A Scriptural reflection for the readings of Sunday, October 22, 2006. The call to serve. Can you imagine how happy we would be if we lived and worked with Jesus' spirit of service? I'm not talking about thinking of this every now and then as I do. But to always be conscious of the Christ within us who moves our heart to selflessly love and serve. Can you imagine how many of the ills of the world, wars, terrorism, poverty, hunger,violence would vanish if all of us, rich and poor, working class and elite would live our lives moved by this spirit of service?
"Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 43-45) The Son of God. Here to serve! Yet, when we work we are more concerned about our ego and issues of power, greed, and position than about using our gifts for the benefit of society. Earlier this year I heard a person in my parish talk about his work. He is 79 and has a large Christmas Tree farm with thousands and thousands of trees. Apparently they take a lot of work, trimming and pruning. Every morning, he would stand in front of the trees and say this prayer by heart:
"Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all who pass their life in labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my own inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to use and develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties.
Help me to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must render of time lost, talents wasted, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen" (Prayer to Saint Joseph for the Spirit of Work)
He inspired me with his daily offering. I now have this prayer at my desk and say it every day before work. I hope it can help me work with a spirit of service. We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God...