CHAPTER 48 - The Daily Manual Labor

Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the community should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading. RB 48:1

Ora, labora, lege (pray, work, read) is a good summary of Benedict's call to balance in life.

For Benedict work was anonymous and corporate. It was to be done responsibly, reverently and with respect for the good of all. The end and purpose was God: "So that in all things God may be glorified" (RB 57:9).

For Benedict Lectio Divina (reading from God) was a slow reading of the Bible. The monks of his day often memorized the texts to savor the scripture moving into meditation and contemplation. Many times the monks repeated the memorized verses in the midst of their work.

Benedict's call for balance in life is certainly a challenge. Work and lectio are partners. One focuses the skills used for the common good and the other focuses the gifts of the mind bringing forth the gifts of the heart. Each compliments the other and brings forth the other providing a beautiful dance and intermingling of the two: work and lectio.