Father’s Column 9/4

Posted on September 4, 2016 View all news

Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!

Today the Holy Father, through a solemn judgement of the Church, declared Mother Teresa to be a Saint. The Founder of the Missionaries of Charity, St. Teresa of Calcutta brought the love of the Passion of Christ, to the neediest in the world. Her care for the poor, the sick, the dying is an example of the work of Christ still alive in the world. It is sometimes difficult to find the work of God alive in the world, to see any amount of good. St. Teresa exemplified this, and has given hope to countless members of the faithful throughout the entire world through her commitment to both the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. May we entrust ourselves to her intercession today that we too will see the face of Christ in the poor, the naked, the hungry, the sick. A tall task, but a task that has been commanded to us by Our Lord Himself (Matthew 25)!

Tomorrow we also commemorate the secular holiday of Labor Day. Labor has been of particular concern to the Church, especially since the days of Pope Leo XIII. It is important for us to remember, however, that we don’t labor for the sake of labor. Rather, we labor for the support and sanctification of ourselves and our families. Human labor exists not solely for the acquisition of money, but ultimately for the common good. An improper understanding of labor can lead to the exploitation of human dignity through either extreme capitalism or communism. In the former case, the wealthy take advantage of the poor in order to increase their wealth. In the latter, the poor revolt against the wealthy in an attempt to make all things equal on account of their poverty. In either case, the government has cooperated or consented to the destruction of human dignity within their boarders, an affront to the Social Reign of Jesus Christ as King. To remind us of this, I quote in part Pope Leo XIII, in paragraphs still very much applicable to us today. Have a blessed week ahead!

“In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.

The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth… Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in the beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity. Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in uprooting it, the efficacy of Christian institutions is marvellous and manifold. First of all, there is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice.” – Rerum Novarum 18-19