Day 4: Dignity of Work

 
Dignity of Work
 
Hymn 
 
Lord, our God, whose mighty hand 
Carved out the seas and built the land; 
Who, by the labors of our Lord, 
The honor Adam lost, restored:
 
Let us be joined to Christ, Your Son,
That in His work we may be one;
So we shall in our work partake 
Of God, whom we by sloth forsake.
 
Through Jesus Christ let this be done 
Who lives and reigns, our Lord, Your Son, 
Whom with the Spirit we adore, 
One God with You forevermore.
 
Antiphon 
 
P. The work of the just is unto life: / but the fruit of the wicked unto sin. 
 
(Psalm 126)
 
All: Unless the Lord built the house, they labor in vain who build it.
 
Unless the Lord guard the city, / in vain does the guard keep vigil.
 
It is vain for you to rise early, / or put off your rest,
 
You that eat hard-earned bread, / for he gives to his beloved in sleep.
 
Behold, sons are a gift from the Lord; / the fruit of the womb is a reward.
 
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior / are the sons of one’s youth.
 
Happy the man whose quiver is filled with them; / he shall not be put to shame when they contend with enemies at the gate.
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Spirit,
 
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be / world without end. Amen
 
Antiphon
 
All: The work of the just is unto life: / but the fruit of the wicked unto sin.
 
P. (Chapter–II Thessalonians 3:8-12) Neither did we eat any man’s bread at his cost, but we worked night and day in labor and toil, so that we might not burden any of you. Not that we did not have the right to do so, but that we might make ourselves an example for you to imitate us. For, indeed when we were with you we used to charge you: if any man will not work, neither let him eat. For we have heard that some among you are living irregularly, doing no work but busy at meddling. Now such persons we charge and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own bread.
 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. Honor the Lord with your substance.
R. And give him of the first of all your fruits.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
 
Let us pray.
 
P. O Lord, let us follow the blessed farmer Isidore’s example of patience and humility, and walk so faithfully in his footsteps that by his intercession in the evening of life, we can offer You a rich harvest of merits and good works, through Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V. St. Isidore.
R. Pray for us.
 
Prayer in Honor of Saint Isidore
 
All: O God, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, / and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, / revealed Yourself the husbandman of our souls, / deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, / to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, / so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, / we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
V. Let us bless the Lord. 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. R. Amen.
 
REFLECTION
 
St. Paul in his first epistle to the Thessalonians (4:11) says, “Strive to live peacefully, minding your own affairs, working with your own hands, as we charged you, so that you may walk becomingly towards outsiders, and may need nothing.”
 
The nobility of physical labor is praised both in the Old and New Testaments. The humble workshop of Nazareth and the little hillside and stony field where the Holy Family worked and earned its sustenance are shining examples of the regard in which Christ Himself held physical labor. “Christ took for granted the duty of labor. His parables presuppose the law of work. They have for their protagonist, a sower, a vineyard planter, a shepherd, a fisherman, a housebuilder, an employer, a housekeeper. They allude to their work as something natural, something presupposed.” (“The Attitude Towards Labor in Early Christianity and Ancient Culture,” Geohegan)
 
Throughout the centuries the most prominent Church writers taught the nobility of labor while great saints, by their personal example, pointed the way for all of us to follow. “Manual labor is absolutely necessary for the preservation of the human race. The earth does not give up her many fruits except by the labor of men. Since man needs the fruits of the earth to sustain life, it follows that he must work to get them.” (“The Philosophy of Labor According to Thomas Aquinas,” Killeen.)
 
One of the greatest evils in the world today is the dislike for physical labor and the effort many people make to avoid it. In so doing they go counter to the teaching and example of Christ, the saints, and the repeated urgings of our great Pontiffs in Rome. Pius XII stated most emphatically, “As an indispensable means toward gaining over the world that mastery which God wishes, for His glory, all work has an inherent dignity and at the same time a close connection with the perfection of the person; this is the noble dignity and privilege of work, which is not in any way cheapened by the fatigue and the burden, which have to be borne as the effect of original sin, in obedience and submission to the will of God.”
 
Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (etc.), three times, followed by a prayer of your choice for special needs.