Happy Labor Day! If you think your work doesn’t play a role in your spiritual life, you may want to think again. Father Peter Armenio stopped by The Inner Life® to share how we can use work as an opportunity to unite ourselves closer to Christ and live out the Gospel.
“First of all, we are made in the image and likeness of God, which means that on a very finite level we have God-like qualities,” Fr. Armenio said. “We can’t create from nothing, but God has created the material world so that the human being can complete what God started. And work is creative – even though it’s not the divine creation out of nothing. Every man and woman is called to share in God’s creative power with their individual talents, their strong points, their weak points.”
So as we strive to grow more like Christ in our own lives, we can’t forget that Christ Himself spent much of His time on earth working.
“It was no accident that the Son of God created the universe,” Fr. Armenio pointed out. “That’s one of the first pieces of revelation in the Gospel of St. John – that through Him all things were made. And for the first 30 of His 33 years on earth, He was a carpenter. He worked.”
“It wasn’t that He was stalling for His public life of preaching, and miracles, and ultimately His redemptive sacrifice,” he continued. “But He’s teaching and telling us that our ordinary work, whether it is menial or the world sees it as important, is nothing to sneeze at. Because God made Man had a job, went to work every day, and worked as a carpenter. There’s a powerful message. The Holy Family is telling us that work is the normal means to grow in holiness and to witness the Gospel, and to bring the world to Christ.”
Some of us have jobs that we don’t see as connected to our faith in any way, or there are workplace policies or cultures where talking about faith is discouraged. But this doesn’t mean that we can separate our work life from our spiritual life.
“Work is not an arena where we are dispensed from living the Gospel,” said Fr. Armenio. “In fact, the normal place to convert the Gospel into action is one’s daily work. Because the human person spends most of his or her time working.”
“Our work will be sanctified, our work will serve as an encounter with Christ, to the degree that we segment off some time for prayer. It is impossible to find God in work if there is no serious, substantial conversation with Jesus Christ. And so it does take a struggle, that there is a unity of life, as it were. My life of prayer, my devotions, my work, partying, my sports are all one medium through which I witness the Gospel and live the Gospel.”
Listen to the full conversation below: