The way that the Holy Father starts his workday is an inspiration.
What does Pope Francis do first when he gets to his office in the Apostolic Palace every morning? Check his email? Send out a tweet? Go over his “to do” list? During an audience he gave recently to the Carabinieri (a national Italian armed police force) of the St. Peter’s Company, the pontiff revealed an interesting detail of his daily routine:
Every morning when I arrive here in my study in the Library, I pray to Our Lady and then I go to the window to look at the square, to look at the city and there, at the end of the square, I see you. Every morning I greet you with my heart and thank you.
Prayer and gratitude: What better way to start our work day? When we arrive to our work place, how often do we pause for a moment to entrust our work during the day to God and to the intercession of Our Lady? Do we look around us to see (at least with our mind’s eye) those who support and protect us, our immediate coworkers, bosses, etc., so we can greet them, thank them in our hearts, and pray for them?
We might not feel like it; it’s easy to feel a little grumpy some days when we get up to face our family duties, or go to the office (or wherever we work), especially if our morning coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. Also, we might think we don’t have time … but the pope does it, and he’s in charge of guiding the entire Church throughout the world. If he can do it, so can we!
Not only will this habit of prayer and giving thanks open us to receive God’s grace throughout the day, but also it can help us to work with greater generosity and purity of intention, remembering we’re always in God’s presence and always reliant on other people. No one works truly alone or is truly independent. We are supported by God’s grace and by countless people in our community who keep society running, from policemen to engineers, from electricians to bus drivers and janitors. We owe them all our good will, gratitude, and respect, even in small or hidden gestures.
Indeed, Pope Francis told the Carabinieri in the same audience that the way they help people each day “is all the more meritorious when it happens in a hidden way, through those small but significant gestures of your daily service. If even your superiors do not see these hidden acts, you know that God sees them and does not forget them!”
If we don’t do so already, now is a good time for us to imitate this daily habit of the Holy Father. Before we start to work, we can ask for intercession from Our Lady (and from any other favorite saints) and pray to God. We can pause for a moment to consider all the people whose work makes our own possible, greeting them and thanking them (out loud, if we can!) and praying for them. This way, we’ll start our day off on the right foot, in God’s presence and charitably disposed towards others.
How morning prayer can refresh your soul