It’s how we roll round here with their
stockings their stockings over there, um, the stockings are I think that’s mine that’s
mine and that’s Cardinal Newman’s because I
live in a Newman house and so why are the two stockings on the fireplace? Well, because two has a little bit of a balance to it and because one’s Father Mike! one is Newman In case Cardinal Newman ever shows up It’s not why. Hi, my name is Fr. Mike Schmitz and this
is Ascension Presents So, since I live in and work in a college campus a lot of
times I’m talking with young people who are trying to figure out, “OK, what’s the
work, the work I’m gonna do for the rest of my life? What’s the … what’s the job I’m
gonna have for the rest of my life? Because I want to make sure that I
choose the exact right job that kind of like, you know, is meaningful and fulfills
me,” and I get that. I get, like, I totally understand like the desire for that and
I totally understand the longing for like “I don’t want to waste my life at a
job that doesn’t mean anything,” but in order to approach this the right way,
I think we have to go back to the beginning and say, what is, ask the question, What is God’s plan for work? Because a lot of times, we can see work as being one of those things that either is to be avoided at all costs or it’s the thing that like is gonna give me meaning, is
gonna give me fulfillment. So what’s God’s plan for work?
We go back to the book of Genesis, we recognize that first off, right off the bat, that God himself is a worker, that God himself is a laborer, that God creates. Now in other cultures, other religions, they would say,
“No, no, no. God doesn’t do that. That’s beneath God,” but in Scripture, God creates. He reveals that he is a worker and then he makes man and woman in his own image and likeness. And when God places Adam in
the garden, he puts him in the garden to go to work. He puts him in the garden to
cultivate, and to care for it, to work the garden. And so we recognize that actually God’s original plan for us as human beings in his image and likeness is labor, that God makes us in the garden, He actually reveals that God makes us for labor, for leisure, and for love. Because he makes us for labor, he puts us in
the garden. Now cultivate and care for it. He makes us for leisure, like on the seventh day, God rests and calls us to enter into rest as well. He makes us for love. He put Adam and Eve in the garden. God is love and his very nature is love and he made us in His image and likeness
which means he made us for love as well. So, God makes us for these three things:
labor, leisure, and love. And so we recognize that when we labor, we’re
participating in God’s identity, his nature. When we enter into rest, we’re
sharing in his identity and his nature and when we love, we’re participating and
sharing in his very nature, his very identity. The problem, of course, is that
that the story didn’t end in Genesis chapter 2. It goes on to Genesis chapter
3. And in Genesis chapter 3, brokenness entered into the world, right? The sin entered into the world. And now, because of sin, we experience those three things: leisure, labor, and love in a way they weren’t intended to be.
We experience love, oftentimes, as lust or as use We experience leisure either in terms
of like we just absolutely collapse, or we experience leisure in this way that just doesn’t unite us to bring us out to other people but we fold in on
ourselves and just kind of like live for ourselves. And we experience labor in
either one of two ways. Either labor is now a curse and it’s a burden that we
just need to just, you know, kind of suck up and do or we experience labor as the
thing that gives me my identity; it’s the thing that gives me meaning, it’s the thing that’s supposed to fulfill me. That’s the way we look to it for, right? So some of us say
like labor is the last thing I want to do or we say that labor is the the only thing I possibly could do, that gives my life meaning. Now, we have to understand.
Both of those are getting it wrong. Because yes, while, while labor is difficult and in fact it’s even in Genesis 3: God says by the sweat of your brow, you will toil amidst, you know, the thorns and thistles. (Another video on that later) So, there is a, there is a burden that’s associated with it but it’s
not just a burden. Because why? Because you remain and I remain in the image and
likeness of God. So when we work, it’s not merely a burden. There’s actually, there’s no such thing as work that’s merely drudgery or merely toil, that’s merely the curse. Why? Because every act of work has dignity.
Every act of work has dignity, whether you’re someone who like, does brain surgery or heart-lung surgery on children or you’re someone who like, sorts files all day, whether you’re someone who like, you know, is building a rocket ship to go to Mars and like, you know, advance our space exploration or you’re someone who, you know, pounds nails into shingles on a roof all day. Like, you might say that,
“Well, one’s better than the other.” No. They all have meaning; they all have dignity. Why? John Paul II says because work is an inherently a human act, work has dignity because you are doing it and you, as a human being, have dignity. That means that when you do it, when you act, when you work, you’re doing what? You’re imaging God in this world. Remember God, he’s a worker and so when you do work, you are imaging him. That’s one of the reasons why all work has meaning. All work is not merely toil, it’s not merely drudgery. It actually also has meaning
because you’re doing it. All work is a human act, even if it’s something that could be done by a monkey or something could be done by robot, when you do it, the very quality of it completely changes and it becomes something with meaning and dignity. No, not only that, it also, my guess is you’re gonna get paid for your work and that’s an interesting thing too, is sometimes I talk to students who are like, “Well, I don’t want to do that job because like it just doesn’t fulfill me, it doesn’t have meaning, it doesn’t have a purpose.” Well, one of the purposes of work is to get you paid, so you can go on living, right? Because the goal of life is not work.
The goal of life is living. And the goal of life is not just to do the job and give me an identity. That’s the other trap, remember? The goal of life is to be able to say, “How do I live, with my labor, but also in leisure and also live in love with others and with the Lord?” And, if your job pays you,
so that you can live, that’s the meaning. That can, that could be very, very
simply, the meaning of your work. I mean, I’ve heard someone say before that, um, that, “work is the kind of thing that,
unless they paid you, you wouldn’t do it.” So if you find your job like, “Yeah, I wouldn’t be here unless they paid me,” well, that’s ‘cuz you’re going to work everyday. Work doesn’t have to have that inherent meaning that you would do even if they didn’t pay you. If you had a job like that, that’s nice.
Most people don’t have jobs like that, but every act of work has dignity
because of the fact it’s a human act and because of the fact that you’re probably
getting paid so that you can go and live. There’s one more thing about work. When God placed Adam in the garden, he placed him in the garden to cultivate and care for it. The word that is used to serve or to work the soil, to work the garden, is the same word later on in the, in the Old Testament that is used of
the priests who work or serve in the Temple. So now, our work takes on this
cosmic appreciation as well. Not only do we participate in the kind of, the very labor of the Lord, but also any work, when offered to God, can also become an act of worship. It is not your identity. It’s not meant to fulfill you, but it is your way of being able to say, “Lord, I offer this to you in cosmic service, in cosmic worship.” My work can be offered to God as worship,
so can yours. From all us here at Ascension Presents,
my name is Father Mike. God bless. and get to work, ha! Right?
Yeah or not get to work or whatever. You do you. Don’t “do you”. That’s a dumb saying.
Why did I say that? I don’t know. I say dumb things sometimes. That’s what I do.