Pray and Work–That’s What it’s All About

Pray and Work–That’s What it’s All About

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

The cross can happen even in the life of a child younger than three years old. If you doubt that, then I dare you to watch Noy Thrupkaew’s TED selection for today’s post. I think it might change your mind. As I listened to Noy’s presentation I recalled reading Harville Hendricks who postulates in his Imago Therapy that we spend a great deal of our life grappling with our childhood issues. We even choose our friends and intimate partners based upon this inner drive.


Noy discovered this in her life when she ended up in therapy. What she did with this realization is the story of the cross and resurrection today. Yes, as she says, it’s messy and unfinished. More importantly, she’s begun the task we all have of transforming our lives, and by doing this transforming the lives of all those around us.


In his Encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis recounts the life of Saint Benedict, the father of Western Monasticism, who eventually summed up his Rule of Life in two words, Ora et Labora (pray and work). Reflecting on Noy’s talk as well as my own work experience, I think maybe the problem with our 21st Century American way of life is we’ve entirely left our the first of these, prayer, and completely vilified the second, work. I think we could all benefit by prioritizing the prayer and work in our lives. I love what Pope Francis says regarding work:


Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God.

(Francis, Pope [2015-06-22]. ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’: On care for our common home: Green encyclical on the environment. [Kindle Locations 958-959]. . Kindle Edition.)”

5 thoughts on “Pray and Work–That’s What it’s All About

  1. Dan, Thank you for the thought, wisdom and kindness of your recent contribution. I feel like you have introduced me to an old, wise, courageous and very thoughtful friend. Thanks.

  2. She reminded me of one of my first cases. It was a big American Corporation. I can’t reveal the name, but it was our own beloved nations first name. (kind of like when my dear, sainted Irish Mother overheard me say, “GD”, after my first year at the Prep, only I didn’t abbreviate; she stopped me on the spot. “Is this what we have been paying those priests to teach you?” she said of her oldest of 8, on a SWBell installers wages. I stopped her back, on the spot, “Well, Mom” I blurted, “they taught me His Last Name.” but I don’t think she bought it, though she did take a pause to think, which was all I needed to change the subject—but I wasn’t under vows yet, so it didn’t count). Anyway this company hired the lawyers to get the deeds to a bunch of small plots of land, mestizo land, land that had for generations been roughly 3/4 of one of our acres, which had completely supported family after family of simple, happy, close to the earth people. They paid their lawyers well, and the very day the last deed was signed, they sent in the dozers. Huge, powerful machines with scoops on the front and plows behind. At 5 a.m., just after the poor peasant parents had left for their days in the fields of the kind, generous American companies which had hired out their labor (for a pittance), IN the dozers came…there were crying babies in some of those what we would call hovels, but were really happy homes, completely innocents, as the dozers wrecked then plowed them. Followed by the planters, like combines only in reverse, they scooped a hole, grabbed a tree, stuck it in and covered the roots, followed by the the water trucks. Always the water trucks. And then they were finished. By Noon, it was a Banana Plantation, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Those MFers, and they are all over Central America, so we, we marvellously privileged few that we are, can have bananas for 39cents a pound. And they are doing it in our names: WE, The People. All over the World.
    God help us.
    If you think I puke at the site of a banana, you need to hear me talk about St. Caesar Chavez, and watch me around a lettuce counter, or the owner of our largest and finest St. Louis, top end Supermarket Chain. Anyway, Dan The Man, Thanks.

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