Monday, September 7, 2009

Offering Our Labor to God: A Labor Day Reflection.

On Monday we celebrated Labor Day, where we honor all those who work by giving them the day off!!! St. Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei, spoke a lot about work and how we can us work to sanctify ourselves by offering our work to God. In fact, according to the Opus Dei website, the mission of Opus Dei is to "to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society." One of the ways is by taking peoples every day tasks and jobs and offering them to God.

Work is important. Obviously, without work we would go hungry, would not be able to have a place to stay or put clothes on our back. But more importantly, as St. Josemaria Escriva says, "Work is man's original vocation. It is a blessing from God, and those who consider it a punishment are sadly mistaken. The Lord, who is the best of fathers, placed the first man in Paradise ut operaretur, so that he could work." It is also important that we take time to rest. God rested on the seventh day and ordered us to rest on the Sabbath.

It wasn't just so that we could go to church and worship him. God isn't that self centered that he would want us to rest just so we can pay attention to him (although that is a good thing to do.) God is the loving father who is looking out for us and knows that we need time to rest and regroup.

Another reason, God does not need us to necessarily pause to worship him is because we can worship him everyday with our labor. The key is to offer our work and our labors as a sacrifice to God. St. Josemaria also said, "I have seen many people live heroic lives for God without leaving their own place of work, and I have come to this conclusion: for a Catholic work is not just a matter of just filling a duty--it is to love, to excel oneself gladly in duty and in sacrifice."

This may be a forign idea but it goes along the lines of everything we have down to every heartbeat and every breath we take is given to us by God and in return we should offer everything we have back to God. Offering our work and our labors is one way of doing this. I have to warn you--by offering our work to God it is going to make us work harder. We cannot offer junk to God so we are going to have to ensure we are doing our jobs correctly and not be lazy. "You cannot sactify work which humanly speaking is slapday, for we must not offer God badly done jobs" is another quote from St. Josemaria.

However much we want to complain about the lackadasical work or others. No matter how much we get upset because others are getting away without doing their work we need to continue doing our jobs and doing it well. Don't get me wrong--I can fall into that lazy category just as much as the next guy. I often have to remind myself not to cut corners or to do the right thing because I am offering it to God.

We should thank God for being capable to work and for having the opportunity to work. Like I mention earlier though, God is the loving Father and knows we need rest so we need to make sure we don't overwork ourself. We still need to pause and spend time with our family (that is our vocation afterall.) We still need to take that Sunday rest and just because we are offering our work to God we are not excused from going to mass on Sunday. Even more than rest we need the Eucharist.

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