As we observe Labor Day today, I offer up a prayer of thanksgiving:
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of work and the opportunity it is. Thank you for calling us to continue Your work of creation through the creative gifts you have given us. Thank you for giving us these gifts and for the many ways You guide us and encourage us in using them to minister to others in a myriad of different ways. Thank you for Your constant presence and for Your kind and loving Providence. Thank you for all Your many blessings, Lord - whether we are aware of them or not.
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For further reflection:
Today's first reading (Genesis 2:4-9, 15):
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up -- for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground -- then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
Today's Gospel reading (Matthew 6:31-34):
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day."
Saintly quotes that fit Labor Day:
- "Let your love for one another be constant, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be mutually hospitable without complaining. As generous distributors of God's manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has received. The one who speaks is to deliver God's message. The one who serves is to do it with the strength provided by God. Thus, in all of you God is to be glorified through Jesus Christ." – from 1 Peter 4
- "Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23-24
- "You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them." - Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
- "We must learn what God wants of us, and having learned it, we must try to carry it out, if not generously, at least cheerfully. That is not all. Even if we were destined to look after pigs all our lives, or do the most menial and lowly things in the world, we should love the will of God and the obligations it imposes upon us. No matter what state God places us in, the goal of perfection is the same. This is the goal toward which we all must aim, and whoever comes closest to that goal is the most victorious." - Saint Francis de Sales
- "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." - Saint Augustine
- "We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work." - Saint Francis de Sales
- "Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results." - James Allen (New Zealand statesman and Minister of Defense)
- "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." - The Christophers
- "I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have." - Leonardo da Vinci
- "All work is seed sown. It grows and spreads, and sows itself anew." - Thomas Carlyle
- "God gave man work, not to burden him, but to bless him, and useful work, willingly, cheerfully, effectively done, has always been the finest expression of the human spirit." - Walter R. Courtenay (Professor Emeritus of Zoology, Florida Atlantic University)
- "There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." - Rev. Norman Vincent Peale
Prayer for the Spirit of Work (source unknown):
God our Father, Creator and Ruler of the universe, in every age you call us to use and develop our gifts for the good of others. With St. Joseph as our guide, help us to do the work you have asked and come to the rewards you have promised. Please grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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For further reflection:
Pope John Paul II: On Human Work (Laborem Exercens)