Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary
We urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more. (1 Thessalonians 4:10)
A worker building a cathedral may perform a single task over and over again. Repeatedly putting one stone on top of another or filling one wheelbarrow after the next can get monotonous over time. It’s easy for him to miss the importance of his work until he steps back to view the project taking shape. Similarly, it’s easy to forget that every little action of ours matters to the Lord. Each one plays an important part in his great, intricate plan for his creation.
This is St. Paul’s message in today’s first reading when he urges the Thessalonians to “progress even more” (1 Thessalonians 4:10). It’s as if he’s saying, “Take a look at the big picture to see what you have already done. See the work that is left to do, and let it inspire you to keep going.” He then offers some practical suggestions, including the command to work with their hands.
What difference does the work of our hands make in God’s kingdom? Don’t we build the kingdom through prayer and spiritual sacrifices?
Well, partly. Through our work we join God in building a just and peaceful society on earth. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “man participates in the work of creation” through his labor (CCC, 2460). There is great dignity in even the most menial of jobs: we become cocreators with the Lord. Who knew that labor could be so cosmic?
Sometimes, though, our everyday work doesn’t feel impressive. In fact, it can feel oppressive at times. That’s when we need to remember that Jesus is with us. He took ordinary bread and made it his Body. He took everyday wine—“fruit of the vine and work of human hands”—and turned it into his saving Blood. Surely he can take our ordinary work and transform it as well! In his hands, a load of laundry can become an expression of love for our family. In his hands, our day job becomes a divinely ordained way for us to cultivate our talents and develop a servant’s heart.
Progressing in your faith doesn’t necessarily mean doing more spiritual exercises. Often it just means doing what you already do—small everyday things—with the love of Christ in the forefront of your mind.
“Father, I give you my day. May my work today bring you glory!”
Psalm 98:1, 7-9