From Saint Paul’s teaching, we know that we have to renew the world in the spirit of Jesus Christ, that we have to place Our Lord at the summit and at the heart of all things.
—Do you think you are carrying this out in your work, in your professional task?
Why don’t you try converting your whole life into the service of God — your work and your rest, your tears and your smiles?
—You can… and you must!
Each and every creature, each and every event of this life, without exception, must be steps which take you to God, which move you to know him and love him, to give him thanks, and to strive to make everyone else know and love him.
We are under an obligation to work, and to work conscientiously, with a sense of responsibility, with love and perseverance, without any shirking or frivolity. Because work is a command from God, and God is to be obeyed, as the Psalmist says, in laetitia, joyfully!
We have to conquer for Christ every noble human value.
When a person really lives charity, there is no time left for self-seeking. There is no room left for pride. We will not find occasion for anything but service!
Every activity — be it of great human importance or not — must become for you a means to serve Our Lord and your fellow men. That is the true measure of its importance.
Work always and in everything with sacrifice, to put Christ at the summit of all human activities.
Correspondence to grace is to be found also in those very little things of each day, which seem unimportant and yet have the transcendence of Love.
You cannot forget that any worthy, noble and honest work at the human level can — and should! — be raised to the supernatural level, becoming a divine task.
Jesus, our Lord and Model, growing up and living as one of us, reveals to us that human existence — your life — and its humdrum, ordinary business, have a meaning which is divine, which belongs to eternity.
You should be full of wonder at the goodness of our Father God. Are you not filled with joy to know that your home, your family, your country, which you love so much, are the raw material which you must sanctify?
My daughter, you have set up a home. I like to remind you that you women — as you well know — have a great strength, which you know how to enfold within a special gentleness, so that it is not noticed. With that strength, you can make your husband and children instruments of God, or demons.
—You will always make them instruments of God: he is counting on your help.
I am moved that the Apostle should call Christian marriage sacramentum magnum — a great sacrament. From this, too, I deduce the enormous importance of the task of parents.
—You share in the creative power of God: that is why human love is holy, good and noble. It is a gladness of heart which God — in his loving providence — wants others freely to give up.
—Each child that God grants you is a wonderful blessing from him: don’t be afraid of children!
In conversations I have had with so many married couples, I tell them often that while both they and their children are alive, they should help them to be saints, while being well aware that none of us will be a saint on earth. All we will do is struggle, struggle, struggle.
—And I also tell them: you Christian mothers and fathers are a great spiritual motor, sending the strength of God to your own ones, strength for that struggle, strength to win, strength to be saints. Don’t let them down!
Don’t be afraid of loving others, for His sake: and don’t worry about loving your own people even more, provided that no matter how much you love them, you love Him a million times more.
Coepit facere et docere — Jesus began to do and then to teach. You and I have to bear witness with our example, because we cannot live a double life. We cannot preach what we do not practise. In other words, we have to teach what we are at least struggling to put into practice.
Christian: you have the obligation of being an example in all fields: including being an example as a citizen, in your fulfilment of the laws directed to the common good.
You are very demanding. You want everyone else, including those who work in the public service, to carry out their obligations. “It is their duty!” you say. Have you then ever thought about whether you respect the timetable of your work and do it conscientiously?
Carry out all your duties as a citizen. Do not try to get out of any of your obligations. Exercise all your rights, too, for the good of society, without making any rash exceptions.
—You must give Christian witness in that also.
If we really want to sanctify our work, we have inescapably to fulfil the first condition: that of working — and working well! — with human and supernatural seriousness.
Your charity should be likeable. Without neglecting prudence or naturalness, try to have, though you may be crying inside, a smile on your lips for everyone at all times, and try to render an unstinting service too.
That half-finished work is a caricature of the holocaust, the total offering God is asking of you.
If you say that you want to imitate Christ… and yet have time on your hands, then you are going along paths of lukewarmness.
Professional work — and working in the home is also a first-class profession — is a witness to the worth of the human creature; a chance to develop one’s own personality; a bond of union with others; a fund of resources; a way of helping in the improvement of the society we live in, and of promoting the progress of the whole human race…
—For a Christian, these grand views become even deeper and wider. Because work, which Christ took up as something both redeemed and redeeming, becomes a means, a way of holiness, a specific task which sanctifies and can be sanctified.
The Lord wants his children, those of us who have received the gift of faith, to proclaim the original optimistic view of creation, the love for the world which is at the heart of Christianity .
—So there should always be enthusiasm in your professional work, and in your effort to build up the earthly city.
You must be careful: don’t let your professional success or failure — which will certainly come — make you forget, even for a moment, what the true aim of your work is: the glory of God!
Christian responsibility in work cannot be limited to just putting in the hours. It means doing the task with technical and professional competence… and, above all, with love of God.
What a pity to kill time which is a treasure of God!
Since all honest professions can and ought to be sanctified, no child of God has the right to say: I can’t do apostolate.
From the hidden life of Jesus you must draw this further consequence: not to be in a hurry… even when you are!
That is to say, first and foremost comes the interior life. Everything else, the apostolate, any apostolate, is a corollary.
Face up to the problems of this world with a sense of the supernatural, and following the principles of ethics. They do not threaten or undermine your personality: they channel it.
—In this way you will bring to your behaviour a living strength which will win people over; and you will be confirmed in your progress along the right path.
God Our Lord wants you to be holy, so that you can make others holy. For this to be possible you need to look at yourself with courage and frankness; you need to look at the Lord Our God; then, and only then, you need to look at the world.
Encourage your noble human qualities. They can be the beginning of the building of your sanctification. At the same time, remember what I have already told you before, that when serving God, you have to burn everything, even “what people will say”, and even what they call reputation, if necessary.
You need formation, because you need a profound sense of responsibility, if you are to foster and encourage the activity of Catholics in public life. And you will then do so with the respect that everyone’s freedom deserves, reminding each and every one that they have to be consistent with their faith.
Through your professional work, which you bring to completion with all the human and supernatural perfection possible, you can — and should! — give Christian standards in the places where you carry out your profession or job.
As a Christian you have a duty to act and not stand aloof, making your contribution to serve the common good loyally and with personal freedom.
We children of God, who are citizens with the same standing as any others, have to take part fearlessly in all honest human activities and organizations, so that Christ may be present in them.
Our Lord will ask a strict account of each one of us if through neglect or love of comfort we do not freely strive to play a part in the human developments and decisions on which the present and future of society depend.
With a sense of profound humility — strong in the name of our God, and, as the Psalmist says, not “in the numbers of our chariots and of our horses” — we have to make sure, without regard for human considerations, that there are no corners of society where Christ is not known.
Freely, according to your own interests and talents, you have to take an active, effective part in the wholesome public or private associations of your country, in a way that is full of the Christian spirit. Such organizations never fail to make some difference to people’s temporal or eternal good.
Struggle to make sure that those human institutions and structures in which you work and move with the full rights of a citizen, are in accordance with the principles which govern a Christian view of life.
In this way you can be sure that you are giving people the means to live according to their real worth; and you will enable many souls, with God’s grace, to respond personally to their Christian vocation.
It is a Christian’s duty, and a citizen’s duty, to defend and promote, out of piety and general culture, those monuments that are found along streets and highways — the wayside crosses, the statues of Our Lady, and the like. And we should reconstruct those which have been destroyed by vandalism, or the passage of time.
We have to stand out boldly against those “damning freedoms” — those daughters of licence, granddaughters of evil passions, great granddaughters of original sin — which come down, as you can see, in a direct line from the devil.
For the sake of the objective truth, and to put a stop to the damage they do, I have to insist that we should give neither publicity nor praise… to the enemies of God; not even after they are dead.
Nowadays our Mother the Church is being attacked in the social field and by the governments of nations. That is why God is sending his children — is sending you! — to struggle, and to spread the truth in those areas.
You are an ordinary citizen. It is precisely because of that secularity of yours, which is the same as, and neither more nor less than, that of your colleagues, that you have to be sufficiently brave — which may sometimes mean being very brave — to make your faith felt. They should see your good works and the motive that drives you to do them.
Children of God — like yourself — cannot be afraid of living in the professional or social surroundings which are proper to them. They are never alone!
—God Our Lord, who always goes with you, grants you the means to be faithful to him, and to bring others to him.
All for Love! This is the way of holiness, the way of happiness.
Face up to your intellectual tasks, the highest things of the spirit and also those things that are most down to earth, the things we all of necessity have to do, with this in mind; and you will live joyfully and in peace.
