Fulfillment in Work?

There is a famous phrase that resonates with an enduring truth, taken from the voluminous works of the American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”. ‘Desperation’ comes from despair, which is the loss of hope. Hope in what? In God. Men cannot be sustained by a hope that is not theological.

LabourersThoreau recognized that there is implanted in the human soul by its Creator a desire for truth and beauty that makes the commercial and social round that circumscribes the lives of most men deeply unsatisfying. He sought his escape by turning to nature. Yet, he only lived in his cabin in the woods for two years: just long enough to gather material for his book. If what he wrote were true, if contemplating the flora and fauna of the forest were sufficient for the human spirit, he would not have returned to the town, nor would he have bothered to write his book. But nature is not sufficient for the human spirit. Man can no more be sustained by nature than by artificial distractions. Perhaps that is why devout environmentalists are always seeking new causes and usually appear so intensely unhappy: they have placed their hope in something not only lesser than God, but lesser than the human soul. How can a Divinely created intellect rest content to expend its gifts on saving the rarotonga starling or protecting the habitat of the dwarf lake iris?

Farm labourerBut it is the world of work where most try vainly to find fulfillment. This preoccupation with keeping ceaselessly busy is sometimes called The Protestant Work Ethic. I think this is a telling phrase. Why do we never hear of the Catholic Work Ethic? Are Catholics comparatively lazy? And why is work an ethic, which is a secular or philosophic term, instead of a moral virtue, which is proper to religion?

What if your boss, having asked you to work extra hours, were to console you with the words: “I think it was C.S. Lewis who said: Work is prayer in action” – would your reply be: “Perhaps. But C.S. Lewis was a Protestant. I’m Catholic. We believe that work is a punishment for original sin”?

A Catholic is aware that work began when Adam and Eve were cast out of Paradise. That Adam and his descendants have had to eat their bread in the sweat of their brow is a punishment Masaccio - Adam & Eve (detail)for sin, as is the degeneration and death of our flesh. The Protestants often curiously forget what’s in the Bible. We were not meant for work, but for contemplation. To make that which is a punishment for sin an idol to be worshiped is a denial of the Divine intent of creation. The Catholic must never forget that his ultimate vocation is sainthood, and it is the occupation of the Saint to look at the face of God. God does not care what we do, but who we are. What works can we offer Him? What does He need from us? What are our profit and loss statements in the economy of salvation? Or the size of our house or the cost of our furnishings? We often forget, in this land of waning opulence, that Scripture tells us love of money is the root of all evil.

Yet, our culture would make poverty the root of all evil and wealth the highest virtue, whose universal attainment has become the engine of social organization.


44 Responses to “Fulfillment in Work?”

  1. 1 Griff September 28, 2009 at 01:46

    Work and careers have very much been on my mind recently. I even posted something thematically similar on my own blog today.

    I definitely sympathise with the idea that devotion to work can be likened to tidolotry ohe of secular emptiness. Although I am not an ambitious person, I am, as a former Protestant living in a (notionally) Protestant country, still afflicted with a strong work ethic. Although it is not necessarily a bad thing, I feel the need, as a Catholic, to transform this very “Northern” drive into movement towards a job that will assist the lives and development of others.

    A punishment work may very well be. But, fallen as the world is, it is our job to bear our crosses patiently.

  2. 2 christopher September 28, 2009 at 02:15

    Wow, Gabriella, you’re getting really good. This is a fantastic post. Along this line, I’m also constantly harping about not only the loss of “leisure” in the modern world but the loss of the understanding of what “leisure” is. I’m no slouch and can outwork the hardest-working penny-pincher but I always make time for doing “nothing.” It’s in this “nothing” that great thoughts occur. Where the mind is quieted and opened to ideas and conversations, especially with and about God.

  3. 3 Mary Nicewarner September 28, 2009 at 02:32

    This post was right on the money;) Sorry, Gabriella, couldn’t resist.
    Seriously, it was on the mark. There is a God-sized hole in our hearts where only He fits. People try to find all kinds of ways to fill it but nothing ever works. I did this when I was young and of course it only made matters worse. I am so thankful that He stepped into my life and my heart.

