May 11, 2016

The Worker

"Hell is not to love anyone, anymore"  --author George Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

It's a lifetime job. When we think we just can't do it another day, always something intervenes, and we go on; we find the light, the way beyond to the challenge to love once more, one more day.
Love, they say, is a gift; a gift from God. Its origins are mysterious, its source an eternal well springing forth cool waters, peace for our soul. Yet it 's the one, single thing that makes work easier because of  this love we bear for each other, even in unexpected moments. 
The Work, tasks undertaken for others, becomes incrementally more and more difficult to the degree in which conflict  (read: conflict as the ego-who-is-I) enters; quarreling, dissension, hearts full with a Spirit of Criticism, or Competition; those drain the purpose for our being, the reasons for which we live every day. This makes many sad in their day and feeling life without good purpose.

An important distinction to make is the difference between shining a light upon oneself and a light shone upon others. We are Workers, here to bear the faults of others patiently, with grace and the prayerful hope that living in any given moment, we may share that grace with others.

Be humble in the Work, engage with mutual charity; see all and yet remain simple minded. Although some will surely say that you are blind, that you do not see the faults and crimes of others. Be still, because you do. 
The difficulty is not seeing the faults, for they are very often so obvious to onlookers, but  have the courage to look past them to the grace and the beauty that surely is there. To see others virtues, positive aspects and skills, and encourage their development, is a crucial activity of the Christian Worker.

The community which is composed of lay people, those lacking formal, religious training from say a monastery or a convent, may initially find it difficult to regulate themselves as a group working within the frame of Christ's charity; Saint Paul knew this well. 

The Bible records many a letter from Paul to the early Christian communities exhorting them to practice and follow the ways, the teachings of the Christ. Thus the temptation to criticize is strong, the will to patience may be weak.

Yet we must always recall that each and everyone has come to community of his or her own free will; the Spirit has moved them there. Sometimes within a community the most overtly passionate, the most open and strong willed among us, those who speech is aggressive, whose passion flows towards a state of "activism," who are quick to call out others-- those ones will indeed find division. Without good leadership such persons may undo the work of service that the Christian community is called to. This antithesis of the Catholic Worker movement is decidedly detrimental to the growth of the faithful. 

With division fully operational, it is not hard to imagine why things are not running smoothly, why the spirit of peace and justice do not materialize. Leaders, true christian leaders are hard to find. The very best are as the Beatitudes preach: humble, kindhearted, steadfast, filled with the love of the Holy Spirit. It is sometimes these very virtues that make it hard for the humble to assume leadership. Yet like Saint Paul, they must.

The Christian Worker movement is one in which each member may, through his or her daily work, find peace and the love of the Christ, returned to them thru those whom they serve and in return, quite possibly, discover on their own, personal reasons  what is important in life, and what they will do in that lifetime.

 Responding to this challenge of the work of a lifetime is found in our beating hearts, alongside the love each brings, the love they bear. In doing the Work, love, we learn, is not the least weak; it's strong, patient, kind, forbearing, slow to seek revenge, sooner to seek peace through forgiveness. 
This love is not a brittle, fickle affection; rather a hard won, passionate love as the Christ on the Cross who endures. Those following in His steps are the Workers, the Jesus people.
Corinthians 13

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