Fr. Dan White, S.J.
August 31, 2014
The traditional end of summer is marked by Labor Day. This national holiday celebrates workers of every kind in our nation. The United States deliberately chose the first Monday of September in order to have nothing to do with communist-tinged International Workers Day on May 1st. This keeps the commies safely away from our backyard grills.
One of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s favorite actions of God is “laboring”. God is at all times working out salvation. Creation is ongoing and directed towards its final end in God. All is directed, guided and brought together by the Spirit of God at work. Catholic social teaching places a great emphasis on the idea that human laboring and creativity flows from our relationship with God the Creator of all.
We know, however, many people find their work a burden and sheer drudgery. Rather than an experience of satisfaction and accomplishment, labor can be simply a means of survival. This does not even begin to address those who have no work at all. There are far too many people for whom Labor Day is a kind of cruel joke.
Our faith challenges us to consider the dignity of all human labor. Every person should enjoy work that is not simply a source of income but which provides a purpose and meaning. Human labor is our participation in the God who labors for us.