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Posts Tagged ‘Work’

“Never give way to fear or routine”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/06/24 at 12:00 AM
You are going through a critical stage. You feel a certain vague fear and find it difficult to adapt your plan of life. Your work seems to weigh you down, since twenty-four hours are not enough to do everything you ought to each day. Have you tried following the Apostle’s advice: “let all things be done decently and according to order”? That means, in the presence of God, with Him, through Him, and only for Him. (Furrow, 512)

How shall I manage, you seem to ask, to act always in a spirit that leads me to finish all my professional work perfectly? The answer comes not from me, but from St Paul: ‘Work courageously, be strong. And let everything you do be done in a spirit of charity’ [1]. Do everything for Love’s sake and do it freely. Never give way to fear or routine. Serve God Our Father.

Having put them very much to the test, I am very fond of repeating these artless but very expressive verses:

My life consists in loving,
And if with loving I’m familiar,
‘Tis because I’ve sorrowed much;
For there’s no finer lover,
Than one who’s suffered much.*

Go about your professional duties for Love’s sake. Do everything for the sake of Love and (precisely because you are in love, even though you may taste the bitterness of misunderstanding, of injustice, of ingratitude and even of failure in men’s eyes) you will see the result in the wonders that your work produces — rich, abundant fruit, the promise of eternity!

It happens, however, that some people (who are good, or should we rather say ‘goodish’) pay lip service to the beautiful ideal of spreading our faith, but in practice they make do with a superficial and careless professional output. They seem scatterbrained. If we happen to come across such Christians, we should do our best to help them, affectionately but uncompromisingly, having recourse where necessary to the gospel remedy of fraternal correction: ‘Brethren, if a man is found guilty of some fault, you who are spiritually minded ought to show a spirit of gentleness in correcting him. Have an eye upon thyself, lest thou too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and so you will be fulfilling the law of Christ.’ (Friends of God, 68-69)

[1] 1 Cor 16:13‑14

“If you want to be useful, serve”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/02/05 at 12:00 AM
You too have a professional vocation which spurs you on. Well, that spur is the hook to fish for men. Rectify your intention, then, and be sure you acquire all the professional prestige you can for the service of God and of souls. The Lord counts on this too. (Furrow, 491)

And so, as the motto of your work, I can give you this one: If you want to be useful, serve. For, in the first place, in order to do things properly, you must know how to do them. I cannot see the integrity of a person who does not strive to attain professional skills and to carry out properly the task entrusted to his care. It’s not enough to want to do good; we must know how to do it. And, if our desire is real, it will show itself in the effort we make to use the right methods, finishing things well, achieving human perfection.

But human service and technique, our knowledge of our job, should have a feature which was basic to St Joseph’s work and should be so for every Christian: the spirit of service, the desire to contribute to the well‑being of other people. Joseph’s work was not self‑centred, even though his active life made him a strong and forceful personality. When he worked, he was aware that he was carrying out God’s will; he was thinking of his people, of Jesus and Mary, and of everyone in Nazareth. (Christ is passing by, 50-51

“We have to toil away each day with Jesus”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/10/16 at 12:00 AM

 

How happy when they die must be those who have lived heroically every minute of their life! I can assure you it is so, because I have seen the joy of those who have prepared themselves for many years, with calm impatience, for this encounter. (Furrow, 893)

Our Lord has given us as a present our very lives, our senses, our faculties, and countless graces. We have no right to forget that each of us is a worker, one among many, on this plantation where He has placed us to cooperate in the task of providing food for others. This is our place, here within the boundaries of this plantation. Here is where we have to toil away each day with Jesus, helping him in his work of redemption [1].

Allow me to insist. You think your time is for yourself? Your time is for God! It may well be that, by God’s mercy, such selfish thoughts have never entered into your mind. I’m telling you these things in case you ever find your heart wavering in its faith in Christ. Should that happen, I ask you — God asks you — to be true to your commitments, to conquer your pride, to control your imagination, not to be superficial and run away, not to desert. (Friends of God, 49)

[1] cf Col 1:24

“We are ordinary Christians who lead an ordinary life”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/06/12 at 12:00 AM

God is not removing you from your environment. He is not taking you away from the world, or from your condition in life, or from your noble human ambitions, or from your professional work… But he wants you to be a saint – right there! (The Forge, 362)

No matter how much we may have reflected on all this, we should always be surprised when we think of the thirty years of obscurity which made up the greater part of Jesus’ life among men. He lived in obscurity, but, for us, that period is full of light. It illuminates our days and fills them with meaning, for we are ordinary Christians who lead an ordinary life, just like millions of other people all over the world.

That was the way Jesus lived for thirty years, as “the son of the carpenter” [1]. There followed three years of public life, spent among the crowds. People were surprised: “Who is this?” they asked. “Where has he learned these things?” For he was just like them: he had shared the life of ordinary people. He was “the carpenter, the son of Mary” [2]. And he was God; he was achieving the redemption of mankind and “drawing all things to himself” [3].

As with other events in his life, we should never contemplate Jesus’ hidden years without feeling moved. We should realize that they are in themselves a call to shake off our selfishness and easy‑going ways. (Christ is passing by, 14-15)

[1] Matt 13:55
[2] Mark 6:3
[3] John 12:32

Work with cheerfulness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/01/02 at 12:00 AM
“If you say that you want to imitate Christ|… and yet have time on your hands, then you are on the road to lukewarmness. (The Forge, 701)

Professional work ‑‑ and the work of a housewife is one of the greatest of professions ‑‑ is a witness to the worth of the human creature. It provides a chance to develop one’s own personality; it creates a bond of union with others; it constitutes a fund of resources; it is a way of helping in the improvement of the society we live in, and of promoting the progress of the whole human race|… For a Christian, these grand views become even deeper and wider. For work, which Christ took up as something both redeemed and redeeming, becomes a means, a way of holiness, a specific task which sanctifies and can be sanctified. (The Forge, 702)

Work with cheerfulness, with peace, with presence of God. In this way you will also carry out your task with common sense. You will carry it through to the end. Though tiredness is beating you down, you will finish it off well; and your works will be pleasing to God. (The Forge, 744)

You should maintain throughout the day a constant conversation with Our Lord, a conversation fed even by the things that happen in your professional work. Go in spirit to the Tabernacle… and offer to God the work that is in your hands. (The Forge, 745)

“Your human vocation is a part of your divine vocation”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/05/30 at 12:00 AM
As Jesus, who is our Lord and Model, grows in and lives as one of us, he reveals to us that human life – your life – and its humdrum, ordinary business, have a meaning which is divine, which belongs to eternity. (The Forge, 688)

Christian faith and calling affect our whole existence, not just a part of it. Our relations with God necessarily demand giving ourselves, giving ourselves completely. The man of faith sees life, in all its dimensions, from a new perspective: that which is given us by God.

You, who celebrate with me today this feast of St Joseph, are men who work in different human professions; you have your own homes, you belong to so many different countries and have different languages. You have been educated in lecture halls or in factories and offices. You have worked in your profession for years, established professional and personal friendships with your colleagues, helped to solve the problems of your companies and your communities.

Well then: I remind you once again that all this is not foreign to God’s plan. Your human vocation is a part — and an important part — of your divine vocation. That is the reason why you must strive for holiness, giving a particular character to your human personality, a style to your life; contributing at the same time to the sanctification of others, your fellow men; sanctifying your work and your environment: the profession or job that fills your day, your home and family and the country where you were born and which you love. (Christ is passing by, 46)

“Through daily life, give a proof of faith”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/01/24 at 12:00 AM

Many things, whether they be material, technical, economic, social, political or cultural, when left to themselves, or left in the hands of those who lack the light of the faith, become formidable obstacles to the supernatural life. They form a sort of closed shop which is hostile to the Church. You, as a Christian and, perhaps, as a research worker, writer, scientist, politician or labourer, have the duty to sanctify those things. Remember that the whole universe – as the Apostle says – is groaning as in the pangs of labor, awaiting the liberation of the children of God. (Furrow, 311)

I have often spoken of it before, but let me insist once again on the naturalness and simplicity of St Joseph’s life, which was in no way remote from that of his neighbours, and which raised no artificial obstacles to his dealings with them.

So, though it may be proper to some periods or situations, I do not like to talk of catholic workers, catholic engineers, catholic doctors and so on, as if describing a species within a genus, as if Catholics formed a little group separate from others. That creates the impression that there is a chasm between Christians and the rest of society. While respecting the contrary opinion, I think it more correct to speak of workers who are Catholics, or Catholics who are workers or engineers. For a man of faith who practices a profession, whether intellectual, technical or manual, feels himself and is in fact at one with others; he is the same as others, with the same rights and obligations, the same desire to improve, the same interest in facing and solving common problems.

