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Applying Benedict’s Ora et Labora in School

Updated: Jul 12

by Nel Simon Lapore

Grade 9 student of St. Scholastica’s Academy Bacolod


What is Ora et Labora? Ora et Labora are Latin words that mean “prayer and work” or “prayer and labor”. St. Benedict viewed prayer and work as partners and believed in complying the value of piety with action.


This principle can be applied by the youth who continue to appreciate it as a tradition of their Benedictine nature.


This phrase existed in a monastic setting during the Middle Ages, where many religious communities complied with its function as an influence. Although people tend to forget this Benedictine exercise, we must see it as an advantage that should be heeded in our spiritual and physical lives.


As one of the students of St. Scholastica’s Academy Bacolod, Ora et Labora was taught to us both as a religious and a spiritual lesson that must be remembered as an important factor in our lives. It serves as the motto for our school and all other Benedictine schools. With it as a prominent involvement in our community, the community itself does its best to promote it as a normalized aspect in a student’s life.


ORA

My school promotes prayer (ora) as a major factor in our commitment as Catholics and Benedictine students. It is taught to us that prayer must be an important part in a person’s existence. When we eat, we pray. When we sleep, we pray. When we study, we pray. When we are troubled, we pray. When we are grateful, we pray, etc.


Prayer is a connection between yourself and God, and therefore your own personal bond with Him. We have prayer encouraged through different religious activities in my school; we listen to Lectio Divina every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, and we have Morning Praise during Monday and Devotion to Mother Mary every Wednesday. We also acknowledge prayers within the day, like the Angelus during noon and the Three o’clock prayer. My school also holds Eucharistic Celebrations every first Friday of the month as well as during special occasions such as Misa Ng Bayan. We also celebrate the Month of the Rosary every October when we would pray the rosary everyday.


Students may take for granted prayer because of their stubbornness or distorted understandings. Since students are mostly adolescents, especially in high school, we tend to grow and fashion our own opinions about various topics.


Personally, as a growing adolescent, my mental state isn’t always at its best so I tend to forget to talk to the Lord about my problems. I found it hard to express such thoughts to other people as well but in my years in the Catholic school, I found prayer to be an impactful solution, no matter how much I found it useless in my misguided states.

I remember being depressed in my younger years but I’ve always been fascinated by the words of the priest during the homily every time I would attend mass. They have always inspired my way of thinking and eventually made me believe I could be better and do better.


As the Holy Eucharist is considered a form of prayer, I utterly encourage you, as a student to attend the Holy Mass, listen to the homilies and prayers, and reflect on the aspects of your life that intend to make you and your mental state improve.

LABORA

Working hard is always an impactful value, even when you are a student. Skills and talents are extraordinary gifts from God that must be shared and cherished. We must use these gifts to reach our dreams and color the world with passion.


With this, we must work hard to apply knowledge within our minds to be aware, to create opinions, to fathom solutions and to understand emotions. School is an education system that provides the students the opportunity to study and develop understandings on certain topics. The school promotes work as the foundation of its system. We take tests, exams, debates, essays, that furthermore helps us improve.

There are also activities like sports that establish competition within the youth. They would also assign us students to clean on scheduled days to lessen the work of janitors and to improve our obligation to take good care of our classrooms. Clubs are also a fascinating learning experience since they contain a variety of skills and talents that are all dependent on the student’s choice.


To work hard, to strive hard is to definitely achieve or attain something. In my own experience, I’ve felt that studying is always an obligation but at the same time we need to normalize it in our lives so that we may be able to enjoy our youth further.

To elaborate, studying and working for me must be paid attention to, whenever it may come. And for the rest of my free time, I’d also spend it having fun but also learning something within that fun. But whenever you do fail, think of it as somewhat of a benefit, since you still learn something from what you’ve lost, and it would still allow you to grow.


Pressuring a student with so much work, stress and obligations is too much. Stress and work are overall inevitable but you need to have a mindset that you’re learning something in return and that all your hard work will pay off.


Aside from studying, I’ve always been fond of sports, most especially, in my case, softball. Sport aspirers would join different sports activities that the school offers. We have NOPSSCEA (Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports Cultural and Educational Association) which lets the students compete with other schools. We have the INTRAMURALS which lets us compete by grade level. We also have CHEERDANCE, where students showcase their dance as a batch and compete with other batches. But before all of these take place, practices become mandatory. I would practice every time I can for softball, I’d get tired and exhausted after practices but it all ends up to be fun and beneficial.


A big part in our MAPEH grade as well is to practice the CHEERDANCE. We would practice the choreography every day or every time we can. Practice and working hard are always valuable aspects in winning or reaching your goals.


Overall, it is a student’s choice to practice Ora et Labora. To create a kind of atmosphere, through these words, that would give the youth of today a sense of enlightenment in St. Benedict’s heart. Any student may embrace the meaning of these words: no matter where you study or who you are, you are sustaining the foundation of St. Benedict’s truth.

First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection. -St. Benedict


Photos by: Clyde Ericson H. Nolasco

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