The Principal Duties of the Day ~ Working, Eating (Part Three)


Painting by Frederick George Cotman

Part One is here.

Part Two is here.

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1950’s


Most men work seven, eight, ten hours a day, and some even more. This goes on for fifty, sixty or even seventy years. All these countless hours are, for many, completely lost! Also, work for some is irksome, especially when it does not bring in the desired profits. Others enjoy their work but never think of doing it for God, and they too lose the immense merits of all these long hours.

Everyone should bear in mind that work was expressly imposed on us by God as a penance for sin. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” (Gen. 3:19). If we work in this spirit, every moment of labor is a meritorious penance.

And when our work is not successful, we have the great consolation of knowing that it brings us a still greater reward because of the mortification resulting from our failure.

In our Morning Offering we should be careful to emphasize the words, “I offer all the work, all the actions of this day for the intentions of the Sacred Heart.”

Few Christians feel inclined to practice penance for their many sins. Consequently, their pains in Purgatory will be long and severe. If, however, we offer our life’s work, the work of every day, its weariness, worries and disappointments, we are doing excellent penance, the holiest we can perform, because it has been imposed by God Himself and we are doing it every day of our lives.

Moreover, our work, our every action, if done for God, will receive abundant rewards because they are acts of love. All these innumerable graces are utterly lost if we fail to do our work with the proper dispostions, viz., a) as acts of penance, b) as acts of love.

By making our Morning Offering with full deliberation, the countless acts of each day become acts of merit.


This is another all-important duty of our lives, one too which ought to inspire us with gratitude to God for the abundant and good food He gives us. Alas, eating is a duty which for many is not only devoid of merit but the occasion of many sins!

We should commence our meals by saying the usual short grace: “Bless us, 0 Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen,” asking God to bless us and the food and drink which we are about to consume. This blessing will certainly please God and give our food an additional nutritive value.

On one occasion wicked men sought to kill St. Benedict by offering him a glass of poisoned wine. The Saint, as was his wont, made the Sign of the Cross over the wine before tasting it; whereupon, the glass was shattered into pieces and the malice of his false friends made manifest.

Doctors assure us that much illness is caused by eating too much, by eating too hastily, and by eating what is not good for us. Many commit these faults, which are injurious to both soul and body.

A safe rule to follow is to arise from table before being fully satisfied, but rather with an inclination to eat more. Mr. Gladstone at the age of 80 declared that he attributed his great age and splendid health to the fact that he ate slowly, and carefully masticated his food.

Eminent doctors advise their patients to observe carefully what foods agree best with them and what are likely to do them harm, choosing the former and avoiding the latter. Those who follow this sage advice will enjoy good health and save themselves from many sins.


We are reminded by the bread we take and the meat we eat of the Heavenly Bread we have received so often in Holy Communion, and of the Flesh of Jesus Christ which we have eaten at the Sacred Table. This thought is a beautiful Spiritual Communion.


“O My God, I offer Thee this act in union with Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in praise of Thine Eternal Majesty.”

This prayer, Our Lord assured St. Gertrude, gives indescribable value to any act we perform.

“O my God, I offer Thee the awful thirst Jesus Christ suffered in the Passion, His fast in the desert, His Divine moderation during His life on Earth.”

This prayer obtains pardon for any want of abstemiousness and for any gluttony in eating and drinking we may be guilty of.

Let us be content with the food which is placed before us. St. Paul’s words must be before our minds: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).

We should not be unchristian in showing our dislike or discontent when our food is not just to our liking. If there is something very wrong with what is placed before us, then we may call attention to it courteously. We must eat as intelligent beings, not as animals.

He gave Mary what her Heart most desired, the simple ordinary life of women, that she might live this life in her sweet, simple way, and sanctify it for the multitude of women who should follow her, that she might leave an example to her children, so sweet, so captivating, that they hereafter might love to walk in her footsteps; that she might be the pattern of a perfect woman to them. ~Mother Mary Potter

Do you need some good book suggestions? Visit My Book List.

%d bloggers like this: