The Privilege Of Work

When I was in high school our principal would often tell us: "Girls, work is a privilege!" Now most times we heard her say this was while we were doing the menial and not so pleasant task of scraping gum from the bottom of the folding chairs used at assemblies. So it was hard for us, at least for me, to understand where the privilege was in all this.
It would be many years later after I returned to my faith that I would understand the truth in Sister John Anita's words. This wise woman knew the Christian value to work. I also surmise that she was trying to say that there are many who are out of work or unable to work, and the privilege~ at least part of it was in the simple fact that we could work. She never explained what she meant at the time, and we never asked. In a way I am somewhat glad she never explained her words; I got to figure it out on my own, with God's grace of course.
I now know and understand the Christian value and meaning of work. God has given me the ability, wisdom and knowledge to do what I do each day. He himself gave great dignity when He came in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus worked along side Joseph as a carpenter in Nazareth. Both Jesus and Joseph knew that the ability to work came from God and that there was and is great meaning in our work when it is offered and done for God's glory.
Work can be difficult, and sometimes even mundane. We may be forced to do a job that we are not very fond of and work with others with whom we would not rather not associate. If we look at our work~our jobs as simply a paycheck and praying that we just make it to Friday, we lose the real point of the work and much grace along with it. I think most of us have been in situations like that, or maybe you are in one now. God does want us to be happy here so pray that He will lead you to a job that also fulfills the vocation for which He created you.
In the meantime, I will repeat Sister John Anita's words: "Work is a privilege!" Let us all offer whatever work we do for the glory of God and pray for those who are out of work, or are in jobs where they have ceased to see the meaning.

Prayer to Saint Joseph For Workers

Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.

Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing
towards all.

Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.

When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.


Daily Grace said…
Wow! This is a truly beautiful reflection, especially with unemployment so high. I know that I have so many people call in each week asking if we are hiring. I hear the disappointment in their voices when I have to say, "I am sorry but we aren't hiring now."

Sister John Anita was a very wise woman!

PS.. I love this prayer of St. Joseph for the workers.

God bless
Karinann said…
Thanks Daily Grace. The unemployment story is a sad one. Glad you liked the prayer.
God bless!
Anne said…
This is lovely! I have never heard that particular prayer to St. Joseph before, but I was struck by these words:"Had the Son of God as your fellow worker"

Today, after my lunch break, which always consists of a walk while praying the rosary, I realized that I never walk alone because Jesus is always walking with me. Now I need to apply that to working as well! Great and comforting thought!
Karinann said…
Glad you liked the post and the prayer, Anne. There are several prayers to St Joseph the Worker- this was one I had never seen before as well.
paramedicgirl said…
You have a nice blog! I am going to add you to my blogroll. I also just published a post about work (though I like your title better) The prayer I pray to St. Joseph is published on my sidebar, and I try to pray it every day:

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Karinann said…
Thank you and Welcome, Paramedicgirl.
I am off on retreat this week, but will visit your blog when I return.
Thanks for your prayer to St Joseph.
God bless!