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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, July 4, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Redeeming our work

We need to be more aware of this responsibility. Our work, whatever it is, needs redemption, and we have a big role to play in that task. Yes, it's God's responsibility, first of all, but it is also ours.

The way it is understood and done nowadays, our work needs redemption because it has strayed from the proper path it is supposed to tread. We need to put it back to where it belongs in our life.

In the first place, our work is part of our human nature. As such, we are meant to work. Work is not a punishment or merely a heavy activity that we should try to avoid as such. Escaping work is definitely against our humanity.

And so we need to correct the attitude, regrettably rampant these days, that considers work as something that has to be avoided as much as possible, or that regards it as an unavoidable evil that simply has to be tolerated.

Our work, in fact, perfects us, since it actualizes what our potencies are. It is what brings us toward our proper development and fulfillment, individually and socially.

In the second place, our work, even if humanly speaking is deemed insignificant, will always be part of the abiding providence of God over all his creation. It is what relates us to God and to others, what enables us to attain the ultimate goal of our life—full communion with God and with others.

We need to understand then that our work is a vital part of God's abiding providence over all his creation, especially over us.

Since God's providence now involves itself in the salvation of man, after we have alienated ourselves from him through sin, both the original and personal, we have to understand that our work ought to be involved too in our own salvation.

It therefore has an eminently redemptive character. It just cannot be stuck with purely worldly objectives, no matter how valuable, recommendable and legitimate these worldly objectives are.

It just cannot be pursued simply following personal or worldly purposes.

This is where we have to feel the duty to redeem our work from its merely worldly context. We need to realize more deeply this distinctive character of our human work. It just cannot be wasted on brilliant technicalities, or on some advantageous, profitable and most tempting and irresistible earthly motives and worldly pursuits.

We have to be more aware of the ultimate value and purpose of our work, no matter how small and humanly insignificant it may look. We need to sanctify it, offering it to God and doing our best in carrying it out, and always trying to see how our work at the moment plays in the over-all plan of divine providence.

But beyond that, we need to continually discern what God wants of us in a given moment, what work we are supposed to be doing at that time. Yes, we are already given some general indications of this by the duties and responsibilities attached to our state in life.

But we always need to more sharply figure out what God wants us to do in a given moment.

For this, we need to learn the skill of turning our work, both big and small, into prayer and an abiding conversation with God. If we are to be consistent to our faith that our life is supposed to be a life with God, then we have to know how to make our daily affairs an occasion for keeping a living relationship with God.

There should be a streaming awareness that we are with God even when we are doing the most mundane activities. This is the goal that we should try to reach, overcoming what separates our life from the life of God. While it's true that there is distinction between the two, we have to realize that there's supposed to be unity between them.

Since work is a daily activity for us, one major part of becoming contemplatives is to turn our work into prayer. This can happen if we develop the habit of doing mental prayer everyday, studying the doctrine of Christ and of the Church, especially about how work is vital link we have with God.

Mental prayer allows us to create the proper mind frame we need to sustain our effort to become contemplatives all throughout the day. In a manner of speaking, that's where we see the relevant principles and helpful theories we need to put our desire into practice.

This realization is basic to why there is need to redeem our work to conform it to God's providence.*

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