It takes the right combination of prayer and action to be happy and fruitful in our lives.
Contemplation and action should never be opposed, Pope Francis said at the Angelus on July 21, 2019. They are two essential aspects of what the Holy Father calls “wisdom of the heart.” This wisdom leads us to understand that the key to a harmonious life is to unite action and contemplation in the most harmonious and profound way possible. Thus, praying without taking any concrete action for a loved one who is sick, in need, or in difficulty, is an incomplete prayer. In the same way, an action that forgets God turns into fruitless busyness .
How can we find a balance between contemplation and action? How can we practice wisdom of the heart, which is “first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity” as St. James the Apostle wrote in his epistle? Prayer and action are both needed, and complement each other: we pray so we can take better action.
This is what St. Benedict summarizes in three words, written in golden letters in his Rule: “Ora et labora,” which means “pray and work.” It is through contemplation, a personal relationship with God, that we forge a strong friendship with Him. Only then can we become able to live fully, and to bring God’s love and tenderness to others.
Here is the advice of some great saints about how to learn wisdom of the heart …