Midafternoon and the bell rings again. The office of None is beginning, and residents of the monastery gather from all corners to take their stations in chapel, in prayer.
But what if one of the nuns is responsible for, say, caring for a Sister in the infirmary? What if Sister Anne is ill with a tummy bug that won't hold off its dire effects until Sister Maria R.N. returns from chapel? Sister Maria would certainly be excused from one way of serving God in order to stay with Sister Anne and thus serve Him in another.
As we live for God in the midst of the world, we have many moments like this one of "Sister Maria." We do not leave our baby alone in his highchair in order to go off, find a quiet corner, and kneel to pray. No, we pray while we tend to the baby. And having made the intention to give this day and all its duties to God, we realize that God accepts our care for the baby AS prayer. We don't leave our family's dinner unprepared, we don't run out of a meeting in our office at work, we do not let stacks of laundry sit unwashed while we pray. We do the necessary tasks of life, and even if we forget to pray AS we do them..... if we've made the intention of offering them, we can trust that God accepts our gift.
We have probably offered God our whole day, perhaps using words like these of St. Francis de Sales: "My God, I give You this day. I offer You, now, all of the good that I shall do.. and I promise to accept, for love of You, all of the difficulty that I shall meet. Help me to conduct myself during this day in a manner pleasing to You."
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