Thought for the Day – 14 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) and the Memorial of St Germaine Cousin (1579–1601) Shepherdess
The Divine Worker
“Let us open the Gospel of St John.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word ws God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him, was made nothing that has been made” (John 1:1-3).
The work of creation is attributed in a special way, to the Eternal Word, the Son of God.
He was the divine Worker, Who created from nothing, the sky, earth and the marvels which they contain.
Then the Eternal Word of God, became man (Jn 1:14).
But what position did He choose to occupy amongst us?
He could have been born heir to the illustrious throne of Rome, the most powerful in history.
He could have been born in Athens amongst the philosophers of the Areopagus, who handed down, through the centuries, the light of human wisdom and beauty.
But, it was not likely that the Word of God, should have abandoned, so to speak, the eternal glory of the Father, in order to wear the mantle of petty human power.
He had no need of this.
He came amongst us, to instruct us in the humility of the path to Heaven, not in the way of human greatness.
He was born, therefore, as the son of an artisan, “the carpenter’s son, (Mt 13:55) and an artisan Himself, “the carpenter, the son of Mary” (Mk 6:3).
According to the most ancient and most reliable tradition, He was one of the many carpenters in the Palestinian countryside who were prepared to adapt themselves to whatever job arose, whether it was the making of a door, a handle for a hoe, or a plough (Cf Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 88:8).
From His youth, therefore, Jesus was a carpenter’s apprentice and, when St Joseph died, He carried on His trade and earned a livelihood for His Mother Mary and Himself.
It was only after many years of manual labour that Jesus ceased to be an artisan and dedicated Himself to work of the mind and heart.
In the three years of His public life, He was an Apostle of truth and goodness.
In this way, He sanctified every type of work, manual, intellectual and spiritual.
The great lesson which Jesus wished to teach us is, that every kind of work, is good and noble.
The manual labour of the farm-hand and of the artisan, is, a co-operation in the work of the Redemption.
Both were made holy by Jesus.
Let those who work with their hands take inspiration from Jesus, Who subjected Himself, for thirty years to all the sacrifices involved in manual labour.
Let intellectuals and apostolic workers look to Jesus also, for when His Hour had come, He sacrificed Himself in His apostolate and gave His life for us.
In His regard, the peasant’s hoe and the writer’s pen, the workman’s hammer and the priest’s stole, are all noble and holy.
The only condition, is that, all should perform their duties conscientiously from the motive of the love of God and of their neighbour.”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci
Cardinal Bacci and I did not plan that this post should fall on the Feast day of little St Germaine Cousins, the Shepherdess who gave every second of her labour and her life, for the love of God and His Will. She teaches us to sanctify the meanest of tasks, to constantly remember our daily offering of each and every form of our work for the glory of God and to honour His Divine Will and Providence.