As a nation, we celebrate Labor Day. On this day we honor all those who labor for a living. We are encouraged to thank them for their service to their families, and for their service to all those who benefit from their efforts. In addition, we can remember and pray for all those who are now retired after many years of labor, and for the unemployed and underemployed. We can also pray for those laborers impacted by the COVID-19 Virus in these difficult and uncertain times.
The Catholic Church focuses on the dignity of the human person, and the dignity of labor since labor is clearly important to the human experience. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2427, 2428) states:
“Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation.”
“Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him.”
“In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author, and its beneficiary.”
“Everyone should draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.”
The following excerpt from the “PRAYER FOR LABOR DAY” provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reflects the spirit of this day.
God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the worker. Make a place in our hearts for compassion for the men and women who labor tirelessly for basic necessities. Ensure a place for the men and women who are struggling to find work.
Grant us your wisdom to greet and care for those who are unable to work due to illness or circumstances that prevent their participation. Be with the children who are not able to run and play, but instead must put in a hard day’s work to help their family afford to eat, to live. Be with us all, Christ Jesus, as we go about the busyness of our work.
Hold us accountable not only for our actions but most importantly to each of our neighbors. May we continue to work together to bring about your reign! We ask this in your holy name, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.