Kintsukuroi

On Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be found at fault, should be lovingly corrected.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 15


Kintsukuroi (金繕い, きんつくろい), or golden repair, is a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by joining together the broken pieces with the use of a lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.

It reflects a philosophy of giving value to the brokenness of the object as part of its history, of what makes it even more valuable.

Each of us experience a form of brokenness – be it the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the experience of physical, psychological, or verbal abuse – but these brokenness shapes us into who we are. How we coped, how we handled these brokenness defines our character.

But, human as we are, the way we coped with or handled our brokenness may not be perfect. In fact, many times, it could be unhealthy. Instead of allowing us to grow and realize our full potential, we become stunted, stuck, and imprisoned by the walls we have built to protect ourselves.

That is because we were alone at the time.

In Carmel, we journey with our brothers, and most especially with our mother and sister, Mary (RIVC 2). By opening ourselves up for corrections, we allow ourselves to be worked on by the Holy Spirit, to be repaired and be put together.

Jesus was perfect in all sense of the word. He was a good Jew, he had quite a number of fans, he was well loved by many, a rockstar, except perhaps in his hometown where he was rejected, probably because they were all too familiar with the carpenter’s son and it seems unbelievable and hard to accept that someone they knew to be coming from a not so known family to suddenly be in the limelight. Yet, despite his being perfect, he chose to embrace brokenness – to experience to be flogged, to be tortured, to be mocked, to be humiliated, and to be killed – when he can choose otherwise.

But it is exactly in his brokenness that we experience wholeness. In his dying we see the beauty of self-sacrifice, of self-giving, as the path to salvation, to that place where we can experience wholeness.

Jesus is the Kintsukuroi, the golden repair.

When we embrace Jesus, he becomes our glue that would bind our brokenness. He becomes our lacquer of pure gold that would shine in our brokenness.

We are broken, but our brokenness is something that we should not hide, because it is in our brokenness that the light of Jesus would shine.

How did Jesus bind your Kintsukuroi?

Psalm 51:17-19
Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept.i My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn

Prayer
Lord, repair my broken heart. Bind it with the love of Jesus. Amen.

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In allegiance to Jesus Christ

Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life in allegiance to Jesus Christ – how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of the Master.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 2


The world is full of issues.

It will never run out of issues, be it moral, political, or spiritual, because the ways of the world is different. It is tainted by human interests, human desires, human needs, and that is why Christ showed us the way to the Father. What it really means to be truly human.

And then there are those who try to live a righteous life, in allegiance to Jesus Christ, they say, but then end up judging others, becoming unmerciful, unloving, making people stumble, and sounding and acting in such self righteous ways that we would no longer recognize Christ or the Father in their lives. For them, to look and sound holy is the way to perfection.

But what does “to be in allegiance to Jesus Christ” really mean?

To be in allegiance to Christ is to follow Christ, and that means to take the path of love. To be able to sacrifice one’s self for the sake of the other and to bring others back to God, not by judging them but through love.

Christ came in a world that is sinful, not to judge but to love.

Why did Christ rebuke the Pharisees and the Sadducees? People of the law, whose life have been dedicated to God and in the strict following of the law of God? Where they sinners? Definitely not, but they were so concerned of the laws of men that they closed themselves up from the spirit.

And so we hear St. Paul say:

But now we are released from the law, dead to what held us captive, so that we may serve in the newness of the spirit and not under the obsolete letter. (Romans 7:6)

How are we living a life in allegiance to Jesus Christ?

Romans 7:1, 4-6

Are you unaware, brothers (for I am speaking to people who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over one as long as one lives?

In the same way, my brothers, you also were put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might belong to another, to the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the flesh, our sinful passions, awakened by the law, worked in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, dead to what held us captive, so that we may serve in the newness of the spirit and not under the obsolete letter.

Prayer

Lord, grant me a heart that is capable of loving others despite their failings. Allow me to love those I could not love, and to see them in their struggles knowing that they too are searching for the love that only you could give. Let me be an instrument of love. Amen.

Rules

It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast so henceforward; and therefore:

Rule of St. Albert, No. 3


When Pope St. John XXIII convened the Bishops of the world to make the church more responsive to the needs of the times through Vatican Council II, the changes were drastic and many opposed.

It was unimaginable for many that lay persons and brothers were now able to take the Holy Communion under both species – bread and wine – on a regular basis. Some priests would even refuse to drink from the same cup with the lay and brothers.

For Br. Gesuino Carbone, OCarm, however, he believed in the wisdom of the church fathers at the time, and as such, he said, “If that’s what the church allows, that’s what is good for me.”

But he was also respectful to the sensitivities of his brothers, and so when a brother seemed reluctant to drink from the same cup, he uses a silver spoon to receive the wine.

Sometimes we are not as accepting when it comes to rules and policies that would break the norm and take us out of our comfort zones. Reasons would not be of lack. There will be plenty of those.

When the hermits of Mt. Carmel decided to ask St. Albert of Jerusalem to craft a rule for them, they were anticipating a total change of their lifestyle, realizing that eventually they would need to leave Mt. Carmel.

They knew that they would have to give up something, but they also knew that if they wanted to recreate the Mt. Carmel that they loved, they would need each other, for each possesses a piece of that sacred mountain, and each piece is precious. But for them to be able to live a life in community, order must be established, and each one must learn to express his freedom in relation to each other.

That was the role of the rule, to keep these pilgrims and hermits together at a time when their way of life was being threatened, and the rule has helped them define themselves and mark their role in the Church as a whole.

When a rule seems to challenge your beliefs, what do you do?

Matthew 23:1-12
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Prayer
Lord grant me a heart that is ready to listen to the wisdom of the rules that you have set before me, not blindly accepting, but critically imbibing, looking for your hand in each event. Amen.

No extras

You may have as many asses and mules as you need, however, and may keep a certain amount of livestock or poultry.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 13


When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the kingdom of God, he reminded them that they should not bring any extras, not money for their food or any bag for that matter (Matthew 10:5-15 and Luke 10:1-12).

He stripped his disciples of their comforts and taught them to rely solely on God, as he said in Matthew 6:25-26:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

This is poverty.

Sometimes we tend to look at life based on our perceived needs and out inability to provide such needs. We then panic and resort to a lot of complaining, or at times even express our anger and frustration through harmful ways. We tend to forget that, come to think of it, we have enough of what we really need.

When Pope Innocent IV revised the Rule of Life of the Carmelites in 1247, he made sure that this would be suited to their new lifestyle, which at the time was beginning to be influenced by the Mendicant Orders, the Franciscans and the Dominicans.

Their migration from Mt. Carmel back to Europe, made it impossible for them to live a hermit’s life, and for their survival they needed animals for them to produce their own food. However, they were to have all these based on their need and not for any other reason.

When we start to accumulate things even if we don’t need them, we start to also lose sight of our being Christians. We start to go on a “possessing” frenzy and instead of focusing on doing our Christian duties, we become more concerned on how we could increase our yields or profit. And we make reasons like, “We need it for us to be more effective in our ministries,” or such other similar reasons.

There is a reason why Jesus did not want his disciples to bring extra stuffs when he sent them out to preach the Good News, and there is a reason why he forbade them to take payment for their services. For Jesus, it is enough that they be satisfied with having food to eat and a shelter for the night, other than that, its excess.

This is poverty. The absence of excess.

Pope Innocent IV may have permitted us to do something about our livelihood, but he gave this permission with caution. It should be based on our actual need, not our perceived need, which, most of time, are but our wants disguised.

How do I live my poverty?

Luke 10:1-7
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.

Prayer
Lord, please grant me a heart that desires only that which you desire for me. Allow me to be grateful for the little that I have and to appreciate your goodness for providing all that I need. Amen.

Power trip

Your brother B., and whoever may succeed you as Prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make yourself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 22


Because of the authority, power and responsibility that some people are privileged to have been lent with, they sometimes forget that such authority, power, and responsibility must be exercised with the humility of a servant, just like Christ, and not as a king like Herod or the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’s time.

A brother once came to me, distraught and disturbed. When he called a community of missionary sisters catering to migrant workers, asking permission to pray in their chapel for a few minutes, he was greeted by a very warm and grandmotherly voice, happy to hear that a group of brothers would visit them. She said she’d ask permission from their superior first, a common protocol among religious communities. The line went silent for a few minutes, but a few minutes later, he said that he was surprised to overhear a very angry lady shouting to the top of her breath. She was telling someone to lie and say that their chapel was under renovation. The brother who overheard the conversation, did not know what to do. He did not know how he should react, knowing that it was the sweet grandmother who was scolded by the angry lady.

A few minutes later, the comforting voice on the other end of the line came back, apologizing, saying that their chapel was being repaired. He wanted to console the person on the other line, believing that he must have caused the nice old lady sorrow, but he decided to just thank her and placed the phone down.

What really bothered him was when he heard that a few days later the nun superior of that congregation reprimanded his superior because he intruded their convent and that he called at a very unholy hour of the night. Allegations which he said were not true, because as a religious himself, he knows that the nuns have schedules to follow, especially when it comes to prayers.

