If we do the work for God and for his glory, we may be sanctified.
– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
Since God had made him a promise, Abraham refused either to deny it or even to doubt it, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God, convinced that God had power to do what he had promised. This is the faith that was “considered as justifying him”. Scripture however does not refer only to him but to us as well when it says that his faith was thus “considered”; or faith too will be “considered” if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us.
A man in the crowd said to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.” “My friend,” he replied, “who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?” Then he said to them, “Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.”
Then he told them this parable: “There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, ‘What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?’ So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.”
Last week, I spoke to a young lady who used to work as an engineer, working late nights, ending work at about midnight several times a week. One day, she attended a workshop on priorities and she was asked what she wanted her priorities in life to be like. She listed out ‘God’ as number one, followed by ‘Family’, then ‘Friends’, and lastly ‘Career’. She was next asked to list out what her priorities in her life were really like, and ‘Career’ became first, followed by ‘Friends’, then ‘Family’, and lastly ‘God’.
This was a turning point in her life, when she came to realise that her priorities in life were upside down. She made little changes to her life, including leaving her job for a less time-consuming one, and started going for daily Mass. She also began praying to Our Lady, that she might be able to put God first in her life. Not long after, she received a calling to the religious life. She discerned and prayed hard about it, and during a pilgrimage, she made her decision. That was three years ago, and today, she is a professed sister in the Franciscan of the Immaculate. And she is still putting God first in her life.
Many of us are like this young lady. We know deep down that we want to put God first in our lives, but in reality, when we look at our lives, we find that God is usually last on our list of priorities. We get so caught up with the day-to-day difficulties that we forget about God, save for that quickly uttered prayer before we sleep, and that weekly Mass. How difficult it is to be a saint!
But there is hope for us so long as we remember the big picture. We may be working from day to day to provide food for the family, to pay the bills and our loans, but when we remember the big picture, we realised that it’s all going to be worthwhile. In addition, we also remember that work in itself is a good thing. When God created the world and Man, he gave Man a particular task – to cultivate the Garden of Eden and to take care of it. That’s work, and it was good. It was good back then, and it still is good.
Many of us want an early retirement, but nowadays it seems to get further and further away from us. But ask anyone who has retired. Ask them what they do on a day to day basis, and you will find that even though they are supposed to be retired, they are busier than ever! They are working, although in a different way. And even so, it is still easy to get caught up with work and forget the big picture.
The big picture is that all of us are in this world to prepare ourselves to spend eternity with God. Working is one day in which we are preparing to spend eternity with God. When we work, we benefit from it, not just materially. We learn to work with people, and that often means learning to love and to forgive even the most troublesome people. It means learning our own weaknesses and accepting them as part of ourselves. It means learning our own limitations.
It’s not just learning to work with people, of course. Work itself can be holy because it prepares us for eternity with God. If God created Man to work, then it is highly likely that there’s going to be work in Heaven as well, since nothing good is going to go to waste. For those of us who detest work, this might seem like horrifying news. But for those of us who enjoy our work, we look forward to it. We can look at it this way – work is meant to be creative. As in, we are meant to cooperate with God’s work of creation (see? God works too!).
Let us pray today, that the work that we do today will be creative and fruitful. Let us offer up our work today to the Lord, thanking him for the gift of creativity that he has given us, and that through our work, we will be prepared to be received into Heaven. Amen.
Tue, 23 Oct – Romans 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Luke 12:35-38; Memorial for St. John of Capistrano, priest
Wed, 24 Oct – Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48; Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Thu, 25 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 26 Oct – Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.