Posted by: Peadar Ban | March 9, 2013

Holy To The Lord

I had a friend who complained to me recently that he was tired of getting up and slogging off to his job yet again.  And, I remember the fellow in a government office who was fond of saying, “Work is for jerks.” He would often seek a place to hide away from the eyes of his supervisors. They, I thought, judiciously did not look for him when they needed someone to do something that needed doing well.
It is Saturday, the week end has begun. There is a line that Maggie Smith’s character in Downton Abbey was given to say which I think has entered the language. “What is a week end?” she asked in wondrous confusion. If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times since. I smiled when I heard it first, and understood the line coming from the character’s mouth, why she said it and what it meant to all of us hearing her say it; she, a person whose days were always Saturday talking in an age when there were quite a lot of people for whom every day was Monday.When I retired a while ago my un-retired friends used to ask me what it was like. “Every night is Friday night. Every day is Saturday.” That was my answer. The truth is that I miss working sometimes.
But then, I wonder, “What is work?” What is “productive labor”? What is a job?I don’t think I know the answer to those questions. I suppose if the souffle collapses, or the bulb doesn’t light, then the work isn’t productive in a sense, but then, I do wonder. I’ll let an Aristotle or an Aquinas figure out why or whether it was or could be, that mess of eggs, that dim bulb. In the meantime this is what I think. I truly did like what I did all those years…well most of it. There were a few things I would rather not have done, or have had to do. I hope that they will have been good for my soul when I have reflected on them…or done penance for them. But, mistakes and missteps are, as a friend taught me, all part of growing up. I know I still have some of that to do.If I have that work to do now, that is the work most valuable to me, I suppose. And, possibly to the rest of the world? My mother, may she rest in peace, used often to tell me, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.”
My father, Lord have mercy on him, too, was a bit more earthy, “Don’t do anything half-a**ed!”  Busy with the things that busy young people I heard what they said, but gave it scant attention. Their words echo, though, as clearly and distinctly as they sounded when they were first said. Perhaps Mom and Dad were really talking to me today; are really talking to me today.The work is never finished. Or, is it not work at all?  Is it really something different; a game, a song, a prayer, an offering? Here are the two things that had me thinking about it this morning:Life in Christ: Catechism #2168
The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD.”One Minute Meditations

Work
When you started your ordinary work again, something like a groan of complaint escaped you: “It’s always the same!”

And I told you: “Yes, it’s always the same. But that ordinary job – which is the same one your fellow workers do – has to be a constant prayer for you. It has the same loveable words, but a different tune each day.”

It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse.
St. Josemaria Escriva

While you go about whatever you do today, work, or play or simply sit and think, rest, too. And keep in mind the real truth, that you, as well as every day, are holy to the Lord:

(An earlier version of this little thing appeared in the Facebook page of The Christian Book Corner.)

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