Why Human Work Counters Despair & Is a Path to Holiness

We ended a recent DM citing lawyer Kenneth Matheny, who, though very critical of his profession and SCOTUS at this time, assures us that “all is not lost.”

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio speaks at the 50th Anniversary (2013) of MLK Jr.’s March on Washington (1963). Photo by Marcia Fudge. Wikimedia Commons.

Even though much is going backwards, right before our eyes—“all is not lost.” A long list that includes the gutting of civil rights laws bought at such a precious price sixty years ago; the arrogant tossing out of Roe v. Wade after fifty years (with citations in the document citing a 17th century witch-burning jurist—how could five SCOTUS judges sign off on such nonsense and retain any semblance of self-respect?); and Citizens United, which threw our politics into the pit of dark money and unleashed capitalism; and so much more—still, this regression does not have the last word.

Why is it that “all is not lost” at this time in history? I think the key lies with humans who are willing to work from their hearts and their values, and to stay and fight, even if that means going the full distance that Alexei Nevalny or MLK Jr. or Sister Dorothy Stang or Jesus went—“greater love no person has, than to lay down their life for their friends.”  

Rising to the occasion! People rush to help a motorcyclist trapped under a car in Myrtle Beach, NC. Video by Inside Edition.

Good work, well-performed, is a school for perseverance, courage, generosity, and growing one’s minds and hearts—for holiness therefore. So much of work tests our souls and grows them. It is in the workplace that we so often express our deepest selves, our truest loves.

It is in work that our holiness is so often forged. It is where we grow the most and from the deepest places.

Thomas Aquinas tells us: As long as the miraculous effects of Christ lie hidden in anyone’s heart, Christ is not honored by it, except in that heart, but not in regard to others, until it breaks out into external visible actions.

Bhagavad Gita’s revelation: Krishna tells the Gita to Arjuna. Image by Rikudhar. Wikimedia Commons.

The Bhagavad Gita tells us:

Who in all one’s work sees God,
that one in truth goes unto God:
God is that person’s worship,
God is that one’s offering,
Offered by God in the fire of God.

Hildegard of Bingen tells us that angels themselves honor humanity’s work. Humans are “the full work of God,” and in “praise and in deeds all of God’s works are brought to completion through humans.”  

To be continued.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Times, pp. 296f.

And Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet, p. 140.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Work Well Done: Two megaliths newly raised alongside a Trilithon, at a new sacred site in Flintstone, Maryland, September 2021. Sixty-five worshippers participated in the project. Photo by LettieLepidoptera. Wikimedia Commons. 

Queries for Contemplation

Do you in all your work “see God”? Do you recognize the “miraculous work of Christ in your heart” break out in your work?

Recommended Reading

The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter

The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science & Spirit Meet
By Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

When was the last time a scientist and a theologian discussed angels together? What are angels? Many people believe in angels, but few can define these enigmatic spirits. Now visionary theologian Matthew Fox and acclaimed biologist Rupert Sheldrake—pioneers in modern religious thinking and scientific theory—launch a groundbreaking exploration into the ancient concept of the angel and restore dignity, meaning, and joy to our time-honored belief in these heavenly beings.

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6 thoughts on “Why Human Work Counters Despair & Is a Path to Holiness”

  1. Avatar

    For the most part I think of God, of Jesus in all my work and activities. Jesus not only presents a ‘benchmark’ for spiritual and human behaviour but also a friendship, a fellowship, and is there and present when needed. Life is not always straightforward and can get confusing for us. We need someone to turn to.

    I almost always ‘contemplate’ alone and in silence. At one particular job, I would often meet up with the CEO late Saturday mornings (my wife worked Saturday’s elsewhere) to discuss business issues without people or distractions around to interrupt us. On one such occasion deeper thought was required to respond to an issue presented. At the boardroom table I went into my still, quiet and contemplative pose, and tilted my head downward. I went into the ‘zone’ quickly and became very still and silent. Not seeing this before and watching for who knows how long, the startled CEO became very concerned thinking I was having a stroke or was medically distressed in some fashion. After assuring him that I was ok, I said that I went into a ‘deep thinking’ mode, and he relaxed again. Normally I explore an issue, let it ferment, contemplate later and ‘sleep on it’ with a subconscious mind if need be. Needless to say, the contemplative process is difficult to bear fruit in a time constrained boardroom setting. Learning from that day. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    The mysticism that is spoken in me, through me,
    I do not know if it lands aright or slides away into fading mists.
    God, the One who shared into me, and dances (at times) in my soul with me.
    I paint this dance in words on this forum.
    I may never know if these words find roots anywhere else,
    but I will still try,
    I give my love and passion in singing the words.
    I rejoice in the soul-song,
    passing along light from the living flame of mystical tradition
    and adding my little spark.

    I don’t know if my clumsy words can reach deep enough to open and lift up other souls as I hope they might.,
    but I rejoice as fellow travelers share THEIR gifts,
    each unique miracle-soul unfolding their beauty
    to the universe everyone’s amazing, resplendent soul-songs,
    their own gifts to God.

  3. Avatar

    The word that beckoned deeper reflection in Mathews video today was “midwife”, which can be defined as “one whom helps to bring forth something.” This something Mathew then expanded upon as being that which is beautiful and good. Isn’t this then not only the great work of humanity, but also the great work of the living Spirit of God’s essence and presence within ourselves and the all and the everything of creation. Mother Earth mirror reflects the nature of this midwifery that we can not only learn from, but come into balance and harmony with.

    Our true divine nature,known as our Higher Soul/Self already knows how to help our human self bring forth this beauty and goodness from within. Our part is to contemplatively listen, learn and intuitively, imaginatively and creatively respond to the promptings, leadings, guidance and wisdom council offered in any given moment; which unfolds, evolves and emerges within all that we experience and encounter in our daily lives… as we converge with the living essence and presence of the Spirit of God within both our humanity and our divinity. We are all called to this midwifery, of bringing forth this beauty and goodness from within, in uniquely diverse and authentic ways!

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