The “Work of God” is one of several names used for the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church. All consecrated men and women, whether priest or religious, celebrate the Work of God, and by doing so partake of the prayer of Christ to the Father on behalf of the world. This daily worship is comprised mainly of the recitation of the psalms, which sanctifies each day.
In the Thesaurus Liturgiae Operis Dei, the Work of God is described as “a prayer that transcends every other kind of prayer. It is distinguished from them all because its specific character is the celebration of the mystery of Christ. Like the Eucharist, with which it is intimately linked, the Work of God is not simply calling past events to mind; it is making present that saving history whose beginning, middle and end are Christ.”
Here at St. Scholastica Priory we pray the Divine Office seven times a day. It is our main work. In it we bring with us all of the intentions and needs of the world. We thank God for the gift of his creation. It is the monastic response to all things and circumstances in our lives because the psalms themselves are the human responses to all of life. In the psalms, we find all the emotions that we experience: anger, longing, hope, despair, joy and sorrow. We bring our humanity into this prayer every day, seven times a day, year after year. It is humanity and divinity coming together. Jesus is praying for the world and we join him in his uninterrupted prayer to the Father. This is a mystery that is incomprehensible, yet I think God gives us a glimpse of this mystery through the structure of the liturgy: every single day, regardless of how difficult the day is or how wonderful, how much the whole world suffers or how much it is rejoicing, we sing “Laudate Dominum” (praise the Lord). And we don’t just sing it once, but consecutively in three psalms (Pss. 148-150). We praise God, believing deep within that he is all in all and that the world is in his loving and merciful hands. “Let everything that lives and breathes give praise to the Lord” (Ps. 150)!