The expression, "Ora et labora", hints at the view with which we should see our chosen work.
Translated from the Latin, it means, "Pray and work".
This is the motto of the Benedictine Confederation. Based on the Regula Benedicti, the Rule of Saint Benedict, it is a book of precepts authored by St. Benedict of Nursia in the early sixth century of the Common Era. Its original audience was monks living in the community of a monastery.
But a variant translation is also possible; one that reads "To labor is to pray". In other words, all of our work, I presume paid or volunteer, is in service to God.
That changes the goal and the purpose of the whole thing.
"Pray and work" implies that religion and vocation run parallel to each other, one complementing the other.
"To labor is to pray" puts both faith and vocation in the same lane of traffic, bound in the same direction, with the goal of pure service and all of that being given in glad service to the glory of God.
And that alters, or should alter, our impression of why we do what we do.
At that point, our work becomes sanctified, regardless of what it is that we do. All of it is focused on the glory of God, and to the betterment of our neighbor.
If, however, your work doesn't fulfill that God-moment in you, consider volunteering. The opportunities to share your expertise and compassion in the Elgin area are boundless.
Last March, the Coalition of Elgin Religious Leaders (CERL) held a "Become a Volunteer" event at Judson University. A host of volunteer-driven agencies and organizations were represented. "Recognizing that many area residents desire to help make the community a better place, . . . the goal of the day is to help people who want to make a difference in the community learn more about organizations and agencies where they can volunteer to help."
They represent religious organizations, social service agencies, education, housing, food banks, and many more. And they are always in need of volunteers.
That sort of work truly embodies the concept that "to labor is to pray".
Ah, but don't forget to take some time off to replenish your energy. Even God rested on the Seventh Day after creating, so you're certainly in good company.