Monday, September 2, 2013

Some Labor Day Thoughts

The last of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises is called "The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God." One of his "points" is:

"This is to consider how God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labors. Thus, in the heavens, in the elements, the plants, the fruits, the cattle, etc. He gives being, conserves them, confers life and sensation, etc. Then I will reflect on myself."

Figuratively speaking, according to Genesis, God worked for six days in creating the world and then rested. Humanity is made in God's image and likeness and so we are made to work and labor with God for the good of creation.  We are stewards of God's creation.  God cares for creation through us. 

The Gospel at Mass today (Luke 4: 16-30) is what many have called Jesus' "Inaugural Address" in which he announces his plan of action as he begins his active ministry after his "hidden life" of work at home and with his foster father Joseph.  But the people who hear him do not have the eyes of faith and so they reject him and his words. They cannot see how God will accomplish the great works promised by the prophet Isaiah through Jesus. 

We are called to have eyes of faith. One of the goals of the Apostleship of Prayer and the Daily Offering is to offer our daily work to God. Such an offering will, with time, help us to see our work with eyes of faith. By offering our work each day and then reflecting upon the daily work that has been offered, our eyes become more sensitive to seeing God at work through us.  In that way, more and more, our daily work will play a hidden or sometimes more explicit role in the work of preparing creation to receive Jesus in his second coming.

The first Mass reading today (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18) speaks of that second coming when Jesus will raise all people to new life in the Kingdom of God.  Our lives are meant to prepare the world for that day.  Our work plays a role in that preparation. 

In the Our Father we pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done."  When we follow God's will by making an offering of our day with its work, we are allowing the Kingdom of God to break into our lives and the lives of those around us.  Little by little Christ reigns in us and over us. As he reigns, God's work is accomplished in us and through us.  May we have the eyes of faith to see and believe this!

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