Originally published on Aleteia, republished with their permission.
Hardly anyone wants to head to work on Monday morning, but there may be times in our lives when going to work can fill us with real stress and anxiety. The causes could be any number of things and many aren’t always easy to address.
Nevertheless, one possible solution to these feelings can be found in our spiritual approach to work.
Italian priest Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli explains what he thought was the key to maintaining peace of soul at work in his spiritual classic The Spiritual Combat, published in 1589.
First of all, Scupoli writes, “Let us pray without ceasing that repose may replace the chaos in our hearts, and that a humble submissiveness to God’s will may bring our soul to its former tranquility. Prayer is always the first resort, asking God to grace peace within the soul.
Scupoli then goes on to explain how we shouldn’t let work dominate our lives, becoming the primary focus of our every thought.
Let us not be disturbed by the endless and pointless hurry of the business world; when we are at work, let us attend to business affairs with composure and ease, refraining from rigid conformity to a harsh, exacting schedule, and too great an eagerness to see our work done.
While it is important to do a good job at work and fulfill our obligations, it’s not healthy to let it be the primary reason for our existence.
Instead, “Our principal intention, a continual awareness of God’s holy presence, and an unchanging desire to please him, should preside over all our actions.”
Scupoli mentions that if we let work supersede our desire for the presence of God, “our souls will soon abound with fear and anxiety.”
The key lies in putting God first and foremost in our lives, recognizing that while work is important, it’s not as important as God and the well-being of our soul.
This isn’t always easy to put into practice, but when a person does, peace reigns in their souls.