• St. Pope John Paul II was a great soul who was raised to the throne of St. Peter from
    the humble granite quarries, in Poland. He decreed an Encyclical, in September, 1981 on
    'Human Work' (Laborem exercens). This encyclical affirms the dignity of work and praises
    labour at the centre of social perspective. It further confirms that human beings are proper
    subjects of work. Work expresses and increases human dignity. The Pope stresses the priority
    of labour over things. He supports the workers and unions while outlining a spirituality of work.
    Through human labour man tries to transform environment and above all himself making
    tremendous advances in the society. Through human labour men construct and reconstruct
    cultures and civilizations in his society.

    Necessity of Labour

     

    Any human activity using intellectual, mental and bodily capabilities to make this
    world more beautiful and useful can be called Labour. Through work man can express his
    creativity and achieve progress of further development.
    Labour is the most accepted and dignified means of one's livelihood. One who
    hesitates to work, one who is indolent or lazy, is considered as thief and one who labours can
    lead a life of dignity with a sense of satisfactory. The famous scientist Thomas Alwa Edison
    says, “Nothing worthwhile has been achieved free of cost. All those discoveries and inventions
    are realized out of my hard work… I call upon the attention of all those who resort to alcohol as
    painkillers may take up work as the best medicine”

    All Kinds of Works are Noble

     

    Human society will not exist without doing labour and it makes steady progress only
    with the diversity of works. Any kind of labour which is not undertaken to cheat others or cause
    any damage will be worth doing irrespective of the menial work or the white collar job. Both are
    necessary for the welfare of the society. One who hesitates to do any work is considered to be
    a man with no nobility.
     
    Certain jobs may be considered comparatively more important depending on the
    availability of resources and climatic changes. At some places work availability may be very
    less. Now for example agriculture is treated as depressed sector. In the recent times, we
    noticed people ignore agricultural works. The reason seems to be that it demands more toil
    and brings less dividends. But we know that agriculture has been the substantial, primary work
    and engagement to man on Earth in all times and it has been the main source of sustenance
    and development. Agricultural activities are considered to be wholesome exercises that help
    to maintain health in mind and body, with a sense of contentment. The Encyclical, 'Mater et
    Magistra', of Pope John XXIII (1961 May 15), deals in details on the importance of agriculture
    and agricultural workers. The encyclical confirms that agricultural workers are principal agents
    of development and they have dignity from God. They are persons very close to God, the
    creator. Lives of great men teach to make our lives sublime. So put your shoulder to the wheel.
    Don't wait for a big job to come along. Seize small ones. The excellence of a circle lies in its
    roundness, not in its bigness. The greatest geniuses have been the greatest workers. It is the
    laborious and painstaking men who are the rulers of the world.

     

    Participation in the Work of Creation

     

    By means of his labour man participates in the work of creation. Human work
    proceeds directly from the persons created in the image of God and he is called to prolong the
    work of creation by subduing the Earth.
    God is love and in his infinite love he embraces the whole universe through creative
    activities. God wants to continue His creative works and manifest his love through human
    labour. It is through human labour society makes progress and grows to perfection. Human
    efforts shape things to a new height and to necessary transformation. Human hands can
    shape a stone to palace and a barren land to fertile and fruitful place. God is ever active both in
    creation of preservation through His love. The world is raised to its maturity through human
    works. All things are developed and transformed by human works. The stones are turned to be
    castles and palaces, the waste land to fertile land are all examples of human efforts.
    Anyone who is engaged in any kind of work is called to participate with God, irrespective of
    the nature or places of work, whether in the field, factories, offices, streets, air or in water. They
    are collaborators of God to continue the work and to the completion of the same. Through their
    works Christians are called to unfold the creators own work. They are partners in perfecting
    God's creation.

    Works is Worship

     

    Human work is an expression of creativity and spirituality. Christians are called to
    become co-creators with God. Labour helps man to earn money to meet his psuch as, food, shelter, clothing
    and other necessities of day to day life. So work is a means of
    livelihood. Work gives us peace of mind and happiness. Labour has been considered as a kind
    of prayer if it is alone sincerely and with total commitment. Persons who are engaged in labour
    are something noble. They work for the glory of God. They will have the will to pray for the
    workers who work hard for themselves and for others. Labour is a service to the humanity.
     
    So we consider work as worship. Work has got transforming power when it is united with Christ. A
    Christian can find in human work a small part of the cross of Christ and accepts it in the same
    spirit of redemption. We can find in many great and holy people who have considered their
    work as a form of worship. Humans share in the activity of God as the work imitates God's
    activity that gives its dignity. Jesus himself was a person of work, as a model for us.
     
