WORK AND ORDINARY LIFE

| Streetside Faithful | The Choicest Offering | All For God | A Time To Work, A Time to Rest |

Streetside Faithful

"Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you." (From the Prayer for the Intercession of the Servant of God John Paul II)

Christ, the Man of Work.
"The truth that by means of work man participates in the activity of God himself, his Creator, was given particular prominence by Jesus Christ-the Jesus at whom many of his first listeners in Nazareth "were astonished, saying, 'Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?.. Is not this the carpenter?'" (Mk 6:2-3). For Jesus not only proclaimed but first and foremost fulfilled by his deeds the "gospel", the word of eternal Wisdom, that had been entrusted to him. Therefore this was also "the gospel of work", because he who proclaimed it was himself a man of work, a craftsman like Joseph of Nazareth (cf. Mt 13:55)." (John Paul II, Laborem exercens, 26)

"In the Greek world, intellectual work alone was considered worthy of a free man. Manual work was left to slaves.

"The biblical religion is quite different. Here, the Creator - who according to a beautiful image, made man with his own hands - appears exactly as the example of a man who works with his hands, and in so doing works with his brain and his heart. Man imitates the Creator so that this world given to him by the Creator may be an inhabitable world.

"This is apparent in the biblical narrative from the very start. But in the end, the nobility and grandeur of this work strongly emerges from the fact that Jesus was a "tecton", an "artisan", a "worker".

"Now, so close to the celebration of Christmas, is the time to say "thank you" for all of this, for your work, which encourages me - just as you have given everything - to give on my part, at this late stage in my life, everything that I can give."
(Benedict XVI, Address to the Employees Who Renovated the Papal Apartments, 23 December 2005)

"Jesus began and lived his work in the midst of his people: the neighbours of Nazareth referred to him indiscriminately as faber and fabri filius: worker and son of a worker. The Lord, first as a child, then as a youth, by helping in Joseph's workshop, did not avoid sacrifice in order to carry out his duties well. Saint Mark documented this, stating that: 'omnia bene fecit'; 'He has done all things well' (Mk 7:37). 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.' (Mt 25:21)
(John Paul II, Homily, Eucharistic Celebration in Cabinda, Angola, 8 June 1992, no 4)

"There are some religions which teach people to be afraid of creation, of the forces of nature and events or the movements of the stars and the earth. This fear paralyses man and renders him passive, like a spectator, almost a victim of these forces and situations which he interprets as desired and commanded by his gods.

"On the contrary, we Christians feel great joy when we think of the immense vision of peace and of living hope revealed to us by our Redeemer who, out of love for mankind, showed us the glory of his kingdom through daily routine. A Christian is greatly privileged to know that the path which God asks him to sanctify is to be found in the midst of normal daily occupations, in his ordinary time."
(John Paul II, Homily, Eucharistic Celebration in Cabinda, Angola, 8 June 1992, no 3)

"How lovely it is to contemplate Mary, the Mother of God made man, as she goes about her daily chores with love and devotion, intimately united in thought and deed with her son Jesus." (John Paul II, Homily, Eucharistic Celebration in Cabinda, Angola, 8 June 1992, no 4)

"The Lord wants his children, those of us who have received the gift of faith, to proclaim the original optimistic view of creation, the love for the world which is at the heart of the Christian message.
"So there should always be enthusiasm in your professional work, and in your effort to build up the earthly city."(St Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 703)

"As a Christian you have a duty to act and not stand aloof, making your contribution to serve the common good loyally and with personal freedom." (St Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 703)

"We children of God, who are citizens with the same standing as any others, have to take part fearlessly in all honest human activities and organizations, so that Christ may be present in them.
"Our Lord will ask a strict account of each one of us if through neglect or love of comfort we do not freely strive to play a part in the human developments and decisions on which the present and future of society depend."(St Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 715)

"You are an ordinary citizen. It is precisely because of that secularity of yours, which is the same as, and neither more nor less than, that of your colleagues, that you have to be sufficiently brave which may sometimes mean being very brave to make your faith felt. They should see your good works and the motive that drives you to do them." (St Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 723)

"Many times I have kissed the hands of a poor sick man or that of a worker--hands filled with wounds or callouses--because they have been sanctified, martyred, by work." (St Josemaria, 1941)

Chapter V.-The Manners of the Christians.

