When we are not living up to our true vocation, thought deadens our life, or substitutes itself for life, or gives in to life so that our life drowns out our thinking and stifles the voice of conscience. When we find our vocation—thought and life are one.

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction.

Dorothy Sayers, Unpopular Opinions

Persistent depression is only too clearly the sign that a man is living contrary to his vocation.

José Ortega y Gasset, The Dehumanization of Art

It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To go to Communion worthily gives God great glory, but a man with a dung fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Principle or Foundation"

One person's definition of leisure: the opportunity not to avoid responsibilities, but rather to redefine them so that work and play become one and the same thing.

Don Scheese, Mountains of Memory

We are probably intended to embark upon a new work, or a new dimension of an old work, every seven years. This suggests the Jubilee cycle which incorporated the understanding that the seventh year, like the seventh day, marked the completion of a work, and that even the spent land would need a period of rest before being able to yield new fruits.

Elizabeth O'Connor, Cry Pain, Cry Hope

The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

One can understand what play is only when one also knows what work is.

Karl Barth, Final Testimonies

We must not grow weary of doing little things for the love of God, who looks not on the great size of the work, but on the love in it.

Brother Lawrence, quoted in Weavings

Those who rhapsodize about the joy of labor are likely to be persons who are not obliged to do much of it.

Karl A. Menninger, "Work as Sublimation"

Lord, let me know clearly the work which You are calling me to do in life. And grant me every grace I need to answer Your call with courage and love and lasting dedication to Your will.

"Vocation Prayer," Saint Meinrad Prayer Book

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Related Elsewhere

Past Reflections columns include:

Bumper Sticker Theology (July 30, 2003)
Songs from the Soul (July 8, 2003)
Walk Humbly (May 28, 2003)
Mercy (May 8, 2004)
Cross and Resurrection (April 16, 2003)
Justice (March 18, 2003)
Sex, Love, and Marriage (Feb. 14, 2003)
Mountaintop Spirituality (January 23, 2003)
Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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