Work, a talent to bear fruit

Work is a talent that man receives in order to make it bear fruit, and "it is a testimony of man's dignity, of his dominion over creation. It is an occasion for the development of one's own personality. It is a bond of union with other beings, a source of resources to support one's own family, a means of contributing to the improvement of the society in which one lives and to the progress of all humanity. For the Christian, moreover, work well done is an occasion for a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and a means for all the realities of this world to be informed by the spirit of the Gospel.

For "man to become more man" through work, for it to be a means and an occasion to love Christ and to make him known, a series of human conditions are necessary: diligence in its fulfillment, constancy, punctuality, prestige and professional competence. On the other hand, lack of interest in what is being done, incompetence, absenteeism, etc., are incompatible with an authentically Christian sense of life. The negligent or disinterested worker, in whatever position he may occupy in society, offends first of all the dignity of his own person and that of those to whom the fruits of that poorly performed task are destined. He offends the society in which he lives, because in some way he reflects on it all the evil and all the good of the individuals. The work badly done, the work done with idleness, with delay and sloppiness, is not only a fault or a sin against the virtue of justice, but also against charity, because of the bad example and the consequences that derive from this attitude.

The great enemy of work is laziness, which manifests itself in many ways. Not only is he lazy who lets time pass without doing anything, but also he who does many things but refuses to carry out his concrete obligation: he chooses his occupations according to the whim of the moment, he carries them out without energy, and small difficulties are enough to make him change his task. The lazy person is usually a friend of "beginnings", but his repugnance for the sacrifice involved in continuous and profound work prevents him from laying the "last stones", from finishing well what he has begun.

Those of us who want to imitate Christ must strive to acquire an adequate professional preparation, which we then continue in the years of exercising our profession or trade. The mother of a family who dedicates herself to her children must know how to run a house, be a good administrator of resources and domestic goods; have a pleasant house, arranged with taste rather than luxury, so that the whole family feels well; know the character of her children and of her husband and know, when the time comes, how to raise those difficult questions in which they can improve; she must be strong and, at the same time, sweet and simple. She should carry out this task with a professional mentality, sticking to a fixed schedule, not wasting time in endless conversations, avoiding turning on the television at ungodly hours.... The student, if he wants to be a good Christian, must be a good student: attending classes, keeping his subjects up to date, keeping his notes in order, learning to distribute the time he dedicates to each subject. Equally competent must be the architect, the secretary, the seamstress, the businessman.... The Christian who fails in his temporal obligations," teaches the Second Vatican Council, "fails in his duties towards his neighbor, fails, above all, in his obligations towards God and endangers his eternal salvation "10; he has taken the wrong path in an essential matter and finds himself unable, if he does not change, to meet the Lord.

Let us look at Jesus as he goes about his work in Joseph's workshop and ask ourselves today if we are known in our environment for the good work we do.