All of us have issues to face, but when we are placed in the position to be the first among our brothers or sisters, that does not give us the right or the authority to lord over our brothers and sisters, so much more, on others who has nothing to do with us, except perhaps for an occasional crossing of paths. And definitely, it is just not right for us to use the influence being afforded to us, just to satisfy whatever issues we may be facing at the moment.

How much of a brother/sister have I become for others?

Mark 10:35-45
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Prayer
Lord, grant me a humble heart, one with the desire to serve my brothers and sisters with an ever grateful and happy heart. And allow me to understand others who are in pain. Amen.

Being with the people – experience or experiment?

Here then are a few points I have written down to provide you with a standard of conduct to live up to; but our Lord, at his second coming, will reward anyone who does more than he is obliged to do. See that the bounds of common sense are not exceeded, however, for common sense is the guide of the virtues.

Rule of St. Albert, No 24


Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM., secretary for the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told a group of young religious from different congregations in the Philippines that he does not believe in month-long immersions to different marginalized sectors because most of these immersions would actually end up experiments.

What he wants is for the religious to actually experience the life of the marginalized and that means being one with them for the rest of one’s religious life – in their pain, in their hopes, in the challenges that they face.

It is no wonder that for many, immersions to marginalized communities is a grand vacation, a time when a simple professed religious, or seminarians in general, is away from the scrutinizing eyes of the formators.

A friend confided to me once that he was disturbed when an old lady elder of a tribe where they had their immersion came to him crying, “Brother, your companion said that listening to our stories is not part of your being here. He said you are simply here to just live with us.”

Every opportunity we get to be with the people is an opportunity not just to understand them or their situation but also to show them that we are one with them in their most difficult time.

Listening to their stories, no matter how “uninteresting” they may be or “un-educated” or “contra-intellectual” they may be is part of our being one with them.

It is simply recognition of the trust and confidence that they have gifted us with. A gift that is very precious and rare, for they only share their story to those whom they consider to be part of their family, their tribe, their community, with someone who they consider to be special.

Besides, for a religious, vowed to follow the footsteps of the man from Nazareth, no story will ever be uninteresting, for every story, every encounter is an encounter with the Divine.

As children of God, how willing are we to go beyond our comfort zones and give more than what we can give to the people who needs us the most?

Matthew 14:13-16
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

Prayer
Lord, grant me a compassionate heart that’s willing to give more than what I can offer, knowing that all that I have, all that I am is yours. Amen.

Weapon against deceit

Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; and the victory lies in this – your faith. On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 19


On one of his broadcasted sermons, a famous tele-evangelist in the Philippines warned his congregation of the wiliness of the enemy. He said that the devil would even use God’s words – the Bible – for the purpose of misleading the faithful.

How does he, the devil, do this?

The preacher said, by making insignificant and un-noticeable twists especially on the interpretation of the scriptures. He continued, “But you don’t need to worry because now, God himself has personally appointed me to show you the right path.”

Case closed.

The devil indeed is very foxy. And despite the obviousness of the erroneous use of the scripture, thousands still continue to flock. Why?

Out of our need and our vulnerability, we tend to be easily convinced by people with great charisma, people who have authority when they talk, people who seems to know what to say and what we need to hear.

And if we are not familiar with God’s Word, if we do not make it a habit to read and contemplate on his Word, we make ourselves vulnerable to such trickeries of the devil.

Reading the Bible is not a taboo in the church, rather, the faithful are encouraged to read and study it, to discuss it with other believers and to make every Word of God alive in their hearts, minds, and actions.

One such practice is the Lectio Divina, or the prayerful reading of the Holy Scripture.

During the World Synod of Bishops in 2008, Auxiliary Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamales of Valparaiso, Chile, pointed out in his explanatory exposition on the Lectio Divina that in reading the Holy Scripture, “we must understand the Word to discover what God teaches us through the inspired author.”

He added, “We must practice the Word to call upon life, learn its meaning, better our mission and reinforce hope.” 

How do you use God’s word?

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Prayer
Lord, grant me a heart that delights in your Word. One that is full of excitement to know of your love for me. So excited that I could not stop it from overflowing to every people I meet. Amen.

Speak to bless

The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in silence and hope. For this reason I lay down that you are to keep silence from after Compline until after Prime the next day. At other times, although you need not keep silence so strictly, be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for as Scripture has it – and experience teaches us no less – Sin will not be wanting where there is much talk, and He who is careless in speech will come to harm; and elsewhere: The use of many words brings harm to the speaker’s soul. And our Lord says in the Gospel: Every rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on judgment day. Make a balance then, each of you, to weigh his words in; keep a tight rein on your mouths, lest you should stumble and fall in speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offence, and employ every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 21


Have you ever listened to yourself talk? I mean, have you ever tried to listen to what you’re saying, like, how do you sound to the person you’re talking to? Do you come as arrogant or, perhaps, insincere?  How about sincere and humble?

