Weekend Reflections for 9/2/16
An Ignatian Spirituality of MercyWorks for Labor Day.
Image courtesy of The Catholic Worker
As we move along into Labor Day weekend, when many of us have an extra day off, Sunday's bible readings invite us to reflect back on the gift of the Spiritual Exercises we have experienced at White House and look forward to how we might better collaborate in building on these profound spiritual foundations. In the Exercises St. Ignatius encourages us to see God at work all around us, to "find God in all things" even, or maybe even especially, in our work. And as always, Ignatius invites us to respond. Sunday's bible readings challenge us to put discipleship at the foundations of all else that we labor for, not as slaves, but as co-workers, partners in building the kingdom.
While in times past human labor may have been considered more as a curse (Gen 3:17) than a blessing, Pope John Paul II gives us a profound reflection on the positive Christian meaning of work in his encyclical Laborem Exercens (On Human Work)[i] , developing a spirituality of work and encouraging the same solidarity with labor that his predecessor Pope Leo XIII taught 90 years earlier in his pathfinding Rerum Novarum. Both of these gospel-based church teachings stress the rights of workers and labor organizations and the duties of employers toward their workers, as well as the biblical roots for human rights in the works of mercy. Perhaps this Labor Day "off" can also be a day "on" beyond picnics and parades, a day in which we reflect upon our own works of mercy and the work of so many others around us as contributing to the gift of God's creation, and finding new ways of laboring for God's Greater Glory in the new and challenging situation of work in our interdependent world today.
-Edward B. "Ted" Arroyo, S.J.