Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Work Good For Us?

There is an intimate connection between human work and self-fulfillment as an image of God.
“You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field” - Ps 8:5-7
God created the world for humans and our work “unlocks” the world for us.
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” - Genesis 3:19
“By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucicified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity.” (JPII, LE, 27) -
Christ endured the cross and we are to endure our toil and unite our work to His. Work is also what God did when He created the world and we are made to imitate God's creative work in our own work. Work also helps us participate in the sacrifice of Jesus through the Eucharist: “which earth has given and human hands have made”, “fruit of the vine and work of human hands”. 

Paul tells us that
love is self-giving and thus working selflessly is loving.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” - Galatians 5:13
We become Christ-like in our service, thus being free from sin makes us free to serve others.
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” - 1 Thess 4:9-12
Paul teaches us that work is part of how we love our neighbor.
The Catechism tells us about the plan of work that God has for man.
306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.
307 To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of "subduing" the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbours. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings. They then fully become "God's fellow workers" and co-workers for his kingdom.
Some Questions to think about:
  • Do we allow our work to be united with God's work? 
  • Is our work a time of conversion? 
  • Are we allowing God to work through us in what we do?
  • Do we see our work as an opportunity to grow in holiness?

Work hard.