  4. 4 Maria September 28, 2009 at 04:11

    The way I understand it, having lived amidst a lot of Protestants in the Great Plains, was that the “Protestant work ethic” had to do with survival, on your own, with a family, creating a farm and cultivating food and a livelihood come hell or high water. Work then, was and still is a sign and source of pride – in a job well done, in caring for one’s family, in the sacrifices one makes for the well being of their family and/or community. To work well meant your priorities were straight – and I wouldn’t doubt these people’s religious convictions, but they certainly weren’t/aren’t traditional contemplatives. But survival meant work – hard work done well.

    I think the monastic traditional with St. Benedict takes care of it for us with “Ora et Labora” – eight hours for prayer, eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep (with other necessities of life in between those times). Work can and does become an idol, but I don’t think it’s a Protestant problem, I think it’s a problem of our culture.

    Also, not all work is corporate, desk work. And some work that a person might get paid for – like caregiving – might, for another, be simply a part of a routine for a sick or aging relative. I don’t see these as “punishment” for sin, per se, I see them as opportunities for growth, opportunities for God pulling us ever closer to Himself.

  5. 5 Cinzia September 28, 2009 at 09:24

    Some types of work are without a doubt a lot more of a punishment than others!

    Is that fair?

    My personal experience as office worker for many years was that I disliked it immensely! Therefore I endured years of punishment! But I realise there is definitely worse ….

    I hated the daily commuting to and fro in filthy and smelly overcrowded trains. I disliked enormously the “ambience” and “culture” of modern day, open plan office environments where everyone is a robot – where the plague of political correctness makes everyone inhuman – where “office politics and office hierarchies” made me nauseous – and where I always felt out of place and uncomfortable. No one speaks about anything any more! Not even a comment about some current affair … let alone religion! Talking to co-workers was reduced to “work stuff” and no one was interested in you as a person, your life, your family. Not until Friday 5.00pm when the custom was to go to the nearest pub and drink yourself stupid and finally people actually seemed human again (under the circumstances) ’cause that was the only time human conversations took place! By some warped miracle, come Monday again, it was as if Friday drinks had never happened and everyone was once again a heartless robot.

    I am now in domestic heaven … spend time at home doing things I enjoy and travel around in a car! Somehow I have the funny feeling this ain’t gonna last …… 🙂

  6. 7 Kieran September 28, 2009 at 11:44

    Pope John Paul II, probably more than any other previous pontiff, was a serious thinker about work, and his 1981 encyclical “In Laborem Exercens”: On Human Work – ranks as one of the greatest texts about work of the entire 20th century.
    As he saw it, work was a field of human endeavour that badly needed rescuing – from capitalism on the one hand, with its view of the worker as an instrument of production, and from communism on the other, with its view of social classes polarised by work into ceaseless historical warfare. And perhaps there was another aspect to the rescue mission, too: to save it from the idiom of the necessary evil – that work was merely the miserable means to a meaningless end.

    But I’m not going to write down everything he says – you can all go read it for yourselves.

    Work has built civilisation, culture and progress, and provided the foundation for family and social life.
    It’s worth remembering on a filthy Monday morning.

  7. 8 Kieran September 28, 2009 at 12:15

    Well, yes, work is a punishment for our sins – we cannot live if we don’t work – that is why Pope JPII in his encyclical says that unemployment is bad. With work, with hard work, a man can feed and clothe his family and lead a dignified life.

    Ora et labora – perfect – it also reminds us that hard work can be offered up to God as prayer.

    Doing one’s work well is also important because it entails a whole lot of other moral qualities: honesty, loyalty, integrity, intelligence, soundness, and so on.

    What is important is that our work does NOT become THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in our lives – that our career DOES NOT come before our family and our children – that we DON’T treat our jobs as the central point of our existence. We must live and work for the glory of God, for enjoying our families and friends, for helping with our parish activities, for having some time for volunteer work with the sick, for appreciating the beauty of creation and the company of its creatures.
    We MUST NOT live – and put everything else in second place – only for our jobs.

  8. 9 Cinzia September 28, 2009 at 12:21

    Very well put Kieran.

    Wish some husbands would read this blog every now and again 🙂

  9. 10 bigjohn September 28, 2009 at 12:22

    Kieran: boy! you sound to me as if you are really in a bad mood this filthy monday morning!!

