The Dignity of Work&the Rights of Workers

The laborers deserve their wages.” (I Timothy 519)

TENET OF SOCIAL JUSTICE: Work is more than a way to make a living. It is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. The dignity of work must be protected by respecting the basic rights of workers: to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, to economic initiative, health care, rest and vacations. All work must be valued not because of status and profession but because the worker is a human person. The resources at the disposal of management is in part the product of labor of those who have toiled over the years.

SALESIAN THEME: Liberty of spirit. St Francis de Sales would have us direct all to the divine and loving Creator who deigns to enlist us in the ongoing work of creation, and for this we must labor diligently and use our talents effectively, especially in the work of creating God’s reign. He asks us to come to God in the midst of our worldly vocation with a holy freedom that truly loves all things. Francis de Sales encourages as to be “just and equitable” in all our actions, and to put ourselves in our neighbor’s place and the neighbor in ours. He tells us to love “generously, nobly, courteously, with a royal, just and reasonable heart.”

Francis was a reader of the times and used his pen to address contemporary social issues and to counsel people to conversion of heart. Most important, he would insist that all be done with tranquility, civility, a kind demeanor, and always with that profound respect which demands good manners. St. Jane the Chanel adds that we should walk in the presence of God in holy and absolute liberty of spirit.

“St. Francis de Sales wants us to have the spirit of liberty, not the kind that excludes obedience…, but the liberty that excludes constraint, scruples, and anxiety… The freedom I’m referring to is the freedom of the children of God’ who know they are loved. The Christian heart detached from all things is free to follow the known will of God.” (W. Wright on FdeS  pp 15 117)



1. In what work situations have I experienced hostility, oppression, mistrust, harassment or tension?

2.My personal values and experiences can be helpful to those just entering the work force. What are some ways in which I can share them so as to encourage new workers?

3.     Am I aware of the labor practices of the companies I buy from? If not, how could I find out? Would it make a difference to me?

4.How honest is my day’s work?

5.Balance is important in Salesian spirituality. How free am to take time front my work to pray, recreate, enjoy a vacation and exercise?

6.What kind of a workplace would allow for a worker to have liberty of spirit?


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