Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: September 4, 2017


I labor. In fact, as a priest and Friar, I labor a lot! Sometimes, I think my work is in vain, then someone comes along and reminds me in subtle ways that God is watching my labor; loves me for my labor. So, I labor.

I labor on the weekdays, when others labor, too. I labor on the weekends and most holidays, when most others do not. I even labored yesterday on my birthday. When God calls you to labor in the vineyard, it is on God’s schedule, on God’s terms, and the work is done when God says it is so. So, I labor.

Many people have come to feel that work is a result of the brokenness of things, or the need for humans to fix things and make more money. Life, sadly for most, is always about what we amass, rather than who we are. In fact, many think that if the world functioned the way it was supposed to, life would be like one long vacation. But, I have found that I gain strength in my labor.
My Catholic Christianity teaches me a very different vision of work; one in which my work – and your work – has a central role to play in the world from it’s very foundation. Even before the world became broken, humanity was called by God to make something of the world on God’s behalf, in no small part through the labor of our hands. Work may have become harder after the fall of mankind, and more intense by ‘the sweat of our brow,’ but the work, in and of itself, is still very good. Our work in the world – our labor together side by side – was designed to be, and continues to be, how God does God’s work in the world. So, we are to labor.
Today is Labor Day, it has been ever since 1882, designed to honor the workforce of this great nation. As we ‘button up’ the construction zone that has made its home within our home for several months, I decided to honor this day by honoring those who labored on our behalf with my earnest prayers.
So, to all who made our next dream possible, I honor you this day, and give thanks to God for you! I honor, and pray for, the architects, the engineers, the surveyors, the roofers, the construction workers, the builders, the masons, the carpenters, the carpet installers, the plumbers, the floor sanders, the electricians, the fence builders, the landscapers, the painters, the drywallers, the window installers, the framers, the HVAC technicians, the tile installers, the artisans of stucco and granite, and those who came to our aid the midst of the flood; I honor all who volunteered to labor for God, and for God’s holy Church. Today, I honor you because through the work of your hands, we have again built something so wonderful, and all that labor, and all that we built, honors God and furthers God’s kingdom little more, until He comes again to welcome us home. Then, and only then, shall we finally rest from our labor. A labor that is, and always has been, very good.
As you go about your chores today – as you labor, or as you rest from your labor – take a moment to remember in your heart a little phrase that allows me to labor, even when most tired and ready to quit. It has become a means for me to acknowledge that no matter what we do, be it washing clothes, changing diapers, planning meals, celebrating Mass, offering comfort, or building homes, that we all labor for God, and in doing so, we really are doing the work of God… 
“Today I labor, and give thanks, ‘thanks be to God’, a God who loves me so…”

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