As a Christian, you can give way, within the limits of faith and morals, in everything that is your own; you can give way with all your heart… But in what belongs to Jesus Christ, you cannot give way!
When you have to give orders, do not humiliate anyone. Go gently. Respect the intelligence and the will of the one who is obeying.
Naturally, you have to use earthly means. But put a lot of effort into being detached from everything of the earth, so that you can deal with it with your mind always fixed on the service of God and of your fellow men.
Plan everything? Everything! you told me. All right: we need to use our prudence. But bear in mind that human undertakings, whether they are hard or simple, always have to count on a margin of the unforeseen; and that a Christian should never shut off the road of hope, or be forgetful of God’s Providence.
You have to work with such supernatural vision that you let yourself be absorbed by your activity only in order to make it divine. In this way the earthly becomes divine, the temporal eternal.
Things done in the service of God never fail through lack of money: they fail through lack of spirit.
Aren’t you glad to feel the poverty of Jesus so close to you? How splendid it is to be lacking even what is necessary! But as He did, it must be borne silently and unnoticed.
Sincere devotion, true love of God, leads us to work, to fulfil the duty of each day, even though it is far from easy.
People have often drawn attention to the danger of deeds performed without any interior life to inspire them; but we should also stress the danger of an interior life — if such a thing is possible — without deeds.
The interior struggle doesn’t take us away from our temporal business — it makes us finish it off better!
Your life cannot be the repetition of actions which are all the same, because the next one should be more upright, more effective, more full of love than the last. Each day should mean new light, new enthusiasm — for Him!
Every single day, do what you can to know God better, to get acquainted with him, to fall more in love with him each moment, and to think of nothing but of his Love and his glory.
You will carry out this plan, my child, if you never, for any reason whatever, give up your times of prayer, your presence of God, with the aspirations and spiritual communions that set you on fire, your unhurried Holy Mass, and your work, finished off well for him.
I will never share the opinion — though I respect it — of those who separate prayer from active life, as if they were incompatible.
We children of God have to be contemplatives: people who, in the midst of the din of the throng, know how to find silence of soul in a lasting conversation with Our Lord, people who know how to look at him as they look at a Father, as they look at a Friend, whom they love madly.
Those who are pious, with a piety devoid of affectation, carry out their professional duty perfectly, since they know that their work is a prayer raised to God.
Our being children of God, I insist, leads us to have a contemplative spirit in the midst of all human activities; to be light, salt and leaven through our prayer, through our mortification, through our knowledge of religion and of our profession. We will carry out this aim: the more within the world we are, the more we must be God’s.
Good gold and diamonds lie far down in the depths of the earth, not within everyone’s reach.
Your task of holiness — your holiness and that of others — depends on your fervour, your cheerfulness, your everyday, obscure, normal, ordinary work.
In our ordinary behaviour we need a power far greater than that of the legendary King Midas, who changed all he touched to gold.
—We have to change, through love, the human work of our usual working day into the work of God: something that will last for ever.
If you put your mind to it, everything in your life can be offered to the Lord, can provide an opportunity to talk with your Father in Heaven, who is always keeping new illumination for you, and granting it to you.
Work with cheerfulness, with peace, with presence of God.
—In this way you will also do your task with common sense. You will carry it through to the end. Though tiredness is beating you down, you will finish it off well; and your works will be pleasing to God.
You should maintain throughout the day a constant conversation with Our Lord, a conversation fed even by the things that happen in your professional work.
Go in spirit to the Tabernacle… and offer to God the work that is in your hands.
From there, where you are working, let your heart escape to the Lord, right close to the Tabernacle, to tell him, without doing anything odd, “My Jesus, I love You”.
Don’t be afraid to call him so — my Jesus — and to say it to him often.
A priest who was saying the Divine Office prepared himself for prayer in this way: ‘I will follow the rule of saying, when I start: “I want to pray as the saints pray”, and then I will invite my Guardian Angel to sing the Lord’s praises with me.’
Try this in your own vocal prayer, and also as a way of increasing your presence of God in your work.
You have received God’s call to a specific way: it is to be at all the crossroads of the world, while you remain — doing your professional work — in God.
I beg you, don’t ever lose the supernatural point of view. Correct your intention as the course of a ship is corrected on the high seas: by looking at the star, by looking at Mary. Then you will always be sure of reaching harbour.