    Maria: I think that all jobs are opportunities for growth, opportunities for God pulling us ever closer to Himself, not only caregiving jobs.

  10. 11 Kieran September 28, 2009 at 12:28

    Thank you Cinzia 😉 Not only husbands, though, what about all those emancipated ladies who don’t want kids because they have a career that takes up most of their days?!

    Think I will read what I wrote again and again too 🙂

    Yes, bigjohn, I was in a bad mood until I read this blog and was reminded that work is a punishment – so I humbly accepted my destiny – grrrrrrr! – if only I could get my hands on Eve!!!!!!

  11. 12 Cinzia September 28, 2009 at 12:33

    Sure Kieran, I agree … about those emancipated ladies …. trust me, I was never one of those 🙂

    About husbands (uhm – clears throat) I was talking about mine, but was trying not to make it sound too personal 🙂

    Guess that failed !!! 🙂

    Have a lovely Monday.

  12. 13 anne bender September 28, 2009 at 15:12

    Two quotes came to my mind upon reading this great reflection. I was raised by “You shall work by the sweat of your brow” and now inflict that on my own children when their laziness becomes too much to bear. The other is from St. Paul, and I don’t know it exactly but something about “We work for our food.”

    What gives me a sense of peace about work is wonderful Brother Lawrence and his reminder that we can “Practice the presence of God” no matter where we are or what we are doing. Therefore, all of our work can become a prayer is we are contemplating God while we do our chores.

    Thank you Gabriella for this spot-I love the “work” of your words!

  13. 14 Maria September 28, 2009 at 17:54

    Just to clarify, yes, I totally agree that this is what all work does, inside the home and out – bring us closer to God. I guess I chose caregiving as an example because it’s so clearly something that’s done to earn a living, and something that’s done in the home as well. I don’t think it is necessarily justifiable to consider caring for someone as a “punishment” in the same way as dull, meaningless office work for a corporation. As someone who has done caregiving for a few years, it feels more like a privilege and a fount of grace than a punishment, although can get quite trying and painful at times. . That’s the way I see it, at least.

  14. 15 Feliks Wallenty, Denmark September 28, 2009 at 20:55

    Maria, I understand what you say and I also consider caregiving as a very ‘special’ kind of work especially if carried out not for the pay but voluntarily and ‘with love’ (as M. Teresa) – however it’s all very relative if we look at the bigger picture, don’t you think that for some people caregiving is a privilege and a fount of grace but for some it is tough, and difficult, and a punishment (in the sense not everyone has the vocation to be a nurse, some feel sick at the sight of blood, or of injections, etc.)? For some people who haven’t the patience teaching is tough and hard, for others it is a fount of satisfaction. Some people think that being a cook and feeding others is a fantastic job, others would never do it …… the same with all jobs, really.
    We all have likes and dislikes and phobias and I suppose it depends on us what we make of our jobs. I think my job is a privilege and a fount of grace insomuch as I have saved people’s lives – I love my job and I do it well but I know that I HAVE to work to maintain my family, I know it’s my punishment.
    I always refuse to work overtime though (even if this means a lot of extra money here in my country) – I try not to usurp my time with the family.
    By the way, I’m a fireman 🙂

    • 16 churchmouse September 28, 2009 at 22:54

      Thank you, Feliks, for the wonderful work you do in saving lives every day.

      I can’t begin to say I know what this profession is like other than that it requires much bravery, courage and training. You are doing the Lord’s work — whenever a fire happens, wherever in your district. And having to be ready on the double when you are on duty.

      The Lord’s blessings to you and your family

  15. 17 Karinann September 28, 2009 at 21:01

    There seems to be a loss of balance these days in most or at least many work places. The balance between what is considered an acceptable number of hours per day (many including myself work 10+ per day) and the importance of time off. I work in an atmosphere(very secular)where taking vacation time often comes with negative comments; not from my direct boss but from hers. I work in a fairly busy learning center that is now open on Sundays (I refuse to work them.) The reason for that is because many of our students can not get here any other day. What does that tell us? Even our kids are too busy! I was actually thinking of writing my own post about this in particular- still might.
    Anyway I digressed a bit. I think while Gabriella is right to remind us that we were made for contemplation, not work, since we do have to work it all comes back to balance. After all even God Himself rested.

