The Joy of Work.
Work – we all have to do it, whether we like it or not. Even if we like it we tend to have mixed feelings. There is almost an expectation in our society that unless our work is deeply ‘satisfying’ and well paid, we will whinge about it. Yet it doesn’t have to be like that. In the past week, we have celebrated both Labour Day and the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.
Our Christian faith holds that by working we share in God’s creative power. In the Creation Story we see God stopping to admire the divine work and proclaim it as good, even very good. In the Gospels we see Jesus working as a tradesman for years before preaching. We are made in God’s image and we, too, should take satisfaction in our work. No matter how humble or boring it is, we find that when we finish a task and appreciate what we have done, we grow as human beings and we have a sense of satisfaction and joy. Yes, we should be paid a fair wage – that is the way the wider society shows it appreciation of our work – but our respect for and pride in our work is more important than money.
It is important for our children to learn this sense of satisfaction. They need to do chores around the house. Even though it can be a bother for us to teach them (it is far easier to do it ourselves), even though they grumble and argue, even though work done might not be up to scratch, they get a sense of belonging to their family and community that no amount of verbal affirmation can give them and at the same time, you, as parents, have the opportunity to be their teachers in the important skills of life.
Loving God, you delight in creation. As we work, may your Spirit play within us do that we may delight in sharing your care for people and creation. May the example of Jesus, the tradesman, inspire to take pride in our work. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb
St Joseph the Worker – Feast Day – 1st of May
Work gets a bad press. All around us people make out as though working is a bad thing. If only they could win the lottery, they could get away from it all, if only they could retire early…… but would they be happy?
Jesus began his ministry at about 30 years of age. What was he doing before that? Working with his foster-father St Joseph in the family carpentry. Most likely he started helping out as a little nipper, so before he began his preaching he had probably worked for about 25 years. 25 years as a tradie, 3 years preaching. There is an important message here. In the creation stories, we are told how God delighted in making the heavens and the earth and found it all ‘very good.’
There is something inherently good about work. Not drudgery that demeans us. But good, even hard work that we can stand back from and say “It is good.” When we have completed something – be it a shift at the mines, the making of a meal, the teaching of a class, the washing of a dirty child, we need to stop for a moment and admire our work. With God, we should say ‘it is good.” Work should not be valued just by the wage it brings in but, more importantly, by the dignity it gives to us. As we work we share in God’s creative power.
Creative God, you have called us to share in your work of creation. Send us your Sprit that we may work like Jesus, delighting in the work of our hands and minds. We ask this in his name, confident that you may hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb.
Tanby via Yeppoon
Father to Jesus
Yesterday I was at the beach with my nieces and nephews who were doing ‘Nippers’. Somehow, the older ones had set up my shade tent just to the side of the littlies group! Not the best place for reading but a good place to spot what the parents, especially the fathers, were up to: they were watching. Three fathers simply standing there, occasionally joining in when needed, quietly watching their kids run, jump and tumble. So simple and yet so important.
This week we celebrate the Feast of St Joseph, foster father of Jesus. I have a great devotion to St Joseph but ask me what he did that was dramatic and special and I’d have to say, not much. Not much that the world would take notice of. But any art works of him show him doing the simple ordinary things that parents do every day: watching over the children while they play, teaching them how to do things around the house, just being there giving a cuddle. Things that you parents do every day, day in a day out.
This feast celebrates not just St Joseph but the sacredness of ordinary parenting, the day to day works that can sometimes seem like drudgery but which the love of a parent makes holy and special. Take time to savour the beauty of your role, to appreciate the joy and responsibility you have in fostering life and love in your children. Yes, the times of challenge will be there and may, at times, feel like swamping you – that is part of the passion of parenting. All the more reason to hold on to and appreciate the simple times of being together.
Loving Father, thank you for my child/ren and the role that I have in their lives. May I give myself joyfully and lovingly to them and may your wise Spirit guide me when I feel overwhelmed by the challenge. I ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb