Laudato Si 126: Ora et Labora

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. From Francis and Charles de Foucauld in section 125, the Holy Father considers the tradition of ora et labora:

126. We can also look to the great tradition of monasticism. Originally, it was a kind of flight from the world, an escape from the decadence of the cities. The monks sought the desert, convinced that it was the best place for encountering the presence of God.

That “best place” was also the experience of Moses, Elijah, and of course, Jesus when he sought solitude with his Father.

Later, Saint Benedict of Norcia proposed that his monks live in community, combining prayer and spiritual reading with manual labor (ora et labora). Seeing manual labor as spiritually meaningful proved revolutionary. Personal growth and sanctification came to be sought in the interplay of recollection and work. This way of experiencing work makes us more protective and respectful of the environment; it imbues our relationship to the world with a healthy sobriety.

If the monastic ideal of manual labor was revolutionary in its founding days, it certainly remains countercultural in the modern era.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Laudato Si. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s