The coming of Labor Day Weekend can mean many things to us. We feel the fleeting warmth of summer. We see the end of vacation-time for many. We experience the sending forth of our children and young people to schools and Colleges. This weekend, though, we also pause to recognize the value of human labor and the dignity of workers. The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has highlighted the need for work and respect for laborers in the following prayer:
“As the sun rises to bring in the new day:
We remember those who descend into the earth, their work begins in darkness, pulling from the earth, the resources we steward.
We remember those who work inside a building away from the light and brightness of the day.
We remember those who work outside in the harsh elements of our world, the bitter cold and sweltering heat of extremes.
We remember those who do not have a job to go to, who are struggling to meet the needs of their daily living expenses, for whom the day becomes long and arduous.
As the sun sets to bring in the evening of rest:
We remember those who work in the night.
We remember those who are trying to recover from their labor and toils of the day.
We remember those who participate in unsafe and dangerous work. We pray for a renewed sense of dignity in their lives and in their work.
God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the worker. Make a place in our hearts for compassion to the men and women who labor tirelessly for basic necessities. Ensure a place for the men and women who are struggling to find work. Grant us your wisdom to greet and care for those who are unable to work due to illness or circumstances that prevent their participation. Be with the children who are not able to run and play, but instead must put in a hard day’s work to help their family afford to eat, to live. Be with us all, Christ Jesus, as we go about the busyness of our work. Hold us accountable not only for our actions, but most importantly to each of our neighbors. May we continue to work together to bring about your reign! We ask this in your holy name, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Blessings and best wishes, Fr. Mark