Interesting Articles

Monday, May 4, 2009

St. Joseph the Worker & C.S. Lewis

It just so happened that on the eve of the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (on May 1) I read a C.S. Lewis essay titled “Good Work and Good Works.” In this short essay, Lewis challenges his readers to consider to what degree various careers contribute to society and are in conformity with our faith. He makes the distinction by separating the jobs that that really provide a necessary service from those jobs that would not exist if there were not a financial profit to be made.

He also makes the argument that “In a rational world, things would be made because they were wanted; in the actual world, wants have to be created in order that people may receive money for making things […] which themselves may well be ugly, useless, and pernicious luxuries that no mortal would have bought unless the advertisement, by its sexy or snobbish incantations, had conjured up in him a factitious desire for them.”

The last interesting point, which is especially relevant in today’s economy, deals with the issue of unemployment. About this, Lewis says: “We want people to be employed only as a means to their being fed, believing (whether rightly, who knows?) that it is better to feed them even for making bad things badly than for doing nothing.”

And so, as we remember the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (even if a few days late) let us consider how our own work contributes to the building up of the kingdom of God. As we pray that the Lord would bless the work of our hands, we must first strive to bless the Lord through our work. We must not disconnect our work from our faith, remembering that our work is not just a source of income. It is a spiritual act… an act of worship that ought to give glory to God.

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