This weekend, we celebrate as a nation, Labor Day. For many, it is the last moments of summer break before school starts. For others, this is a day to focus on dignity of labor as a gift from God. It is also a time to reflect on the issues of labor. It is a time to pray for those who are without jobs and continue to seek employment. It is a time to pray for those who are underemployed or worse, mistreated by those who employ them. It is a time to reflect on the difficulties employers have in trying to find good employees who will steward the gift of labor that has been entrusted to them. As Catholics, we are called to be just in all our dealings and to put persons above profits. No matter where we are in life, we can all do an examination of conscience in terms of labor.
For an employer, one might ask, “Do I treat my employees with the dignity given them by God?” “Do I imbue my Christian faith into my role as a business leader?” “Do my business decisions promote a culture of life and the dignity of persons?” “Do I pray for the welfare of my employees?” “Does my business ruin or contribute to a healthy environment?”
As an employee, “Do I do my best at work? Am I productive and do not waste time?” or “Am I honest with my coworkers and those whom I serve?” or “Do I promote a life-giving sensibility and appreciation for the job I have?” or “Do I pray for the welfare of my boss and fellow employees?”
For the retired person, one could ask “Was I fair and honest during my career?” “Did I challenge unfair or immoral labor practices?” “Did I help others to achieve their carrier goals?” “Was I an influence for good and the rights and responsibilities that come with labor?” “Do I share my years of experience and expertise with others so that they may become better persons, employers, and employees?”
Spend a moment on Labor Day and give thanks for the gift of labor. Pray for justice where there is injustice in the workplace. Pray for employers and companies to strive for excellence and for employees to give their best.
Have a blessed Labor Day!
Fr. William Holtzinger