  16. 18 Brian September 28, 2009 at 22:25

    Again Gabriella –

    A beautiful post. I have worked for many years in the business of “fruit.” Importing produce into the USA, mostly from S. America. Over the years it has become tiresome. The excitement is not there anymore. Now I am involved with many Church ministries – and I have found that the Church is my true home. My love is working with the poor. I know God wants this for me. My spiritual director agrees – Yes he says, you should pray that new work comes your way – work that is more spiritually satisfying, more in line with your nature.

    When I think of leaving a good job, with good pay – I feel guilty. Am I just being lazy? God wants me to work hard – that hard work is sacrifice. That the Christian was made for work. right?

    Very soon God willing, I will enter “religious” life. It will not go hand-in-hand with the work I am doing now. I will have to make a move – somehow, someway –
    I will have to pray over it…..

  17. 19 churchmouse September 28, 2009 at 23:02

    Well, not to burst everyone’s bubble, and what I say next is meant with respect to all of you, but … the worst job I ever had was in a department managed by Catholics: late nights, weekends, you name it. Very much the ‘for me [leisure and family] but not for thee’ attitude.

    The work and the (good) quality of it was never enough. The Calvinists in Switzerland who were at the head of this overall department for the company involved had much greater compassion for people than the American Catholics I worked for. Sorry, but it’s true.

    God bless all of you.

  18. 20 Cinzia September 29, 2009 at 05:47

    Churchmouse, you got in there before I did by “not wanting to burst everyone’s bubble ….” 🙂 I thoroughly understand what you are saying, so no need to apologise.

    So good to read that everyone has such good jobs, in the sense that everyone’s work has brought them closer to God. Mine never did! What a waste of many years of my life, having to do something I thoroughly disliked only ’cause I needed the money. I found I had to escape the squalor and meaninglessness of office work to get back closer to God ….

    Feliks – fantastic what you do and what you wrote! I am full of admiration. Brian too, and Maria … and well all of you it seems … except me!

    BUT – I have just come back from my first meeting with my Spiritual Director and I right now am over the moon!! Brian, I too am now seeking to do something fulfilling that gives me joy as well as helping others … so I am finally on the right path and what a good start.

    I will pray for your entry into religious life. 🙂

    Kieran, well the filthy Monday is over … for another few days. Hope you are not as hellbent today in seeking out poor ol’ Eve 🙂

  19. 21 Judy September 29, 2009 at 06:43

    A wonderful post Gabriella…and thank you for the gentle admonition for us to keep our priorities straight.

    I do wish to add how thankful I am to God though…for He, as He often does, bring a good out of the bad, a blessing out of a trial…and I believe He did this with the punishment of work…for after the punishment, He sent the Redeemer…who WORKED…and therein…he BLESSED WORK…and made it potentially sacred for us…IF we keep it in perspective and IF we offer it for HIS GLORY…instead of leaving us to wallow in the pain of our sins and punishment…He offers MERCY and a way for us to LIFT UP OUR WORK UNTO THE HEAVENS so that He might take and bless it and return it to us as JOY and SOULS SAVED.

    Thanks for your beautiful reflections here today.

  20. 22 Mitchell September 29, 2009 at 09:49

    Interesting comments.
    Good jobs, bad jobs, let’s praise the Lord we have one and pray that He helps those who don’t.
    The attitude of a good Catholic must be that of Judy ::lift up our work unto heaven:: and that summed up by Griff ::it is our job to bear our crosses patiently::
    The question now is how many good Catholics around?
    And I don’t mean good as in character because good people abound in any religion, I mean good practicing Catholics who know and follow the guidelines of their Church, which are those of Christ.
    And here we come to Churchmouse’s consideration.
    You are right.
    I worked for many years in Italy and Spain where all are Catholic and believe me late nights, weekends, the ‘for me but not for thee’ attitude, cheating, mobbing, and more, are all rampart! As a young boy then, I was shocked to my bones!
    Much wiser now (I hope), I know that all those people are not behaving as a Catholic should, they are disobbedient to the core. I have learnt not to judge all Catholics by the example of those who worship themselves and their ego. The same as I’m not going to judge all muslims by the actions of the terrorists.
    Difficult – but that’s how it should be!

