Patris Corde 6b: Work as a Participation in the Divine

We continue as Pope Francis looks at the working father. Perhaps any laborer, father or otherwise might find this reflection on the importance of work a helpful thing:

Work is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion. It becomes an opportunity for the fulfilment not only of oneself, but also of that primary cell of society which is the family.

Of course, the primordial example of worker is God the Creator at the beginning of the Torah. Work is not only the fulfillment and expression of the human being and the domestic family. It goes farther into the past. Work is a way for the Divine to express self. Participation in one’s work is potentially a union with God.

Human injustice, alas, has despoiled work all too often, turning it into a slavery or withholding it from those who have a contribution to make in their culture and society:

A family without work is particularly vulnerable to difficulties, tensions, estrangement and even break-up. How can we speak of human dignity without working to ensure that everyone is able to earn a decent living?

What is the modern challenge? Simply to see work as a sacred activity, consecrated by God Almighty.

Working persons, whatever their job may be, are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us. The crisis of our time, which is economic, social, cultural and spiritual, can serve as a summons for all of us to rediscover the value, the importance and necessity of work for bringing about a new “normal” from which no one is excluded. Saint Joseph’s work reminds us that God himself, in becoming (human), did not disdain work. The loss of employment that affects so many of our brothers and sisters, and has increased as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, should serve as a summons to review our priorities. Let us implore Saint Joseph the Worker to help us find ways to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work!

The post-pandemic world two years after this was penned finds us in new circumstances. Workers seem to be more valued. They have more power over employers in some situations. This is a good development. Let’s not forget to petition Joseph for his intercession in the labors ahead.

About catholicsensibility

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