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Laborare est Orare-The Dignity of Work

The above is a Latin expression which literally means ‘To work is to pray’. Thus work implies prayer. But can the opposite also mean the same— ‘Does prayer also necessarily imply work?
In any case, work is any activity either mental or physical that is employed in accomplishing a particular task. Prayer on the other hand, is the communication between man and his Object of worship with the purpose of praising thanking, petitioning this Object.

Whence Work? According to the bible, God through his wonderful work created the universe and humanity for his glorification and sanctification. (cf. Gen. 1ff) This suggests that work as an activity was introduced at the inception of humanity. Work was even used as a corrective measure, when man fell through disobedience. If the Creator himself worked, then there is no excuse for any individual to forgo work unless indisposed.

Work must be distinguished from a job, although the two are used interchangeably. Job unlike work is also any organized activity, carried out for the purposes of attaining profit or with a price. So work can be transformed into a job but not vice versa. Work may not be directed towards the attainment of profit but for self or communal improvement or fulfilment.

Since the one who prays is never idle, but is working so too the work who is working must pray. Today the whole concept of job has been misconstrued. Those who work do not have time to pray and those who pray do not have time to work. The two must be blended as a holistic activity. The idle hands must not eat. Today, the youth do not like to work because they do not have proper jobs—activities that do not win them profit. Even if they work, these activities are not dignified in any way. They engage in petty thievery, prostitution, gossiping, back-bitting, being on social media 24/7 not for anything but coveting peoples properties, phones, attires, cars and etc. No one should idle about. Work was created for man and man for work. Do not lazy about. Engage in a dignified work even if you do not have a job. The devil finds work for idle hands. Engage in cleaning your surroundings to ensure personal hygiene, cooking, writing, reading, learning of musical instruments, sowing, exercising and many more. Do not say I will not and cannot work because I will not be paid; or I refuse to work without pay. That is a misconstrued attitude towards work. Work but rest if necessary.

Once you get a dignified work and job, do not forget to pray. Pray to God to give success to the work of your hands. With this, prayer will always imply work and work will imply prayer. The dignity of work is culminated in praying alongside work or working alongside prayer.

On this first day of May, Workers Day, May St. Joseph the Carpenter who worked to care for the Holy Family intercede for us to achieve gainful employment (jobs) and dignifying work as well. Amen!


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