“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” ~ Saint Augustine
St. Paul addressed a problem in the early Church: work. It seemed that there were many Christians who were living off of the toil of others. Paul reminded them to be busy rather than act like busybodies. He knew that those who were not working were not contributing to the community. Not only were material goods necessary to help the community thrive but there was a great level of comfort derived from seeing other people work for the same cause.
That is still true today. One of the many reasons communal prayer such as the celebration of the Mass is so important is that we, as humans, receive comfort and support when we realize that we are not alone. There is a great feeling to pray with a huge group of people. That same feeling happens when we work with a group of people.
Those who volunteer in different ministries will often tell you about their feelings. Oftentimes, they believe that they receive more than the people to whom they serve. They feel good knowing that they are a part of a larger community. They know that they are not the only ones who care or who pitch in to help. They also realize that there are people to whom they could turn if they are ever in need.
Truly, there is strength in numbers. Those numbers can’t build up, though, if individuals do not do their part. Augustine encouraged his community and all Christians to pray. However, Augustine also encouraged his community to work, to get to the business at hand. For it is in serving the needs of others that the work of Jesus Christ continues.
That is the mandate that Jesus gave to His followers — and thus to us — at His Ascension. He commissioned them to continue His work, to teach, preach, and heal. It’s not going to get done unless we get serious about doing it.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t be afraid to work hard for the faith today. In many ways, it truly depends on you.