Do they feel that they are loved by the way you speak to them? Would they be inspired by your words? Or would they be angry and bitter?

Eight years ago, Edita Burgos, a secular Discalced Carmelite and mother of disappeared (desaparecido) political activist Jonas, brought before the Catholic bishops of the Philippines her burden of looking for her son.

In response, then CBCP president, Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, broadcasted on YouTube a prayer for her son. Her spirit was lifted and she was given the courage to pursue her cause. She felt relieved and comforted that the church was on her side.

On the sixth-year anniversary of the disappearance of Jonas in 2013, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called on the perpetrators to surface Jonas, saying, “I’m calling on those holding Jonas and many others who are being searched by their mothers, fathers and siblings, you will face God. You must face God now.” And her strength to continue the search and the fight for justice was refreshed.

Kind words bring life to a drought-ridden heart. It’s like rain in the desert. But harsh words break a person.

The old Christian communities were beset by irresponsible talk and so, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he said, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29).

But then there are times when we unintentionally release unkind words.

Our emotion color the way we speak, and so we could sound arrogant and defensive when we are angry and say things which we would later regret. Or when we feel vulnerable, our speech would come as submissive and weak.

That is why Paul said, “be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil…. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32).

When we are full of God’s love, only love would come out from our mouths for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).

Do my words inspire or discourage?

Matthew 12:33:37
“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Prayer
Lord, grant me a heart filled with your love, so that it would overflow to my mouth and only inspiring words would flow from it. Giving hope to the pained, encouraging the disheartened. Amen.

Praying together

An oratory should be built as conveniently as possible among the cells, where, if it can be done without difficulty, you are to gather each morning to hear Mass.

– Rule of St. Albert, No. 14


In one of his homilies during our novitiate year (2014), Fr. Billy Bong Manguiat, OCarm, our then novice master, reminded us that as religious and as Carmelites we should develop a love for the Eucharist as this is a reminder of God’s constant presence in us, of the resurrected Christ embedded and alive deep within our hearts.

Jesus said that if two or three would come together in his name, he is in their midst and that if they ask for anything to the Father, it will be given to them. (Matthew 18:19-20).

That is the value of community prayer.

For Carmelites, as should be for all Christians, prayer and contemplation are at the center of our spiritual life.

It is the fuel that drives us, and as such, to pray as a community is an essential part of our day to day life.

It’s not just an obligation but a fulfillment of a desire to create heaven on earth by first building a community strengthened and anchored in Christ through prayer.

The mass is also a form of community prayer where we acknowledge our full dependence on God, where we admit our sinfulness and repent our sins, where we praise and glorify His name, and where we ask for God’s blessings as one Christian family.

And although often times Jesus withdrew from the crowd to be alone with the Father, many times he also prayed with them by bringing them to God and bringing God to them through his teachings and in his every interaction with them.

So, as much as we should have time for solitude, we should also have time to praise God as a community, in that way we’d be able to transform our community into God’s family here on earth.

In what way would I be able to experience my belongingness to God’s family and how could I make others experience this?

Hebrews 10:19-25
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Prayer
Lord, grant me the heart to appreciate the value of community and for me to realize that your kingdom is what we make of our community. Amen.

The dignity of work

You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls. In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your teacher you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and weary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in your own selves, as an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that whoever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.

– Rule of St. Albert, No. 20


In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he warned the faithful against idleness emphasizing the rule which they gave to them, “If any one will not work, let him not eat,” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) while citing themselves as examples that the Thessalonians should follow.

“We were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you,” said Paul. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8).

As much as we want to dedicate our lives to God, we must also take care of our body and we do this by working, so that we would be able to provide for what we eat and for our other needs, without becoming a burden to others.

Working is also a way of showing how much we care for our community and our being part of a family. By the fruits of our labor we are able to help meet the needs of our community.

Working is also a celebration of God’s greatness, through his most precious creation – man.

In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, “Through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being.'” (Laborem Exercens, Ch. II, 9).

How much value have I been putting on work?

2 Thessalonians 3:-13
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.

Prayer
Lord, create in me a heart that appreciates and respects the beauty of labor. Allow me to appreciate the royalty of humility through work, recognize the beauty of serving others, and celebrate the dignity of your creation. Amen.