The first time I realized that the Church has something to say about the dignity of work was when I first read Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes and Pope John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens. Those documents helped me see that lay persons participate just as fully in sanctifying the world as the clergy do. Let us give thanks to God for the work we have been given to do.
Thanksgiving for the Blessing of Work
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
for through your goodness you have given us
the gift of labor and fruitful productivity
that your people may thrive and grow.
You invite us to be co-workers with you in the world,
to join the fruit of the earth with the work of human hands
that we may create something new for the good of others.
We thank you and bless you for the dignity of work
that has called forth from us unknown skills and talents.
Yet you call us also to come to you,
we who labor and are heavy-burdened,
for work without rest is enslavement
and a forgetfulness of our dependence upon you alone.
Therefore, teach us to know that our worth and dignity
are not measured by what we do
but by who we are in your eyes:
your precious children.
And when each day is ended,
may we find delight in knowing that
you who have begun the good work in us
will bring it to completion in Christ Jesus,
who is Lord for ever and ever.