“Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.” ~ Horace
Horace was not a “Gloomy Gus” type of person. No, he was merely stating a fact. We have to work in order to enjoy anything. We heard that in the Book of Genesis after Adam and Eve ate fruit from the tree of which they were forbidden. God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you! In toil you shall eat its yield all the days of your life.” Toil. Our lot in life.
This doesn’t have to be a negative, though. As toil is a reality of life, it is something that we need to accept and embrace. Work is something that can be dignified and provide us the sustenance we need. As a matter of fact, we often pray that the unemployed can find “the dignity of work.” Yes. Labor, toil, can be dignified.
When we work hard, we not only provide for ourselves and our loved ones, we also make ourselves feel good, even proud. Toil, hard work, can boost our egos. A strong ego is not a bad thing. It is something that helps a person remain strong and centered.
Let’s turn all of this inward as well, shall we? Toil and labor are not only a product of our physical lives, they are something tied to our spiritual lives as well. It is work — sometimes incredibly hard work — to build up our spiritual lives and our relationship with God. We have to work at rooting out our sinful ways. We have to labor to rid ourselves of the capital sins. We have to toil to make sure that our relationship with God is as good as possible.
The saints often mentioned bumps along the way in their labor for holiness. They mentioned things as the “dark night” and “desert experiences”. Our spiritual lives do not come to us without labor. We need to work hard to keep ourselves as holy as possible.
Lent is a season of labor. Don’t let the labor make you negative or turn you sour. Instead, embrace the dignity of your spiritual labor, as well as your physical labor, and thank God for all that you have accomplished.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t be afraid of hard work. Accept it and allow your hard work to give glory to God.