A SPIRITUALITY OF WORK

A SPIRITUALITY OF WORK

Contents:

• Foreword

• Work in the sacred scriptures

• The Church’s teaching on work

• Human dignity and the value of work

• Prayers and meditations

• Resources

Publisher’s Information © 2001 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, 39 Eccleston Square, LONDON SW1V 1BX

Published in January 2001 by the Catholic Media Trust on behalf of the Committee for the World of Work of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales The scripture quotations are from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

‘Lord God, who entrusted the earth’ from Divine Office © 1974 Hierarchies of Australia, England & Wales, Ireland; A P Watt. ‘Blessed are you, Lord our God’ from Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Book of Blessings © 1981 Concacan Inc.  Take my hands by Sebastian Temple © 1967 OCP Publications.    Produced by the Catholic Media Office, London.  Printed by MCS Thorndale Ltd, London.  ISBN: 0 905241 18 5

Foreword

The World of Work Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales offers this booklet as a contribution to the awakening of the Catholic Church to the blessing given the human race by God by the gift of work. The members of the Committee, who are themselves laity and workers, are well aware of the discontinuity in the perception of many workers between the experience of work (or unemployment) and the fulfilling of God’s purpose for them. It is my hope that this modest volume will be of help to many. The mix of text and quotations from Scripture, the teaching of the Church and from  experience, I hope will encourage reflection, lead to prayer and finally to conviction about the blessing of work.

I am deeply grateful to each member of the Committee for their contributions to this work. Inevitably, not all the riches of their experiences and observations could be included. This will serve to remind those who use this booklet in a spirit of discovery and reflection that work is part of the mystery of God’s loving will for the human race. May this small publication help all who use it to explore yet further that mystery.

Bishop John Jukes OFM Conv

Chairman, Committee for the World of Work Read more

Workplace, Holy Place

 By Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

When I envision spiritual practices done on a daily basis, I tend to think of monasteries with their regular prayer times, emphasis on silence and hours of contemplative reflection. These are not activities compatible with business environments. Telling your boss you need to sit in silent meditation every afternoon probably isn’t going to be met with much approval, especially not on deadline. Nor is refusing to talk because you are keeping a period of silence or dashing out of meetings to pray at specific times.

Because we view spiritual disciplines as something other people who don’t have “real” jobs do, incorporating specifically spiritual activities into our workday doesn’t come naturally. But it can, and perhaps it should.

For a spiritual practice to be applicable to a work environment on a regular basis, I believe it has to have at least three characteristics: 1) it has to be simple, 2) it has to be quick and 3) it has to be private. If it’s too complex or requires too much preparation, it isn’t going to last. If it takes too much time, it isn’t fair to the company and if it is public it goes against the Lord’s admonition to keep our good deeds to ourselves.

In order to fulfill these three requirements, we need to think outside the box of our usual spiritual practices and expand our ideas of disciplines to include some activities that might not seem spiritual at first glance.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to try. Read more

Spirituality at Work: Spiritual Support for Our Co-Workers

 By Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

How can we support co-workers who are going through difficult times in their lives? Sometimes we prefer to take the ostrich approach: if I don’t talk about the divorce or the surgery or the child on drugs or the death then maybe they won’t bring it up either. Or we opt for the awkward quick sympathy: I’m really sorry to hear about (blank). Now, how about that project?

It’s natural and understandable to want to avoid getting into the depths of another’s troubles. Who wants to hear all the gory details when there is work to be done? (Or even when there isn’t work to be done!) However, as followers of Christ, we are asked to do a little more and be a little more than ordinary workers.

Having gone through several difficult situations myself and having had colleagues go through many, I have a few suggestions on how we can be of spiritual support to our co-workers. Read more

The Spirituality of Work

The Spirituality of Work

By Brian Diehm

Human work participates in God’s ongoing creation, and leads to holiness in the world.

Catholic Way –

It seems difficult at times to reconcile the toil and “worldliness” of work with a Christian’s call to holiness. For the lay faithful, however, work is a means of sanctification, not only for himself but for the world around him. In obedience to God’s command to “fill the earth and subdue it,” our daily work participates in extending His will through every part of His creation. Christians are called to be conscious of how their work contributes to building the Kingdom of God on earth, to their growth as human beings, and to their growth in holiness.

For many Christians, holiness is matter of weekly public worship and private prayer. They would not call themselves holy, in the way that they see the Church hierarchy as “religious” by nature and calling. However, secular vocation is part of our holiness as lay Christians. Through our work, we achieve sanctification and return to God the gifts of life. If we fail to understand the sanctity of our work, we can fail to revere God’s ongoing creation in our daily tasks, and be unable to draw strength from the communion with God that our work represents. Work has a singular dignity in God’s plan, and we must understand the sanctifying nature of our work. Read more

The Spirituality of Work

Every Day Catholic – April 2010
The Spirituality of Work By: Kathy Coffey

Monday is the most dreaded day of the week. After the weekend, a collective sigh wafts across the world: “Ugh—back to work.”

Understandable. The drill can be tedious, the routine exhausting and the boss stupid. But when 6.9 million jobs were eliminated during the recession of 2007-2009, those who were still employed gained new appreciation for their work. Work may appear to be a grubby girl cleaning the sooty fireplace, but beneath the ragged camouflage hides the beautiful Cinderella.

As the classical philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “The color of one’s thought dyes one’s world.” How can we learn to see work as a productive outlet, a means of support and God’s gift? Read more

NRDC-Farmworker Justice: Overdue Standards Better Protect People from Human Pesticide Tests

Environmental News: Media Center

Natural Resources Defense Council

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NRDC-Farmworker Justice: Overdue Standards Better Protect People from Human Pesticide Tests

WASHINGTON (February 8, 2013) – The Environmental Protection Agency today strengthened federal standards to make it harder for the chemical industry to use people as test subjects in pesticide research that is sent to EPA to help set health protection standards.

“This will better protect Americans from often unethical and unscientific human testing by pesticide manufacturers,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environmental program. “While the new standards do not completely ban human testing, they prohibit the EPA from considering pesticide tests conducted on pregnant women and children. They also protect people by ensuring that the EPA puts sound science in determining whether a human study can be relied upon for setting human health standards. Read more

4 Ideas Labor Unions Should Consider If They Want To Survive

4 Ideas Labor Unions Should Consider If They Want To Survive

A mural depicting scenes from Maine‘s labor history returned to public display in Jan. 2013, 22 months after Gov. Paul LePage set off a political firestorm and spawned a federal lawsuit by ordering it removed. (Clarke Canfield/AP)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last month that union membership fell significantly in 2012, to its lowest level since 1916. You can read the full report here. Read more