It is Labour Day. All over Ontario can be heard cheers and weeping in equal measure as we prepare ourselves for a return to routine. Even those of us not in school and those without children sense that life’s rhythms change with the arrival of September.
My thoughts turn to students and teachers heading back to school – in the home and beyond. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminded us that education was for more than training for work, but to lead a person to love, reason, and faith. (Address in Spain, August 19, 2011) For his words to be realized, we must have Christ at the centre of our schools, our lessons, and in our hearts.
I pray for the students to be filled with zeal to learn, willingness to apply themselves, and wonder at all that is revealed of man and the created world. I pray for teachers to be full of love for the students given to their care; to be convicted of the importance of their task; that they may have the resources required – spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical to be truly present in the classroom.
I’ve been reflecting on the value of work – our labour. A friend recently shared the struggle he has endured stemming from a lengthy period without work and how every aspect of his life was affected by it, including the spiritual. Having been in that particular trench myself, I knew exactly what he meant. “Unemployment almost always wounds its victim’s dignity and threatens the equilibrium of his life. Besides the harm done to him personally, it entails many risks for his family.” (CCC 2436)
I pray for all who are seeking meaningful employment. May they have the support they need from friends, family, and community. Let not even the smallest among your people be overlooked, Lord.
We were created to work. “By means of his labour man participates in the work of creation” (CCC 2460) There are many ways we labour: in the home, in offices and factories, with our creativity, our minds, our bodies. For the ability to provide for our needs, we give thanks. For the privilege to help those in need, we are grateful. For the joy to labour in ways that fulfill and satisfy, we acknowledge the blessings granted to us.
Happy Labour Day to all.