Our work reflects who we really are
Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Christ was performing so many amazing miracles that the people could not help but exclaim: “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mk 7,37) Eventually through these miracles, among many other things, people were convinced that Christ indeed was the promised redeemer, the Son of God who became man.
Again, if we are to be like Christ as we ought, since Christ is the pattern of our humanity, then we somehow should show that the way we work should reflect that we are children of God in Christ. Our work should not only show the kind and the amount of talents and human powers we have. It should show that we are like Christ. To a certain extent, we can share the praise accorded to Christ that “he has done all things well.”
But first of all, we need to have a proper understanding of the true value of work in our life. As it is, the common understanding of work needs to be clarified and redeemed, because it has strayed from the proper path it is supposed to tread. We need to put it back to where it belongs in our life.
In the first place, our work is part of our human nature. As such, we are meant to work. Work is not a punishment or merely a heavy activity that we should try to avoid. Escaping work is definitely against our humanity.
And so, we need to correct the attitude, regrettably rampant these days, that considers work as something that has to be avoided as much as possible, or that regards it as an unavoidable evil that simply has to be tolerated.
Our work, in fact, perfects us, since it actualizes the potencies that we have. It is what brings us toward our proper development and fulfillment, individually and socially. It enables us to achieve what God has meant for us—that we be his image and likeness.
In the second place, our work, even if humanly speaking is deemed insignificant, will always be part of the abiding providence of God over all his creation. It is what relates us to God and to others, what enables us to attain the ultimate goal of our life—full communion with God and with others.
We need to understand then that our work is a vital part of God’s abiding providence over all his creation, especially over us. Since God’s providence now involves itself in the salvation of man, after we have alienated ourselves from him through sin, both the original and personal, we have to understand that our work ought to be involved too in our own salvation
It therefore has an eminently redemptive character. It just cannot be stuck with purely worldly objectives, no matter how valuable, recommendable and legitimate these worldly objectives are. It just cannot be pursued simply following personal or worldly purposes.
This is where we have to feel the duty to redeem our work from its merely worldly context. It just cannot be wasted on brilliant technicalities, or on some advantageous, profitable and most tempting and irresistible earthly motives and worldly pursuits.
We have to be more aware of the ultimate value and purpose of our work, no matter how small and humanly insignificant it may look. We need to sanctify it, offering it to God and doing our best in carrying it out, and always trying to see how our work at the moment plays in the over-all plan of divine providence.