Thursday, May 01, 2003

for those who work

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, and it is so because, just about everywhere except the United States, today is Labor Day. So today I indulge in prayers, meditations, maxims from holy people more well-known for their hard work for equity and justice than for their piety.

A prayer by W.E.B. DuBois [via Sursum Corda]:

Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done.
Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men's mouths, or our own lives.
Mighty causes are calling us--the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty--all these and more.
But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death.
Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we may say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish.

The valiant Mary Harris Jones said, when she was informed about a mass killing by her opponents:

We must pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.

And, an easy essay by Peter Maurin, who co-founded the Catholic Worker communities. Seventy years ago today, the very first Catholic Worker was sold for a penny a copy.

Better Or Better Off

1. The world would be better off,
if people tried to become better.

2. And people would become better
if they stopped trying to be better off.

3. For when everybody tries to become better off,
nobody is better off.

4. But when everybody tries to become better,
everybody is better off.

5. Everybody would be rich if nobody tried
to be richer.

6. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried
to be the poorest.

7. And everybody would be what he ought to be
if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.


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