On the Value of Work

Friends in the Lord, Today is Labor Day, and at a time when many suffer from unemployment and worry, let us consider today a few things about work.   
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For the world, work is about producing things, the end-result is all that matters. But for we Christians, we look at work in a much different way.  Work is the means during our day, by which we offer praise to God.  In fact we should praise God in all our activities: in rising, dressing, cooking, playing, and in – working.  
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Work is such a part of us, that we often identify our very self with our work.  I am a mechanic. I am a nurse. I am a homemaker, we say. It’s often a large expression of ourself. For this reason, if we feel little valued at work, we are sad. If we lose our job, we take it personally. Sometimes too personally.  But work is important to us.  
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Fr. Francis Fernandez says,[i] ‘we win heaven by our ordinary work.’  
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Jesus spent 30 years of his life working, and nothing is written about it.  We too, with Christ living in us, offer our daily work to God,  and so to that end, we should do only honest forms of work,  and do it with the greatest perfection possible.  
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Human work done in this manner,  no matter how humble or insignificant it may seem,  helps to shape the world in a Christian way.  
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Enduring with patience those demanding customers; at the job site, returning anger with a kind word –  Every act of goodness that we do and offer, especially the hard ones, makes our work holy, and brings supernatural grace to daily life.  
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The most mundane tasks offered to God, suddenly become valuable. A man cutting grass may decide that the front lawn he will offer for his son, who is going through a difficult time.  And so the man cuts the front yard with perfection.  Grace is brought down to his son, and to himself.  And his work is not done with boredom, but with love.  
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Even the unemployed man should rise on time, and map out a day of work for himself. His main work: looking for a job. Sometimes children come to know their father best when he is out of work, because he has a little more time.  All of these daily offerings are ultimately brought here, to Mass,  to be offered to our Father.   
For Christians, work is not just about results,  because work is OUR way, by which we praise God.    

 

[i] In Conversation with God, Vol 1, p. 344. Info in this homily is from here.

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