God's great work is the creation and redemption of the world wrought through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The one essential work in which we are all called to participate is God's transforming love.The Catholic Meaning of Labor Day
Labor Day is primarily a civil holiday and social event, but it also has religious significance, at least in Catholic circles. The Church uses the occasion to reaffirm its teaching about the dignity and value of workers and the work they do. We recall that work is not an end in itself, but rather a sharing in God’s work of creation and redemption.The social justice teaching of the Church insists that every person has a right and duty to work; that workers deserve just compensation and safe working conditions; and that our work is directed to the benefit of our families, our community, and our nation. On Labor Day we should pray for those who are unemployed and underemployed, conditions that take a toll on the quality of life for individuals and families.The Catholic observance of Labor Day also teaches us that how we do our work is as important as the specific kind of work we do. Every task, however menial in human terms, has true and lasting value if done for the right reason and with proper intention. “Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Col 3:17)At the same time, our serious commitment to work should also be balanced by other human values. Some people work too hard. They become workaholics and their work becomes their life. To be fully human, fully alive, we need time to rest, relax, recreate and pray. Even God rested on the seventh day! And Jesus encouraged his disciples to, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” (Mk 6:31) — Excerpted from Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Diocese of Providence
Meditation on Work
God's fundamental and original intention with regard to man, whom he created in his image and after his likeness, was not withdrawn or canceled out even when man, having broken the original covenant with God, heard the words: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread." These words refer to the sometimes heavy toil that from then onward has accompanied human work; but they do not alter the fact that work is the means whereby man achieves that "dominion" which is proper to him over the visible world, by "subjecting" the earth. Toil is something that is universally known, for it is universally experienced. It is familiar to those doing physical work under sometimes exceptionally laborious conditions. It is familiar not only to agricultural workers, who spend long days working the land, which sometimes "bears thorns and thistles," but also to those who work in mines and quarries, to steelworkers at their blast furnaces, to those who work in builders' yards and in construction work, often in danger of injury or death. It is also familiar to those at an intellectual workbench; to scientists; to those who bear the burden of grave responsibility for decisions that will have a vast impact on society. It is familiar to doctors and nurses, who spend days and nights at their patients' bedside. It is familiar to women, who sometimes without proper recognition on the part of society and even of their own families bear the daily burden and responsibility for their homes and the upbringing of their children. It is familiar to all workers and, since work is a universal calling, it is familiar to everyone.
- From Catholic Culture's Library: Rerum Novarum (On Capital And Labor), Singulari Quadam (On Labor Organizations), Laborem Exercens (On Human Work), Spirituality in the Professions and Workplace, Work Calls For More Than An Economic Evaluation, Apply The Church's Social Teaching To The World Of Work, Letter on the Gospel of Work.