Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

I recently read an article on the National Catholic Register website about what Fr. Dwight Longnecker calls “wood-chopping therapy.” After visiting a parishioner who he felt was over-worried and anxious about life, his brother suggested that the parishioner needed a good dose of wood-chopping therapy. He, the brother, had recently come home feeling angry and frustrated about something, but after chopping wood for awhile in the back yard, he felt restored of mind and spirit.

Fr. Longnecker interprets his brother’s suggestion as a case study in St. Benedict’s rule to combine prayer and work, ora et labora, to lead a contented, balanced life. St. Benedict mandated that his religious brothers engage in chores throughout the day and that these chores be, whenever possible, physical chores. He too knew of the restorative power of physical labor.

After reading that article, I was craving some wood-chopping therapy. My school day ended somewhat lousily today, and nothing I told myself in my head made any difference. Nothing stuck. I knew that the problem wasn’t in my mind, but rather in my body.

Seeing as how I live in an apartment in a large metropolitan area, however, chopping wood is easier said than done. I went for a walk, hoping to take care of some of the edginess. I was unrelieved. I prayed, simply, for some wood-chopping before the day was through.

Earlier this week, I had arranged to pick up a used sofa from a friend and co-worker. It was a large, heavy sofa with a mattress inside. “Will we be able to carry this?” I asked, referring more to myself than my friend.

After some vein-popping fun, the couch finally made it into the apartment. But before it even got out of the door of his, I knew this was God’s answer to my prayers for a chance to chop wood this evening. The job done, I felt restored to a degree of mental clarity. My lousy day wasn’t so confusing anymore, and I could see things a bit more clearly.

If you need any wood chopped, let me know.


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Need a little inspiration this month?  Check this video out.  I found it on Amy Welborn’s Via Media.:

This one is almost even cooler.

Update:  I decided to make the second one a link so as not to overwhelm this post visually.  Both of them are worth checking out.

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I have the back to school butterflies.  I’m going to pretend, for a moment, that I actually have a readership, and ask the question: are you going back to school?  How do you feel about going back?  What are you looking forward to?  What are you not looking forward to?

Also, a quick prayer from St. Thomas Aquinas:

Grant, O Merciful God, that I might ardently desire, prudently examine, truthfully acknowledge, and perfectly accomplish, what is pleasing to thee for the praise and glory of thy name.

Before I go, one link I’d like to pass along to the USCCB’s daily video reflection on each day’s Mass readings.

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