This Monday, as a nation, we celebrate Labor Day, and 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. As we know, prayer and work go hand in hand. Therefore, we are invited to pray in a special way for all laborers. We also can pray for the unemployed and underemployed, that more opportunities for gainful employment will materialize for them. In addition, we can remember and pray for all those who are now retired after many years of labor.
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. As previously noted, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recognized the importance of the laborer and Labor Day and stated that “…work helps us to realize our humanity and is necessary for human flourishing.” It further stated, “Labor Day gives us the chance to see how work in America matches up to the lofty ideals of our Catholic tradition.”
The Order of Saint Benedict (often referred to as “The Benedictines”) is a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church. It is the oldest monastic religious order in the Western World. The order’s motto is “Ora et Laborar” (“Pray and Work”). Its members set a good example for Christians and all people of goodwill who should appreciate the importance of praying and working.
As we reflect on this motto, we are encouraged to make Labor Day more than a day of rest, recreation, and cookouts. It should also be a day of prayer as we honor those who labor in the spirit of Jesus, St. Joseph, and St. Benedict.
We are invited to pray “The Worker’s Prayer” honoring one who works:
Lord, I thank you for this job and the blessings it provides.
May You watch over me this day and keep me safe from harm.
Create in me a willing spirit and happy heart.
Grant me the ambition to work hard
and give me the strength to finish what I have started.
May my hands always be prepared to help lighten another’s load.
Finally, Lord, remind me that the quality of my work
is a reflection of You to those around me.
As we celebrate this day, we also thank all our parishioners and friends who, in some way, labor for Christ, and who do their part to build the Kingdom of God.