The Catholic who is prepared to live in this way will, through his daily life, give a proof of his faith, hope and charity: a simple and normal testimony without need of pomp and circumstance. The vitality of his life will show the constant presence of the Church in the world, since all Catholics are themselves the Church, because they are members in their own right of the one People of God. (Christ is passing by, 53)

“We see in work a way to sanctity”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/06/13 at 9:11 AM
You say it helps you a lot to wonder how many businessmen have become saints since the time of the early Christians. And you want to show that it is also possible today. The Lord will not abandon you in that effort. (Furrow, 490)

To follow in Christ’s footsteps, today’s apostle does not need to reform anything, but even less has he to take no part in the contemporary affairs going on around him. He has only to act as the first Christians did, and give life to his environment. (Furrow, 320)

What I have always taught, over the last forty years, is that a Christian should do all honest human work, be it intellectual or manual, with the greatest perfection possible: with human perfection (professional competence) and with Christian perfection (for love of God’s Will and as a service to mankind). Human work done in this manner, no matter how humble or insignificant it may seem, helps to shape the world in a Christian way. The world’s divine dimension is made more visible and our human labour is thus incorporated into the marvellous work of Creation and Redemption. It is raised to the order of grace. It is sanctified and becomes God’s work..

We have reminded Christians of the wonderful words of Genesis which tell us that God created man so that he might work, and we have concentrated on the example of Christ, who spent most of His life on earth working as a craftsman in a village. We love human work which He chose as His state in life, which He cultivated and sanctified. We see in work, in men’s noble creative toil not only one of the highest human values, an indispensable means to social progress and to greater justice in the relations between men, but also a sign of God’s Love for His creatures, and of men’s love for each other and for God: we see in work a means of perfection, a way to sanctity. (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 10)

“There are no unimportant posts”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/06/06 at 9:11 AM
In God’s service there are no unimportant posts: all are of great importance. The importance of the post depends on the spiritual level reached by the person filling it. (The Forge, 618)

Now do you understand why a soul loses all sense of peace and serenity when it turns away from its goal, and forgets that it was created by God to be a saint? Strive never to lose this supernatural outlook, not even at times of rest or recreation, which are as important in our daily lives as is work itself.

You can climb to the top of your profession, you can gain the highest acclaim as a reward for your freely chosen endeavors in temporal affairs; but if you abandon the supernatural outlook that should inspire all our human activities, you will have gone sadly astray.

(…)I was saying just now that though you might achieve spectacular success in society, in public affairs, in your own careers, if you neglect your spiritual life and ignore Our Lord you will end up a complete failure. As far as God is concerned — and in the last analysis that is the only thing that matters — victory only comes to those who strive to behave as genuine Christians. There is no middle way. That is why you find so many people who from a human point of view ought to be ever so happy, yet they go about uneasy and embittered. They appear to be overflowing with happiness, but just scratch beneath the surface of their souls and you will discover a bitterness more bitter than gall. This will not happen to us, provided we really try, day in day out, to do God’s will, to give him glory, and praise him and spread his kingdom to all mankind.

(Friends of God, 10-12)

“We see in work a sign of God’s Love”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/03/28 at 9:11 AM
You say it helps you a lot to wonder how many businessmen have become saints since the time of the early Christians. And you want to show that it is also possible today. The Lord will not abandon you in that effort. (Furrow, 490)

A Christian should do all honest human work, be it intellectual or manual, with the greatest perfection possible: with human perfection (professional competence) and with Christian perfection (for love of God’s Will and as a service to mankind). Human work done in this manner, no matter how humble or insignificant it may seem, helps to shape the world in a Christian way. The world’s divine dimension is made more visible and our human labour is thus incorporated into the marvelous work of Creation and Redemption. It is raised to the order of grace. It is sanctified and becomes God’s work.

We have reminded Christians of the wonderful words of Genesis which tell us that God created man so that he might work, and we have concentrated on the example of Christ, who spent most of His life on earth working as a craftsman in a village. We love human work which He chose as His state in life, which He cultivated and sanctified. We see in work, in men’s noble creative toil not only one of the highest human values, an indispensable means to social progress and to greater justice in the relations between men, but also a sign of God’s Love for His creatures, and of men’s love for each other and for God: we see in work a means of perfection, a way to sanctity. (Conversations, 10)