At the heart of every vocation – religious or lay – is work that is done with diligence, skill, and integrity.
That was the core of the message Pope Francis presented June 15, 2018, in remarks in Paul VI Hall to the 600 participants in the National Convention of the Italian Federation of Masters of Labor, taking place in Rome from 14 to 17 June 2018.
The Masters of Labor are selected by the Italian government and are persons over 50 years of age who have displayed the strong work ethics and character in the workplace.
“Work is indeed at the heart of the very vocation given by God to man, of prolonging his creative action and achieving, through his free initiative and judgment, dominion over the other creatures, which translates not into despotic enslavement, but into harmony and respect,” the Pope said. He continued:
“You have made an important contribution as Italian Masters of Labor, and following different paths, to the growth of a more inclusive and dignified social context for all. Your Federation represents in this sense an example of commitment and service to the common good. Aside from this, given the solemn public recognition received by each one of your members, this bears the weight of greater responsibility and the duty of constant and tireless dedication.”
The Holy Father explained that “the hope for a better future always starts from one’s own activity and initiative, then from one’s work, and never from the material means available. There is, in fact, no economic security, nor any form of welfare, that is able to ensure fullness of life and personal fulfillment.”
A society that fails to value work and does not care about those who work is doomed to “atrophy and to the multiplication of inequalities”, the Pope said. To the contrary, he stressed that a society that seeks to realize the potential of every man and woman “will truly breathe deeply”, overcome obstacles, draw from “an almost inexhaustible human capital” and put each person where they can play their role in God’s plan.
Pope Francis urged those present not to forget those who are suffering and in need. And he stressed the importance of consistency and harmony in each person’s life.
“In pursuing this goal, the moral question emerges as primary,” Francis concluded. “It is rightly placed at the center of the life of the Foundation, which is inspired by the values of “correctness, responsibility and transparency” (Code of Ethics, Art.1), and aims to live, witness and spread these same principles throughout the social context, especially that of work. Renewing labor in an ethical sense means, in fact, renewing the whole of society, banishing fraud and lies which poison the market, civil coexistence and the lives of people, especially the weakest.”