The primary work of any Benedictine monk is the worship of God in the Divine Office and the Mass and St Benedict says that nothing should be preferred to this.
Together with this go the love and service of Christ in the community and its guests. St Benedict’s monks engaged in a variety of works, both in the monastery and outside it, and Downside monks continue this tradition. Since our foundation, we have been involved in pastoral work of varying kinds. Monks work in our parishes, doing all the work of parish priests, celebrating the sacraments, visiting the sick, advising people. They work in our school as teachers and chaplains. They give talks and lead retreats for the many individuals and groups that come to see us. Others work in the carpentry shop, in the grounds, in editing, taking responsibility for the refectory and domestic arrangements, for formation of young monks, for the music or ceremonies… and many monks will have more than one role. The variety of work is enormous and it is not difficult to find work that suits an individual’s gifts, and which can be an expression of the Community’s mission.
Work is not done only in order to pay the bills (though this is not without importance!), but because God ordained that human beings should work on the earth in order to maintain ourselves, our community and the creation he gave us; this is a way of ensuring that we lead a balanced life. In many areas we work not only with other monks, but with laypeople, who can also contribute their expertise and insights.