Work is also a service to the community of the brothers. And Saint Benedict also allocates a spiritual value to work: “Having nothing to do is harmful to people!”. Monks must - and can - deal with things other than spiritual matters: “At set times they must do manual work.”
Saint Bernard says “What you need to understand books you will find in work! In this way, the wood and the stones can teach you much more than the most famous masters!” Seen in this way, work itself can be considered as a form of … ‘reading’! Thus a person ‘reads’ - while working and doing - in the Book of Nature as it were and in the One Book of God.
Monks prefer simple manual work. This is the most conducive to the experience of seclusion and prayer, which does not mean that no administrative work is required. Or intellectual work, for personal development and the development of others.
Work itself becomes prayer, when it is done in the presence of God.
In work, the monk also experiences solidarity with all people who have to provide for their own livelihood. After all he is only a real monk “when he lives from his manual labour”, says Saint Benedict. This solidarity is very concrete in the relationship with employees.