Work can be turned into something not only practical, but spiritual.
Work is an essential part of society. Countless people go to work every day, whether it be in a factory, office, school, or even at home. St. John Paul II wrote in Laborem exercens, “Through work [men and women] must earn [their] daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society.”
While most work deals with the secular, it doesn’t have to be without spiritual meaning. By working we participate in that original call of Adam in the garden to “till” and “keep” and respond to God’s call in our own lives to use the gifts and talents we have for the good of society.
To help you sanctify your work each day, here are five powerful prayers that elevate work to a spiritual dimension and gives added meaning to what can sometimes be a monotonous routine.
Prayer of Pope St. Pius X
O Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, never shrinking from weariness and trials; to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, keeping unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker
Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow, you supported Jesus and Mary, and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.
Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance, for God and for those whom God has given me to support. Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them, that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all.
Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith, so that I shall recognize in it my share in God’s own creative activity and in Christ’s work of our redemption, and so take pride in it.
When it is pleasant and productive, remind me to give thanks to God for it. And when it is burdensome, teach me to offer it to God, in reparation for my sins and the sins of the world. Amen
Prayer for Work
[Lord, help me find stable and suitable employment.] And when I do find work, may I make good use of my time, regarding it as a treasure. Help me to grow in the virtue of order, doing my work punctually, attentively and steadfastly. May I develop a well-structured plan that will permit me to live my spiritual life, family life, professional life and social life in a balanced way. [Amen.]
Prayer before a Day’s Work
Direct, we beg you, O Lord, our actions by your holy inspirations, and grant that we may carry them out with your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended. Amen.