As we continue to look at the ways our prayer life changes and grows in this vocation, today we are going to look at allowing our life to become a prayer through our work.
The vocation of motherhood is Eucharistic in nature: it is the constant giving of ourselves for the good of our families, it is sacrificial, and it requires constant surrender and trust to the will of God. Romans 12:1 says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Don’t you often feel like a living sacrifice? Don’t you often wonder how you could possibly give any more? And yet Paul reminds us this is our worship. We give our literal bodies, we sacrifice our time and our sleep, our careers, our immediate desires, and we offer them to the Lord as a form of prayer and worship.
St. Jose Maria Escriva said, “work is a fulcrum upon which human activity takes on divine meaning.” In other words, we are created to work, and we are invited to offer that work to the Lord to refine and redeem us, but above all, to make us like him. This vocation provides endless opportunities for refinement, and it is constant work; so think of all that God must have in store!
When we are feeling like we haven’t time to pray, when we are longing for quiet reflection and yet this work does not allow for it, we can offer the work itself. This spring we focused on the Works of Mercy as they are lived out in our motherhood, and all of that is a part of our prayer life. In the moments of our work we can say to the Lord, “take this work as my living sacrifice.” One of my favorite Psalms to say as I work is, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Ps 90:17). When our work becomes difficult, when the trials of this life require more than we thought we could give, we have the Cross. We can unite our sufferings to those of our precious Lord, and we can ask that he let us carry some of his burden, and then our prayer becomes more than the work of our hands, it becomes the transformative power of grace and redemption.
“One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer.”
–St. Teresa of Avila