Work and prayer

Daily Reading for September 2 • The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

If you are at your manual labor in your room and it comes time to pray, do not say: “I will use up my supply of branches or finish weaving the little basket, and then I will rise,” but rise immediately and render to God the prayer that is owed him. Otherwise, little by little you come to neglect your prayer and your duty habitually, and your soul will become a wasteland devoid of every spiritual and bodily work. For right at the beginning your will is apparent.

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, quoted in Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life by Hugh Feiss (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999).