WHEN leaders of society, government, businesses, industries and finance, and framers of policy, do not have job-creation that makes it possible for every citizen to be employed in productive work, they are being sinful. But sinful is of a religious denotation. Many leaders and officials have become atheists. So let’s substitute “negligent” and “guilty of dereliction of duty” for sinful.
That government, industries and businesses have a duty to provide meaningful work and to depend on human work for the fulfillment of their distinct missions is understood to be what a social organization is all about — even by non-believing fascists, socialists and communists. That is why one of the grandest goals of socialists and communists is full employment.
St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, made sure that the spirituality of the prelature he founded heavily emphasized the sanctification of ordinary work. The Bible shows that God created man to share in his attributes. And man could only do that if God also gave man the duty to work and the power to create, to organize and manage the world of plants and animals. And St. Josemaria insisted that man should work as Christ–the supreme example of manhood. Sanctifying ordinary work is to work as well as Christ did on everything–even the smallest and seemingly unimportant task.
He said in No. 815 of The Way: “Do you really want to be a saint? Carry out the little duty of each moment; do what you ought and put your heart into what you are doing.” And in No. 817 of the same book: “Great holiness consists in carrying out the little duties of each moment.”
Italy’s Policoro Project
Pope Francis last week (on December 14) spoke about work and employment to the people of the “Policoro Project” sponsored by the Italian Bishops’ Conference. It is a project that precisely aims to contribute to solving the problem of joblessness for young people.
The Holy Father said, “How many young people today are victims of unemployment! And when there is no work, dignity is at risk, because the lack of work not only does not enable one to bring the bread home, but it does not make one feel worthy of earning one’s life! Young people are victims of this today. How many of them have by now stopped looking for work, resigned to the continuous rejections or indifference of a society that prizes only the privileged – even if they are corrupt – and impedes those who merit affirming themselves. The prize seems to go to those who are sure of themselves, although this security was acquired by corruption. Work is not a gift kindly granted to a few that are recommended: it is the right of all!”
“Born twenty years ago was the Policoro Project, fruit of the Ecclesiastical Congress of Palermo. The project came to light for a specific purpose: to single out answers to the existential question of so many young people that risk passing from work unemployment to life unemployment.
“In its attempt to combine the Gospel with the concreteness of life, this project represented immediately a great initiative of youthful promotion, a real occasion of local development of a national dimension. Its forceful ideas marked its success: the formation of young people, the launching of cooperatives, the creation of mediation figures, such as the ‘community animators,’ and a long series of concrete gestures, a visible sign of the commitment to active presence over these twenty years.
“With its concrete attention to the territory and to the search for shared solutions, the Policoro Project has demonstrated how the quality of “free, creative. participative and solidaristic” work expresses and always makes the dignity of human life itself grow (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 192). We must not lose sight of the urgency to reaffirm this dignity! It is proper to each and all. Every worker has the right to see him protected, and in particular, young people must be able to cultivate the confidence that their efforts, their enthusiasm, the investment of their energies and their resources will not be futile.”
May these words and thoughts of the Holy Father somehow penetrate into the hearts and minds of Filipinos in leadership positions
[We thank Zenit.org for the use of its translation of Pope Francis’ talk.]