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Saint Martin's Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Martin's, founded in Lacey, Washington in 1895 as a monastery of the American Cassinese Congregation, is a community of Roman Catholic men dedicated to providing Christian witness in the Pacific Northwest through its monastic life of prayer and work, education and service to the Church. Saint Martin's Abbey fulfills its mission through liturgical prayer and worship, through its support of Saint Martin's University and through its pastoral service to the local Church.
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
Today is the feast of Saint Luke the evangelist and also the patron of our own Brother Luke Devine. Br. Luke teaches at Saint Martin’s University and is chair of the Religious Studies/Theology department. We wish him a happy name’s day and thank God for his vocation.
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
On Labor Day, we invite you to reflect with Father Kilian on the deeper meaning of work.
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Work - A Participation in God's Creation

Today we, and the rest of the country, are celebrating LABOR DAY, a Federal holiday first established in 1894 to honor and recognize the American labor movement and to pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strengthening, prosperity and wellbeing of our country.
What can we say about LABOR? Labor enables us to be free, because it creates a human world. Labor creates a world which invites us to actualize our human possibilities, and makes this actualization possible and even natural. The clothes and the shoes which protect us have been produced by labor, labor built the monastery that we live in, labor provides the food we eat each day; it prepared the materials we are working with. Paper and pencils, newspapers and books have been produced by labor. Labor does not only produce our human world, but it also maintains it.

As I was preparing these few remarks it occurred to me that in the Hebraic-Christian tradition, labor has always been considered a sharing in the creative energy of God. Work was never meant to be a punishment for sin, but rather the means by which we contribute to the common good of our community, family, to the good of society.
Good work is a responsibility given us by God, a means of salvation, a joy to experience and a way of expressing our love for God and for our neighbor…..work is essentially an expression of our faith!

It is odd that we sometimes imagine paradise as a place where we would no longer have to labor, to work, but as the cartoonist would have us, sitting on a white cloud plucking the strings of a harp. Yet, in the Genesis story of Paradise work was very much a part of the life there: “The Lord took the man and the woman and settled them in the garden to cultivate it and to take care of it.”
Even God is described as working: “And on the following day God rested after all His work of Creating.” And when it was finished God looked upon His work and saw that it was good.”

So much of this suggests to us that if we are to expect to achieve the degree of perfection to which we are called, as Christ tells us we must, then we must not only work, but we must also see to it that our work is good. We must do work that is worth doing and then do that work well.
Another aspect of this is that if our work is motivated by charity rather than seeing it as burdensome, when it is motivated by charity, then it takes on a whole different shading; it becomes a part of our total motivation and movement toward the call to perfection. It becomes a task to which we can give ourselves whole heartedly - regardless of what the work might be , how difficult or how light the task.

Saint Paul could not overcome the institution of slavery in his day, but he told even the slaves to do their work: “Whatever your work is, put your whole heart into it as if it were for the Lord, knowing that the Lord will repay you - for it is Christ the Lord whom you are serving.”
Thus, we see that work is very much a means and a source of our human experience now and a way of achieving perfection when it is done out of love for God and my neighbor. Certainly the monastic life, is essentially, a search and labor for God, and not a mission to accomplish this or that particular work - and the monk fulfills his search in proportion as he finds God in the particular that God makes possible for him. It is true, each of us will find God in his own way, but all of us together will find God by living together in the Spirit, in perfect charity, as brothers in Christ recognizing the fact that Christ lives in us both as a community and as individuals.

Saint Benedict told his monks to look upon their work, and the tools and the good of the monastery, as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar. As God entrusted the earth to Adam and Eve, so today God entrusts it to each of us, so that our work, regardless of what it is, may become an expression of our love for God and our care for one another.
Saint Martin's Abbey
Saint Martin's Abbey
Article by Julie Ferraro on the Mass and Abbatial blessing in Northwest Catholic.

https://www.nwcatholic.org/news/local/archbishop-blesses-new-abbot-at-st-martin-s.html