Restoring Work-Prayer Balance

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By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“Benedict was quite precise about it all. Time was to be spent in prayer, in sacred reading, in work, and in community participation … No one thing consumed the monastic’s life. No one thing got exaggerated out of all proportion to the other dimensions of life.” – Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily

Easier said than done. Especially for me this past few weeks.

That’s always the case at the end of the school year, while I fill out report cards, prepare files for next year, wash the preschool toys, pack everything up and clear out of the classroom.

But this year seems – looking back on it – to have been especially work-focused and far from balanced.

You can probably relate. Most people in our culture crave balance but find it elusive.

A couple words of advice (that I’m taking, too):

Make time for prayer. Every day. It needn’t be long, but it must be intentional and heartfelt. Just say, “Good morning, I love you,” if that’s all you have time to say. Set a time that is dedicated to prayer, and be faithful to it.

Be attentive to the moment. Even if you’re scrambling to get something done, you can look out the window for a moment, give thanks for the beautiful sky, take a breath and return to your work.

These actions help restore the balance St. Benedict calls us to in daily life.

On Saturday, my community will begin our silent annual retreat, an experience that I look forward to all year long. When we emerge, a week later, we are renewed and refreshed and joyful. In balance.

Sister Mary Core and I will share nuggets from the retreat here, on our blog. Join us!

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