Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Goodness of Work

According to Esolen and his reading of Pope Leo XIII's writings, work is for family, for neighbors, and for God.  But material wealth is not the goal.  God's commandments restrain "the greed of possession" and "the thirst for pleasure."  Indeed, according to Pope Leo, spending a "life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts forever" is "a waste" and "a terrible punishment."  Those who have received blessings have a duty to use them to benefit others so that they can live a virtuous life aimed at eternal life with God.

To be human, work must be a true society.  In their guilds, workers had a "genuinely human society" with a common goal.  Today, the guilds are gone, but workers and owners should respect each other as brothers.  Among other responsibilities, an owner should pay fair wages to support workers and their families so that they can live decently and virtuously.  A worker "puts himself into his work" and, as a reward, earns and possesses property, including land, which is the basis of all economic activity. And those possessions enable the worker's family to live a fully human life.

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