Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 7...

It's hard to believe that we're already in the first full week of Lent. I can already get a gauge: A few things are going really well. Others are...not.


But onward we press, Christian soldiers! Today we are at Chapter 7, so about halfway through our book. And we're focusing here: "On Work: And Taking Spiritual Repose."

I thought it was an interesting dichotomy between the two parts of that title. When I'm at work, I'm not thinking about repose. I'm thinking about doing the things I need to do, which are decidedly *not* the things I would do in my free time, if given a choice. And my free time is when I think of repose. Relaxing. Unwinding. Doing the things that I enjoy. So what is it that St. Francis is suggesting about work?

"On entering the place of work, we should place ourselves in the presence of God, asking for his grace to make use of this time in accordance with the holy purpose for which it was instituted."

OK. So when we get to work, we should take a quiet moment to ask God to be with us and bless our work that day. That sounds like a great start to the work day. Then:

"When we begin our work, we should say interiorly: 'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening' (1 Sam. 3:9-10). O my God, make me worthy to accomplish your holy will."

I'm starting to pick up on a theme here. Even though we're at work with lots of things to do, and people around us, we can interiorly speak with God and ask for his help. Indeed, our author then chimes in:

"St. Francis de Sales counsels the use of silence, consideration and imagination. These acts enable us to make a little spiritual retreat during the day, which the saint characterizes elsewhere as 'one of the most certain means to spiritual advancement.'...there are likely times during our work, whatever it might be, in which we labor in silence. We can transform these times into precious moments by being quiet on the inside as well."

I LOVE THIS. The author also mentions that during our work day, we can "retreat into our inner world," and "take some sort of break, even if only in our minds." Now granted, I'm an introvert. Sometimes I worry that I'm tucked up inside my own head a little bit TOO much. But in those times, I'm really talking to myself, if you will. Thinking about things I need to do, or ideas that I have and how I want to implement them. I'm not talking to GOD. I think that's the crucial difference.

I also like the three buzz words for us to remember: silence, consideration, imagination. Reminds me of a few chapters back where we learned about ask, offer, accept. I still think of those three terms all the time and try to implement that throughout my day. So now we have silence, consideration and imagination. And we would think of these three things at work in particular. I absolutely love the idea of carving out silent time in our head even if our job is presenting us with a scene of chaos. As an introvert, I crave silence. And with consideration and imagination, we refocus our thoughts so as to become conscious of what we can do in that moment (and those coming up) to do better at our jobs, painting a mental picture of what we want that to look like. So, I could picture myself being this patient and understanding teacher, even if at that particular time I am feeling not so inspired.

"By practicing these spiritual exercises while we labor, the real work that takes up each day becomes not simply the accomplishment of secular tasks, but the sanctification of who we are, in view of the eternal work of salvation that God has worked for us."

Lovely, yes? Especially when I'm in class, I'm going to seek out those moments of silence in my head, and seek out God, rather than the crazy worries that would otherwise make their way through my little brain. I'm hoping that this eases the anxiety I struggle with every single day.

How about you all? What did you think of the suggestions in Chapter 7? Next wee we move on to our leisure time, and how we interact with others. Another introvert alert! :0


  1. The quote that stood out to me the most this week was "Work proceeds sin in the order of creation and thus should not be seen as a punishment. Whatever its particular character, work is part and parcel of our human vocation." It is a good reminder that work is something we are all called to do.

    1. Melanie,

      I love this! Indeed, it isn't a necessary evil. It's necessary, but it's good. :) It's part of our vocation, regardless of whether we are called to married, single or religious life. We are all united in this. <3

  2. You haven't lost me! I actually needed the chapter on food as I ate waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much at a Fat Tuesday party and was quite sick Ash Wednesday. Missed getting ashes too!!! So totally on board with St. Francis' thoughts on eating. I think this chapter was very appropriate too. Like you, I tend to have this constant dialogue going in my head during the day when my hands or busy - washing dishes, sweeping, sorting, etc. - and it's a real effort to turn my attention to meditation or prayer. Try to think of one saint - and I'm blanking on her - who would put up a picture of Jesus to look at and meditate while she scrubbed floors on her knees. (And no, I don't do that!) But, I've been trying to focus on doing as St. Francis suggests and having little "retreats" in those work day moments when there is silence. One of my friends told me that she has just learned that praying the rosary in the car is like having a little 'cell' in which to focus on God. That idea seems like something I could do - just take some time when I'm sewing or cleaning and turn my heart and mind to God. Good chapter.

    1. Hi Donna! We've missed you!

      I love your thoughts on Chapter 7! Very relatable. :0 Indeed, I LOVE praying the rosary in the car. That's a lovely way of thinking about it: a little cell for prayer. I could perhaps apply this when I'm walking between buildings, which sometimes is a 10 minute walk! Lots of prayer time there.


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