Spiritual value of work

No matter what kind of work we do – whether inside or outside the home – our daily duties have a spiritual dimension.

The Church offers us a rich theology of work, what St John Paul II calls a “gospel of work,” that may revolutionize how we see our workaday lives. In Laborem Exercens, JPII explains that we are in fact collaborating with God’s work of both creation and redemption.

“The Church finds in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth.” God created us in His image and gave us the task of earthly stewardship. “In carrying out this mandate, man, every human being, reflects the very action of the Creator of the universe” (4).

This truth took on special resonance when God became man in Jesus, and worked in St Joseph’s carpentry shop. Jesus “belongs to the ‘working world’…He looks with love upon human work and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a particular facet of man’s likeness with God, the Creator and Father” (26).

And the “sweat and toil” of our work likewise give us a share in Christ’s work:

This work of salvation came about through suffering and death on a Cross. By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity. He shows himself a true disciple of Christ by carrying the cross in his turn every day in the activity that he is called upon to perform. The Christian finds in human work a small part of the Cross of Christ and accepts it in the same spirit of redemption in which Christ accepted His Cross for us (27).

Advertisements

Engaging the Gospel – Mark 6:30-34

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – Mark 6:30-34

Jesus’ invitation to the apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while,” underscores the proper value of rest:

God’s action is the model for human action. If God rested and was refreshed on the seventh day [of creation], man too ought to rest and should let others, especially the poor, be refreshed. The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.

— Catechism paragraph 2172.

“Work is for man, not man for work” (2428).

In the early Church, the Jewish sabbath precepts of worshiping God and refraining from work were transferred to Sunday, the Lord’s Day (2175-76, 2184-85).

St John Paul II set out to reclaim this authentic understanding of Sunday rest in Dies Domini:

‘The Lord’s Day’ is ‘the lord of days.’…

I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction.

He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us ‘his day’ as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings.

Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained.

Question for reflection: How well do I set aside time to rest in the Lord?