What Is My Real Work, With a Capital “W”?

Posted on 05. Feb, 2018 by in Immigration, Justice, Peace

What is MY real work? This is a question that we may (and should) find ourselves asking not just at the end of high school or college when we are entering the work world, but many times over our lives and careers. Indeed, our real work may evolve over time as we do and as our culture does. As we and the times change, we are called to live into our gifts more specifically and with greater impact. We are invited to “transform work with a small ‘w’ to Work with a capital ‘W’”, (Bernard Amadei, Engineers Without Borders co-founder). In this way, we live into the Priesthood of All Workers.
During the protestant reformation, Martin Luther transformed traditional understanding of the priesthood to “the priesthood of all believers.” This “did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. A major issue at the time was the prohibition of marriage for people in the religious orders. The Reformers looked at Scripture and insisted that marriage is ordained by God and that the family, far from being something less spiritual than the life of a hermit or anchorite, is the arena for some of the most important spiritual work. A father and a mother are “priests” to their children, not only taking care of their physical needs, but nourishing them in the faith. Every kind of work, including what had heretofore been looked down upon—the work of peasants and craftsmen—was an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one’s neighbor”. Michael Poore
Matthew Fox expands upon the nature of priesthood, “For me, the notion of priesthood is far too useful to be restricted to ecclesial offices and clerical strivings. It deserves to go public, to assist the needed move from the secularization of our work worlds and professions to a re-sacralizing of them. I raised the question in my book The Reinvention of Work about whether it is time to talk about the priesthood of all workers. If a priest is a “midwife of grace,” is it not true that whether one works as therapist or artist, business person or activist, educator or nurse, doctor or mechanic, one can be a midwife of grace? And if so, our work is a priestly work, a work that goes deeper than just bringing a paycheck home or paying our household bills? Is our work not a Sacrament connecting us to the “Great Work” of the universe?Matthew Fox
David Chernikoff, MDiv., Insight Meditation Instructor, explored the connection of right livelihood, service, and work in a recent teaching, “We see in the right livelihood teachings of the Buddhist tradition as well as in other wisdom traditions the concept of relating to work as a form of service. For a lot of people who work, whether on a paid basis or as a volunteer, the joy of service is one of the greatest rewards. I think about the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore who said it this way: ‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.’ READ MORE

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