Our celebration of this Labor Day weekend presents itself as an opportunity to reflect on the Christian meaning of work or what we can refer to as workplace spirituality. Created in God’s image and likeness, each human person is a spiritual being. His or her work is an expression of the spiritual nature in each one of us, giving us an incentive for progress in labor issues.
Every human work can be made holy. We can draw strength from God’s grace. Our work is an essential part of our Christian life. Quality work requires the integration of the Christian virtues of justice, prudence, patience, love and truthfulness. A deep connection exists between daily dialogue with God and our routine in the workplace. It is not true that we strive for holiness in spite of our work we do. It is in work that we are challenged to grow in holiness. It is through work that we build God’s kingdom in this world. Our work shows forth the presence of God in our life. We should work in a way that reflects the attitude and the mind of Christ as expressed in the gospels. So long as we seek a closer relationship with God through our work, our problems and challenges we encounter in the workplace will strengthen our faith which enhances our work. By endeavoring to make our work a force for good, our work becomes part of the building of God’s kingdom, taking on a new meaning that is fruitful for us and the entire created world.
In a way, human work is an actualization God’s image in us, transforming our human efforts as an encounter with God, a way of faithfully living out our Christian vocation. Work should sanctify us, not destroy us. As the Holy Father exhorts: “Let the Christian who listens to the word of the living God, uniting work with prayer, know the place of his work not only in earthly progress but in the development of the Kingdom of God, to which we are all called through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Laborem Exercens, 28)
As we celebrate this labor weekend, we also have to consider the plight of workers who face economic exploitation and sexual harassment. Domestic workers such as maids, nannies and home healthcare workers are often excluded from national labor standards. Workers are not often aware that something can be done to end repeated abuses they face in the workplace.