"To Toil and not seek for rest. To Labor and not ask for reward, except for knowing that I do your will."
Peace to all! I hope your Labor Day was full of both rest and family fun. Labor Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is short and non-commercialized, which for me, propels it right to the top. The physical and mental labor that each of us do on a day by day basis in our schools, jobs and homes should not be ignored, being rightfully rewarded with a day to "catch our breath."
Labor Day is a great reminder of just how much rest our bodies need. Often times we can forget what it means to take a step back, refreshing ourselves with a day off from the stress we encounter in our work. Without it we are not able to achieve the peak performance in our schools and workplaces, often times growing more agitated by those that we love. Rest rejuvenates us, improving the quality of our responsibilities and lives.
However, as you are clearly able to read in the above title, we are instructed by St. Ignatius (taken from one of my favorite prayers) that there is a clear difference between rest in our day to day working lives, and "rest" in Jesus Christ. Taken in context of the prayer, Ignatius is obviously speaking of this supernatural mind-frame that we are to put on in our faith. Ignatius is instructing us down a path of holiness that all too often is moved to the side. A path that demands of us everything we have in order to live fully in relationship with Jesus Christ. A path where there are no "days off," and there is no "sleeping," but a path of tireless movement toward our loving God.
Within this spiritual life, Jesus was very clear. There is always work to be done. Never is there a day where our lives should not be immersed in full communion with our God. How many of us get tired as we strive for this holiness? Many. This, too me, is what separates mainstream faith, from the Saints. With the Saints, the notion that we are able to "take time off" with our faith makes no sense. This compartmentalized approach, where, if our faith becomes inconvenient we can push it aside, was not a thought in their minds. Rather, the Saints were always moving, venturing closer to our Divine Savior.
Labor Day is a great time for our bodies to rest, and certainly is a much needed time to enhance the bond in our families and friendships. However, let us be reminded by this day of physical and mental rest that with faith, there is no growing tired. That our souls must continually labor if we are to live for Him. St. Augustine says it better than anyone, "our souls are restless until they rest in you, O Lord." May we all continue to strive for that rest that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Let the tireless journey toward heaven begin!
Jon Leonetti is a Catholic radio host and speaker, providing keynote presentations and parish missions in churches, schools and conferences across the country. You can find more information on Jon at his website: www.jdleonetti.com