Fr. Robert Bengry: Work

Work is an important part of the Catholic life and when done correctly, your work can help you draw nearer and nearer to Christ. Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato si:

Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. It is striking that most of his life was dedicated to this task in a simple life which awakened no admiration at all: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mark 6:3)

It’s fascinating to think about isn’t it: most of our Lord’s earthly life here among us, was spent doing manual labour in a little town that didn’t really matter in the scheme of things. Was all of this time spent hidden from the world working in obscurity pointless? 


Your work too, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s anything more than making ends meet, is a vitally important part of what it means to be fully alive. The Catechism tells us:

In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labour stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community

Your life’s work, what has it meant to your family, your own self and to the community at large? And as you continue in your work, can you see this part of your life as something that helps you grow stronger in your Catholic faith? And if you’re at the end of your working life, what things can you do still to contribute? — Fr. Robert Bengry

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The photograph: From the Robert Bengry collection. Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.