Who’s the Boss?: Weekly Message for 8-29-17

Dear Friends in Christ,

As part of my preparation for the priesthood I spent a few summers visiting families who had financially supported the Legion of Christ in order to thank them in person. I was struck by one conversation one summer while visiting a project manager for an IT company doing integrated circuit design. He simply said to me, “I work for Christ.” Labor Day is fast approaching in the United States and it is good moment to ask ourselves: for whom do I work? Who’s my boss?

St. John Paul II in his encyclical Laborem exercens expressed the Church’s conviction that work was a fundamental dimension of man’s earthly existence from the beginning, hearkening back to when God first entrusted the stewardship of creation to Adam and Eve: “The Church finds in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth. […] When man, who had been created ‘in the image of God…. male and female’ (Genesis 1:27), hears the words: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’ (Genesis 1:28), even though these words do not refer directly and explicitly to work, beyond any doubt they indirectly indicate it as an activity for man to carry out in the world” (no. II.4). Even after the Fall work didn’t cease; it just got harder.

No matter what work we do, we seek to be fruitful in our work, not just efficient. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that work is not only fruitful for us in terms of production and compensation, but also in terms of virtue and the fulfillment of our vocation to provide for those who depend on us for their material and spiritual needs. Adam and Eve’s mistake taught us that sin just makes our work harder: it can be office gossip, dishonesty, or simple laziness.

Sometimes doing a good job for the company is not motivation enough. When Our Lord is the boss, the hardest working man in salvation history, we can only try to keep up with him out of respect and gratitude for the thankless and arduous work of Redemption that he took upon himself for us, and not for a paycheck.

Let’s take a moment this weekend to have some face time with our real boss and see how we can re-vitalize what we do, not just for others, but for ourselves.

Wishing you God’s blessings and fruitful work.

Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
author, Finding the Plug

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