I have always had big dreams for my spiritual life. I have dreams of building a monastery, of taking people out into the wilderness to fast and pray together, of living a life completely dedicated to the movement of the Holy Spirit. So, naturally, I sometimes feel disappointed by my boring office job where I answer calls for a trucking company. Sometimes I am filled with lament and I cry out to God about how unfair it is that I am not living my true vocation, that I am stuck in this soul draining place when I know I am called to so much more.
But other times I realize that I must surely be called to be where I am, otherwise I would be somewhere else. Sometimes, I am able to break out of my self pity and remember that all of life is sacred. Every once in a while I look around at this room full of desks and phones and people and I realize that this is my monastery, these are my people, God wants me here.
There is no real division between the sacred and the secular. There is nothing secular, all is sacred. Even when you’re flipping burgers, or shoveling gravel, or answering phones the Spirit is working in you and around you and through you. The real call of the Gospel is to live a holy life wherever you are. Jesus didn’t really spend much time in the temple (except for when he was causing a scene) and he touched people’s hearts in the midst of their everyday lives. If he was around today he would be spending time in the smoke pit with factory workers, he would be on the ER floor with the nurses and PSWs, he would be pumping your gas and washing your car windows.
So, dear sisters and brothers, open your eyes to the wonder around you. Thank God everyday for the opportunity to show compassion to a world which is hurting. Live a gospel life whether you find yourselves in a monastery or an office building – and never despair, for the risen Christ is within you and around you no matter where you are or what you are doing. If it helps, you can print this little prayer and keep it with you. It hangs on my cubicle wall at work. Will you pray this prayer with me, will you be my fellow monk?
Lord of all Heaven and Earth,
Make this office my monastery
Make this desk my cell
Make my coworkers my fellow monks
As I toil on my computer,
Help me to feel your Divine Presence in this place,
Help me to see your crucifixion in the troubles of the day,
And your resurrection in the faces of those around me
Through me Christ,
Bring joy to those who dread to be here,
Bring patience to those who are at their wit’s end,
Bring repentance where there is so much ego
Raise up in me, Spirit
A wellspring of gratitude,
A sound and clear mind,
A patient and kind heart
In the name of the One,
Who blesses our efforts,
Who created this place,
And who gives life to this moment
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