"For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking18 method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring.19 They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred."

Chapter VI.-The Relation of Christians to the World.

"To sum up all in one word-what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world. The invisible soul is guarded by the visible body, and Christians are known indeed to be in the world, but their godliness remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul, and wars against it, though itself suffering no injury, because it is prevented from enjoying pleasures; the world also hates the Christians, though in nowise injured, because they abjure pleasures. The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and [loves also] the members; Christians likewise love those that hate them. The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves that very body; and Christians are confined in the world as in a prison, and yet they are the preservers of the world. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tabernacle; and Christians dwell as sojourners in corruptible [bodies], looking for an incorruptible dwelling in the heavens. The soul, when but ill-provided with food and drink, becomes better; in like manner, the Christians, though subjected day by day to punishment, increase the more in number. God has assigned them this illustrious position, which it were unlawful for them to forsake."
(Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, Chapters 5 and 6)

WHAT HAVE WE DONE TODAY?
by Nixon Waterman

We shall do much in the years to come,
But what have we done today?
We shall give out gold in a princely sum,
But what did we give today?
We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,
We shall speak the words of love and cheer,
But what did we speak today ?

We shall be so kind in the after while,
But what have we done today?
We shall bring to each lonely life a smile,
But what have we brought today?
We shall give to truth a grander birth,
And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,
We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,
But whom have we fed today?

We shall reap such joys in the by and by,
But what have we sown today?
We shall build us mansions in the sky,
But what have we built today?
`Tis sweet in the idle dreams to bask;
But here and now, do we our task?
Yet, this is the thing our souls must ask,
What have we done today ?

The Choicest Offerings

"Offer ye my oblation and my bread, and burnt sacrifice of most sweet odour, in their due seasons." (Num 28:2 and passim)

"You shall offer them all without blemish." (Num 28:3) (See also Num 29:36; Lev 4:3; Ez 46:4; Lev 14:10; etc.)

BE THE BEST OF WHATEVER YOU ARE (one version)
by Douglas Malloch

If you can't be the pine at the top of the hill
Be a shrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass--
But be the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, some's got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do and lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun, be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail--
Be the best of whatever you are!

"Christian responsibility in work cannot be limited to just putting in the hours. It means carrying out the task with technical and professional competence|... and, above all, with love of God." (St Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 705)

"Work well done is not the same as work that comes out well. Bees do a marvelous job with their hives, they produce very delicious honey, but they do not work, because they are not capable of love. What counts is the interior attitude, not the outcome. Dominus autem intuetur cor. (I Sam 16:7)." (Alvaro del Portillo, 1991)

"The harder you work, the luckier you get." (Gary Player)

"People who rest on their laurels are wearing them on the wrong end." (Unknown)

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." (Will Rogers)

All For God

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Col 3:1-2)

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col 3:17)

"Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ."(Col 3:23-34)

"The great works which distinguish Christians in the world must bear the stamp of love: a love carried to the extreme, where the smallest gesture is never banal, but rather full of life because it transcends as far as the greatness of God."
(John Paul II, Homily, Eucharistic Celebration in Cabinda, Angola, 8 June 1992, no 5)

"Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness [literally: "from your bounty"] we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made: it will become for us the bread of life.
"Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands: it will become for us a spiritual drink." (From the Offertory of the Mass)

A Time to Work, A Time To Rest

"And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." (Mk 6:13)

"Cast your cares upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. Iacta super Dominum curam tuam et ipse te enutriet." (Ps 54:22)

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mt 11:28)

"Man ought to imitate God both in working and also in resting, since God himself wished to present his own creative activity under the form of work and rest." (John Paul II, Laborem exercens, 25)

Inscription in the Galleria del Fumo: Heic dum fumum suaviter leniterque sugis molestias arce omnesque obliviscere defaticantes curas quo melius muneri tuo dei operam naves. (As you gently and placidly breathe the smoke, forget here all your tiring occupations, keep the worries away, so that you can dedicate yourself better to your work.)


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