Ora et Labora, Pray and Work



I was reminded of a Benedictine Tradition called “Ora, Labora et Lectio.”  It is a 3-part phrase derived from The Rule of St. Benedict. That rule (book) became the foundation of guidance for monastic communities. Ora, Labora et Lectio is translated as Pray, Work, and Bible-Study.  The Rule of St. Benedict was a required read during my freshman orientation at Belmont Abbey College.

In the 19th Century, Ora et Labora, Pray and Work, took shape after a popular publication on the Benedictine life by German abbot Maurus Wolter.  Simply,Ora et Labora, is a way to balance life, giving Him praise and thanksgiving and performing the work that God has called you to do.  The Benedictine monks and sisters spend about 2-3 hours in church, 2-3 hours of bible-study, with the remainder of the day dedicated to work depending on their vocation and abilities. That work varies from teaching (Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC) to jams and jellies to chicken eggs (Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, SC) and beyond.

Our society has gotten off track regarding this basic way of life. Off track in a way that often we find ourselves working without keeping God in mind or stopping to pray.  He is the reason for our work, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 4:11.  Our prayer and work should be oriented to Him.

Sometimes the necessity of our work can require a great many hours, and subsequently will subtract from prayer time. Let us keep in mind those Benedictine principles of Ora et Labora, and Ut in Omnibus Glorificetur Deus –  Pray and Work, and That in all things God may be Glorified.

-Dr. Steigerwald

2 Responses to “Ora et Labora, Pray and Work”

  1. Sal Girgente

    Thank you for your article concerning Ora et Labora. As a Benedictine Oblate considering a move from Virginia to Greenville, SC, you’ll have some new patients should my tentative plans materialize. Always good to see someone claim their faith no matter what that may be.

    • Ashley Reese

      Sal, we appreciate the encouraging words and are so thankful to hear that you desire to be a part of the Southern Eye family should you move. We look forward to hopefully working with you.


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