How To Be A Divine Presence In Everyday Life
Over time, as we gain in our ability to find God in the pleasures and problems of everyday life—and not simply in signs, wonders, and spiritual experiences—we can gain a deep love and respect for God, creation, and our own existence. From the very beginning of the Old Testament, work is portrayed as a divine ordinance for humanity Genesis — This charge was carried out so thoroughly by the Hebrews that they were eventually instructed to rest periodically rather than work longer or harder Exodus — In like manner, our modern society places a great emphasis on careers.
Presence and Encounter: The Sacramental Possibilities of Everyday Life
For many of us, the workplace is the dominant reality. More energy goes into our occupations than into our home lives. More status is accorded to what we do at work than to any other factor. We ascribe more significance to our occupations than to any other activity and, as a result, generally worry more about them than about our health, families, and friends. Finally, more time is put into our work than anything else we do.
The average, gainfully-employed adult in the United States spends approximately 88, hours in the workplace from his or her first full day of employment until retirement. Indeed, if we endure our work simply to engage in spiritual pursuits in our leisure time, then we can understandably feel jealous of early Christian monks such as the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
These saints freely meditated on God while engaged only in simple tasks. Although work is the dominant reality in our waking lives, it is generally given little spiritual reflection. How often do we seriously consider the purpose and meaning of our work? What, apart from wages, an A on a test, or a Thank you from a family member, do we receive for our efforts? How does work contribute spiritually to our personal, family, and community lives? Work and spirituality now appear as opposites. The latter seems distant and generally irrelevant to this major component of our lives.
The Practice of Divine Presence
On another level, some connection between the two is possible either by recalling meaningful, work-related moments or by hoping for future encounters with God and His kingdom while engaged in our labors. Yet, this reflection and anticipation can never focus our attention on the here-and-now spirituality rooted in our daily affairs.
The former practice is inadequate because it relegates the spiritual component of work to past memories, whereas the latter practice is deficient because it keeps us from discerning anything spiritual in our work until our next inspiring experience. Unfortunately, in our hesitation or unwillingness to seek spiritual meaning in our immediate tasks and duties, we ghettoize the kingdom of God by restricting it to the religious arena. Regrettably, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin vividly points out, this hierarchical understanding of the spirituality of work is widespread among Christians.
In spite of the practice of right intentions, and the day offered every morning to God, the general run of the faithful dimly feel that the time spent at the office or the studio, in the fields or in the factory, is time spent away from prayer and adoration. This perspective is one of the major causes for the under-investment in work among Christians. In light of this false dichotomy, how can we make our daily work a less secular experience? We could take an extreme approach and forsake our daily affairs for church-related or monastic pursuits.
More feasibly, we could step back periodically from family, occupation, and community obligations in order to reconnect with God. I trust that these simple, yet profound words written by a faithful servant of Christ over years ago will inspire you as much as they have me.
My desire is that many Christians will learn to practice the presence of God at work and experience the same joy that Brother Lawrence had. Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Through our participation in the world we discover the way things should—or ought—to be.
This is true in our understanding…. Almost all of us can remember a time in our lives when God, through his Holy Spirit used something, a…. Need assistance with this form?
Skip to content. I love this. Every day at work was a mountaintop experience for him.
Army Master Sergeant. Russ is a husband of 38 years, father of three adult children, and grandfather of four. Read more of his work at regehrlein.
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Chapter 5 - Welcoming Divine Presence
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