    To do one's work sincerely is an expression of life based on Christian faith. As we said
    Jesus is the model for our works. One who works with due commitment and bears with the
    hardship of pains attached to it will be following Jesus, the real model for our life. Work allows
    people to fulfill their vocation. Work is sharing in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Work is
    made holy through Christ Jesus. Through work, one can bear witness to Jesus Christ and by
    work itself we can share with the suffering and redemptive activity of Christ. A worker can make
    sure the presence of Jesus at the place of work. A worker can be a missionary of Christ. Worker
    is participating with the creative activity of God and he can proclaim Jesus' Mission by being
    disciplined, responsible, and punctual in his task undertaken. In this way a Christian can
    perform his work with the sense of worship. Thus work is necessary for earthly progress and
    the development of the Kingdom of God.rimary needs

    Work is Duty

     

    Work honours the creator's gift and the talents received from Him. It can also be
    redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus of Nazarath, the Carpenter
    man collaborates in a certain fashion with the son of God in redemptive work. He shows
    himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying his cross in his daily works. Everyone should be
    able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family and of serving
    the community. There is no doubt, work is our duty. In the Bible we can see instances on the
    need and importance of work. “Six days, you shall labour and do all your Work” (Deut. 5/13).
    Life is sweet for the self-reliant and the worker (Sirah. 40/18). Once while addressing the
    followers Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and
    I will give you rest” (Mt.11:28).
    St. Paul, Pioneer missionary the world has ever seen, stressed on the need of work
    repeatedly: “and we grow weary from the work of our own hands” (1 Cor. 4/12). In his letter to
    the Thessalonians the apostle reaffirms, “ We did not eat any one's bread without paying for
    it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you” (II
    Thes. 3/8) and again St. Paul instructs: “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat”, (II Thes.
    3/10). Now, he writes to the church of Ephesus : “Thieves must give up stealing; rather let
    them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the
    needy” (Eph. 4/28).
     
    Work is part of life. Work is the key to making life more human. Work is an obligation as it
    is necessary for earthly progress. Philosopher, Joseph Comard says “Man by nature, is a
    labourer, if he does not toil he becomes a zero”. Nature has ordained man to earn his
    livelihood with sweat of his brow. The church teaches in the document of II Vatican Council,
    on 'The Church is the Modern World': 'Human activity proceeds from man, it is also ordered to
    him. When he works, not only does he transform matter and society but he fulfills himself. He
    learns, he develops his faculties and he emerges from and transcends himself. Rightly
    understood, this kind of growth is more precious than any kind of wealth that can be
    amassed. It is what a man is rather than what he has, that counts. (GS 35).
     
    We are ordained to earn 'our daily bread' with our hard labour. With our continued
    labour, we learn more and more, develop our talents and thereby. We contribute to the
    prosperity of the society. It is also the duty of the labour to seek “Suitable work according to
    his tastes and talents, find out prospects to progress of his work, pray for favorable labour
    environment. Pray for employers and customers etc. Always remember it`s divine
    providence that grants mans strength of work and prosperity. Work is a blessing for a man to
    fulfill his duties.

     

    Wages for Workers

     

    Wages are practical means where by people can have access to goods intended for
    the common use. It is the remuneration of labour done. Majority of the workers depend on
    wages for livelihood. Just remuneration of workers is the key for social justice. Everyone who
    works has a right to get sufficient wages to support a family. There are instances where
    people trying to exploit, earn remuneration without doing anything. They are the cause of
    economic injustice. They do not take up the pain of working hard. Wages must be fixed based
    on social and individual considerations.
     
    Wages must be sufficient enough to sustain life, dignity and foster rights of families.
    Social benefits for workers are also needed including health care, right to leisure, pension, and
    accident – insurance and decent work environment.

     

    Labour, Social Perspective

     

    Work has got its social dimensions. Work is intimately related to human life. God has
    fixed in an individual for a specific task needed for the community. Labour presupposes
    common good of the society. It has value in as much as it ensures or it serves individual's basic
    needs. The social nature of work is well recognized. Work helps to develop social existence
    beyond the provisions of basic goods. The noblest social goal of work is to provide the basis for
    a culture in which all can realize their fullest human potential. Worker can enter into a process
    of giving and taking, providing and consuming the community's goods. Labour is the index of
    the growth rate of a nation. No man lives and works for himself. Work must serve an
    individual's humanity and dignity. Knowingly or unknowingly he/she works in association with
    others. In this respect, work is a social power and it promotes human fraternity. Labour is the
    most effective service to humanity. As we know we enjoy the fruits of the labour of others. So a
    worker shall be a good collaborator and a service minded person who can extend best of his
    service and co-operation to the welfare of others. A nation can make steady progress through
    the dedicated workers of its citizens.
     
    There is no doubt that unemployment makes the lives of people miserable. It is
    necessary to create more job opportunities and make use of the same with co-operation, coordination
    and good-will of the employers as well as employees. This attitude paves the way of
    further development and prosperity, both for the worker and for the society. A peaceful workculture
    will promote virtues of independence, responsibility and inter personal sensitivities.
    Our consideration on the work is the primacy of the workers, and the second priority must be
    what it does for the individual and the humanity. Love labour and it is wholesome for your body
    and your mind.

    I. Let us Discuss

     

    1. All works are noble and important. How can we promote the above stated point
    of view in the society?
    2. It is equally wrong not paying just wages to the employees and demand
    remuneration by a person who does not work at all.
     

    III. Activity

     
    Collect some of the sayings of the great men, pieces of stories, events and
    poems which exemplify the dignity and sanctity of labour.

     

    IV. Let us Read and Reflect

     
    II Thessalonians 3: 6-13.

     

    Find out Answers

    Let us Enlighten our Hearts