Pray and Work

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles December 02,2017
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Pray and Work

By Fr. Dan De Los Angeles December 02,2017
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Saturday, December 2, 2017 34th Week in
Ordinary Time 1st
Reading: Dn 7:15-27 Gospel: Luke 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples, “Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.

(Daily Gospel in the
Assimilated Life

The Gospel exhortation to stay awake goes with the advice to pray at all times. We do not stay awake for the heck of staying awake. We stay awake in order to work. Reduced to its lowest terms the Gospel suggestion stated above boils down to work and prayer. About this topic St. Benedict’s doctrine called “Ora et Labora” (Prayer and Work) is instructive. According to St. Benedict, one shouldn’t just pray all day and do nothing else. Prayer should be balanced with work. St. John Bosco took this a step farther with his “Ora e’ labora” (Prayer is work) doctrine. Under this Italian maxim, prayer itself becomes part of the work, and the whole work becomes prayer.

This prayer and work doctrine finds application in another familiar slogan formulated as, “Let Go and let God”. For most people, letting go involves so much sacrifice. It entails a lot of work more so if attachments are already in place. Likewise, letting God requires so much faith and trust in God’s power. It takes a lot of prayer.

The problem with this “Let go and let God” slogan, however, is the implied claim of perfect human control. Is one’s will power so strong as to be able to let go anytime? And when finally one is able to let go, how sure is he that God will take over? And when God does take over, the slogan is silent about what one should be doing while God is in charge. The better slogan, perhaps, is “Let God and let’s go!”

“Let God and let’s go” spurs us on to pursue God’s will after we have surrendered everything to him. This entails hard work. The advice of St. Augustine is: “Pray like everything depended on God and work like everything depended on you.” We cannot just sit and do nothing. “Idleness is the workshop of the devil”, wrote St. John Bosco. We should work like the world will rise and fall on our industry, but we should also be mindful that it is God who gives success to all that we do. Even King Solomon, the wisest king that ever lived admitted that, “If the Lord does not build the house, then those who build it work in vain” (Psalm 127:1).– (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM, Email:

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