“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual…Oh how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment. “ – Henry David Thoreau
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:2-4,12).
“…it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop–and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.
You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.
That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.
And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. what’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important, too… (28-29)”
Michael Ende, Momo
Michael Ende was one of the most popular German authors of the 20th Century, captivating millions of children around the world with his fantasy stories. His most successful book, The NeverEnding Story (1979) has been translated into more than 30 languages, made into a hit movie in 1984, and remains a much-loved, international bestseller.
“From a Christian standpoint, we believe that labor can be sanctified through our willingness to engage in it–and, in the process, we can grow in holiness.” – by Scott Richert
Prayer for Fidelity to Work
Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God, disregarding difficulties and weariness; to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes death, and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, patriarch Joseph. This will be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Saint Thomas said, “Let us also go to die with him” (John 11:16b).
Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” (see John 20:24-28) and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
Thomas should be known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous—since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown—but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Realizing this, Thomas said to the other apostles, “Let us also go to die with him” (John 11:16b).
Thomas shares the lot of Peter the impetuous, James and John, the “sons of thunder,” Philip and his foolish request to see the Father—indeed all the apostles in their weakness and lack of understanding. We must not exaggerate these facts, however, for Christ did not pick worthless men. But their human weakness again points up the fact that holiness is a gift of God, not a human creation; it is given to ordinary men and women with weaknesses; it is God who gradually transforms the weaknesses into the image of Christ, the courageous, trusting and loving one.
Authentic true power is service. Look at Saint Joseph.
“He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’”
-St. Bernardine of Siena