October 13, 2011

Making the Mundane Holy

Most of my time at work these past two weeks have been filled with paperwork, forms, inputting data and checking the status of our many, many parish volunteers. Thanks to the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People all our parish and school volunteers have to undergo background checks and Virtus training. I agree that, unfortunately, all this is necessary but it seems that each year we are required to add more requirements and paperwork to achieve compliance before the national auditors visit the diocese. Since one of my responsibilities in the parish is volunteer administrator, all this falls on my shoulders.  Yesterday found me complaining to whomever would listen about how all this monotonous work had nothing to do with the ministry I was well educated for and was leaving me little time to do my other work like prepare for classes I am teaching, RCIA, getting ready for the "Missal launch," and for meetings with different ministry groups.

Last evening, after complaining to my husband, he reminded me that St. Benedict asked that those who follow his Rule view work, even the most mundane, as prayer and necessary for the journey toward holiness. As an Oblate I know this, but when it came down to doing this tremendously boring and arduous task, all I thought about was the fact that I didn't want to do it.  He also reminded me that out of obedience I am called to do all that those who have authority over me (my pastor/boss, the diocesan offices) require me to do as part of my job. Again I was given a healthy dose of humility.

As I approached the pile of papers on my desk this morning, I also recalled the words of St. Benedict who wrote, “Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection.” So I began work today praying that I would please God through my work.  It is still boring, but at least I am not resenting it. I also realised that it doesn't all have to be done today and that if I do this work a little at a time it won't seem so overwhelming and I could still get my other work done.

I was also reminded of all those who work at mundane tasks day after day, month after month, year after year just to make a living and provide for their families. These are the forgotten workers, the ones on assembly lines and in factories, those doing repetitive office work, or work  no one else wants to do. They don't complain, they are just happy to have a job, and in these tough economic times that is a blessing.  I offer my work today for them.

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