2. Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord;
3. Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life;
4. Go in peace.

These concluding messages are expressions of the missionary mission of Jesus that we are all called to. We are called to carry the Gospel out into the world!

Well, a few images ran through my head … most of them negative. Think about it: we can fail at this before we even get off the grounds of the monastery or church!

For example, think of the parish parking lot. We all have just been sent forth on God’s mission and what do we do? We rush to our cars, trying to be the first out the driveway. We have things to do! We are not taking turns, not letting another car go ahead of us, inching our way up so no one can get in, upset with the people talking in the parking lot that are blocking the way out.

Or as I think of my house, we have the same type of thing happening with walkers, wheelchairs and other people using the elevator.

And my own behavior? When 4 people all jump up to take care of the vessels of the altar, all I can do is grumble about how distracting it is.

We all need to remember we carry the message of Jesus out into the world. We have been nourished by the Word of God, so we can go out and work again.

When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we take Christ with as we go.

Let’s try to remember this at the elevator, in the parking lot, in our seat in the chapel. Whether we never live the monastery or we go out to work; the world is wherever we are … and we are called to go announce the Gospel of the Lord … in peace.

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