Differentiating labor, work, and vocation.


It seems to be true that history reveals various types of human activity which can be labeled as some form of labor, or work. But within the myriad of activities which we celebrate today as Labor Day, there are three distinct historical modes, or internal motives, behind them.

The three motives are enslavement, greed, and Love.

{Now, please bear with me as I define these motives with words officially defined in somewhat different ways.}

Enslavement is the first motive we see in a general reflection on history. From ancient of days, until today, there have always been various forms of oppression to include slavery, communism, and forced labor, or internment, camps. These activities are activities which go against the free will of the human person and serve a common good which is not realized out of compassion or charity, but out of prejudice, totalitarian control, and just plain old fashioned fear and hatred. ‘Labor’ is gained off of the backs of broken men and women, broken out of selfishness and total disregard for the dignity of the human person. This labor continues in communist China, Cuba, and Venezuela. This labor continues as a result of Radical Islam. This labor continues in the unwitting victims of abortion. This labor quietly grows in creeping socialism, which eliminates employment possibilities, while increasing possibilities of service to the ideological regime.

Labor is a leftist perversion of good old fashioned Catholic stewardship.

The second motive is greed. Many people figuratively, or literally, sell their souls to the devil for worldly success. Part of the success of the abortion industry is the idea that pregnancy, and motherhood, are impediments to the very same worldly success. Some people work to live. A normal fact of mature-adult human life. Others work to work, in other words they either work solely for the profit, or they work because work is their sole identity. ‘Work’ is the spirit of  an out of control ego, with an out of control competitiveness which will crush competitors who seek similar fortune and fame. Work deems the human person in a utilitarian frame of mind, asking ‘how can I utilize that person to get ahead?’

Work is the rightist perversion of the above stated stewardship of God’s wonderful earth.

Finally, there is Love. Funny, but vocation can be found as a slave, a subject of communist oppression, or a prisoner in a work camp. Numerous saints have proven this. Accordingly, vocation can be found within the free market, amidst the hustle and bustle of the ‘for profit mentality.’ Saints have also proven this. Vocation is service to the real common good in the human person through the Love of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Defined as ‘agape,’ this form of effort is self-giving for the best of intentions for the other person. This is the true form of labor, or work, in which the human person participates, and cooperates, with the grace of God in co-creating, procreating, and stewarding God’s Creation according to His Loving Will.

As Catholics we must bring this form of act into a world turned in on itself through labor and work without Love.

God bless!

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