Origin and Meaning
Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.
In Christian mysticism, the phrase or the Latin motto Ora et Labora reads in full: “Ora et labora, Deus adest son has”. (Pray and work, God is there (ie: God helps without delay.) The pray and work (or “pray and labor“), refers to the monastic practice of working and praying, generally associated with its use in the Rule of St. Benedict.
St. Benedict of Nursia viewed prayer and work as spiritual partners, and believed in combining contemplation with action. The phrase expresses the need to balance prayer and work in hermetic settings and has been used in many religious communities from the Middle Ages onwards. Although the motto “Ora et Labora” applies as a way of life at all Benedictine monasteries up to this day, it is not explicitly elaborated in the rules of life of the Benedictine Order, the Regula Benedicts, which was written by the founder of the Benedictines, St. Benedict.
The German meaning of the Latin verb laborare is: work, suffer, or make an effort to be in trouble and toil.
Ora et Labora thus represents the belief that the path to godhood ultimately can be achieved through prayers and hard work.
Some orders such as the Cistercians, a very stern monastic order, have applied the concept of Ora et Labora directly to farm work and became an element in the movement towards land reclamation agricultural development in Western Europe. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labor and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.
In mystical terms, Ora et Labora reflects a spiritual work ethic that is required from someone that is trailing the many paths of the transcendent journey. Every path is sacred, and deserves not only mindfulness and focus but also effort. Contemplation, one of the many aspects of the meditative work, requires attention and concentration in the pursuit of the refinement of the mind, to reach a one point concentrated mind, without closing it from the connection and the universal overflow of unlimited possibilities.
In modern times, the Ora et Labora is a way of living, where constant prayer is a permanent reflection of gratitude and connection with the Universe, the pure concept of Oneness and reverence for the sacredness of all things.
There are many schools of thoughts besides the ones adopted by the religious orders that utilize the principals of Ora et Labora. An example is the working ethics behind the Fourth Way from George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, and later developed by his disciple, Piotr Demianovich Ouspensky.
Gurdjieff was an Armenian-Greek who grew up at the end of the nineteenth century in a pre-modern environment where the ancient world still prevailed. He developed an alternative spiritual way of living that “inspired” his students to practice their transcendent nature but also required of them manual labor, in order to keep the body aligned with the works of Spirit.
This Master of Ancient Wisdom believed that every individual that allows himself to become a seeker has a purpose, and this purpose can manifest itself though an internal mission and also an external one, which would require physical/ material preparation to be fully accomplished.
“The system is waiting for workers. There is no statement and no thought in it which would not require and admit further development and elaboration. But there are great difficulties in the way of training people for this work, since an ordinary intellectual study of the system is quite insufficient; and there are very few people who agree to other methods of study who are at the same time capable of working by these methods.” ~ Piotr Demianovich Ouspensky, the Fourth Way.
 Latin verb Labor 1 means: do / suffer / suffer from / talking, exerting yourself
 . Benedict contributed more than anyone else to the rise of monasticism in the West. His Rule was the foundational document for thousands of religious communities in the middle ages.
 Or Imperative: Labora
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