In Honor of Labor Day: John Paul II’s Words on the Dignity of Labor

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Sharing the daily work of the most common activities with Joseph and Mary, Jesus enlightens us about the fact that all work, no matter if it is humble and hidden, draws a person to the mystery of the Cross: it is a redemptive activity; it is a necessity and a liberation; it is a manifestation of the opportunity the human person has to subdue the earth. Work makes live more human when it helps build a new, more perfect world. As such, work makes implicit the proclamation that humanity is journeying toward the new heavens and a new earth foretold by Christ’s Resurrection. I want to remind the workers here of all this–all those in this region who constantly strive to promote new and better living conditions: to those who work the land and those who work in small and large industries, to those who work in the trades, and those who practice ancient and traditional arts, to those who are searching for work, and to migrants, to those who have traditional work places, and to those who use the most modern technologies. I want to remind everyone that work, which is sometimes seen as condemnation and servitude, has rather been assumed by Christ as a moment of redemption and the proclamation of liberation. It is the path to personal sanctification and salvation. It is the constructive moment of fraternal solidarity. Every profession can thus be understood as a particular vocation that confers on human work a superior dignity and a transcendent value because of the spiritual union with Christ.

– St. John Paul II, Discourse at Camerino-San Severino Marche, Italy, March 18, 1991

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