Laudato Si 127: The Meaning of Work

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. St John Paul gives us guidance today, rooted in the impulse of the Second Vatican Council:

127. We are convinced that “(humankind) is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life”.[Gaudium et Spes 63.]

Without stepping aside from the impulse of the culture, we can be seduced by its false and abusive approach to work:

Nonetheless, once our human capacity for contemplation and reverence is impaired, it becomes easy for the meaning of work to be misunderstood.[Centesimus Annus 37]

Properly understood, work does more than develop material assets:

We need to remember that men and women have “the capacity to improve their lot, to further their moral growth and to develop their spiritual endowments”.[Populorum Progressio 34]

Speaking from the inspiration of his second predecessor, consider Pope Francis’ list …

Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play:

  • creativity,
  • planning for the future,
  • developing our talents,
  • living out our values,
  • relating to others,
  • giving glory to God.

Pope Benedict seems unsatisfied with unemployment rates of any size:

It follows that, in the reality of today’s global society, it is essential that “we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone”,[Caritas in Veritate 32] no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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