Depending on the translation of the Bible one uses, the last verses of Psalm 90 are “Prosper the work of our hands” or “Give success to the work of our hands.” The prayer – really a plea – that God will be the source, inspiration and guide for all our work is a sincere one in every generation.
On this Labor Day weekend, our nation pauses from its labor to reflect upon it as well as to acknowledge the good that labor is for humanity. As popes have taught so often over the last almost 120 years, work promotes the dignity of every human. While in our nation unemployment rates are at their lowest is quite some time, the number of people who have been relegated out of the work force is staggering. As well, the many who classified as the “underemployed” causes stress on families and homes.
Pope Francis, like his predecessors, has made the dignity of labor a central message of his pontificate. In a homily preached on the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 2013, Francis said: “Work is fundamental to the dignity of the person. Work, to use an image, ‘anoints’ with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God who has worked and still works, who always acts.” Yes! God is constantly at work to “prosper the work of our hands” as he guides us on the path of salvation.