Benedict XVI on Theodore the Studite: “An Important Virtue … Is Love for Work”

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Theodore the Studite, an important virtue, together with obedience and humility, is philergia, that is, love for work, which he sees as a criterion to prove the quality of personal devotion. One who is fervent in material commitments, who works assiduously, he maintains, is the same in the spiritual realm. In this regard, he does not allow that with the pretext of prayer and contemplation, the monk dispenses with work, including manual work, which in reality is, according to him and to the monastic tradition, the means to encounter God.

Theodore is not afraid to speak of work as the "sacrifice of the monk," of his "liturgy," even of a type of Mass through which the monastic life converts into angelical life. And precisely in this way the world of work is humanized and man, through work, becomes more himself, closer to God. A consequence of this singular vision deserves to be considered: Precisely because it is the fruit of a form of "liturgy," the riches that come from common work should not serve the comfort of the monks, but should be destined for the help of the poor. In this, all of us can see the need for the fruit of work to be a good for everyone. Obviously the work of the "studites" was not only manual: They had great importance in the religious-cultural development of the Byzantine culture as calligraphers, painters, poets, educators of youth, teachers in schools, librarians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

1 Comments
Posted May 29, 2009 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. nwlayman wrote:

What a good writer the Pope is.  I wish the Orthodox had more minds like this.  I also wish Pope Benedict didn’t think he was Bishop of Earth so he’d be closer yet to the Orthodox.  Another day.  A great essay on a great saint.

May 30, 1:45 pm | [comment link]
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