  21. 23 Ron September 29, 2009 at 09:59

    Hey Cinzia! I’m so glad for you!
    Great! Yep, you’re surely on the right path 🙂
    Will pray for you.

    • 24 Cinzia September 29, 2009 at 10:05

      Hello Ron!!

      Thank you SO MUCH.

      Great to hear from you …. and can I say? You should appear more often !!!

      Cheers, and thanks again. 🙂

  22. 25 Cinzia September 29, 2009 at 10:03

    Now now Mitchell ….. leave Italy alone will you please??
    🙂 No one is allowed to touch my beloved Bel Paese! 🙂

    Seriously though, you are right – I saw lots of that too when I lived in Italy many years ago. But I have to add that when it comes to mobbing, cheating and “conning” people, it’s actually everywhere, not just in Italy and Spain!

    There’s an Italian saying: “Tutto il mondo e’ paese.” which means basically that “all the world is essentially “one town” as in “the same.”

    Where I live, I see plenty of trying to “con” people and rip them off everywhere I turn, even in commercials on mainstream TV … in shops, in offices, in the government (most of all) … and so on.

    Not much by way of good Catholicism – sadly!

  23. 26 Davide September 29, 2009 at 15:43

    Hi everyone! My working experience is only a few years old, but I know exactly how much of a punishment it can feel like at times. What has really helped me is praying to the patron Saint of workers, St. Joseph, and I would like to encourage all of you to do the same. In addition, most occupations have their own patron saint, and I would like to encourage you to look him or her up and start praying to her for strength, humility and pretty much all of the virtues to make us better workers but especially better Catholic workers. As a research scientist, my patron Saint is St. Albert the Great, the great teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas himself, and I frequently pray a Novena to him for assistance and… it really works!! I would like to wish you all a good working Tuesday and will keep you all in my prayers today. Ciao!

  24. 27 Maria September 29, 2009 at 17:33

    From the New International Version:
    Genesis 2:2: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

    Genesis 2:4-7 “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
    When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens – and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man.”

    King James Version
    Genesis 2:2-3
    And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
    And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    Genesis 2:5-7
    And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    If God rested from His work, the work of creation, it means that the first thing man documented about what God did was work. And the fruit of God’s work God declare was good. God looked around and saw there was no man to work the ground, and so He created man. For what purpose? To work the ground. Also, God spent 6 days on this work, and rested for 1. So, according to at least two translations, this is what the heavens and the earth have been since the beginning of time as we know it.

  25. 28 Maria September 29, 2009 at 17:40

    To add to that – man did have work – to work with God in His act of creation, in His garden. I’m guessing this work wasn’t painful, but it was substantial and God made it so significant that both He and man needed rest after 6 days. Another difference is that this work was something in complete harmony between God and man. This perhaps was the greatest distinction after Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden – not the fact that mankind was destined to work in and of itself, but that the work without the perfect harmony from God. Not without God entirely, but without the perfect harmony of the Garden of Eden

  26. 29 Judy September 29, 2009 at 18:08

    These are all wonderful thoughts on the sanctity of work, when kept in proper perspective…but…as Gabriella so eloquently pointed in the original post…when Adam fell…the whole of sanctified work (without TOIL) was tainted forever. Thus, all FUTURE work became the drudgery of punishment…As Gabriella reminds us…this modern society has forgotten that…and rather than “accepting the cross of that toil” and “lifting it to God so that He may RENEW IT AND MAKE IT GOOD AGAIN”…many people instead GLORIFY it unto themselves before lifting it to God’s glory…and therein the punishment contains hidden harm for the WORK becomes (or at least has the potential to become) an idol…a false god…a means to the root of all evil.

    The work of God in creation and the work of Adam and Eve in Paradise was ordained to be good and holy and “without toil and hard labor”…all that changed and those graces and blessings were lost when they were cast out of the Garden.

    We must remember then, that work IS and CAN only be good when kept in the proper frame of God’s will and purpose…but it can also be a detriment…an impediment…and a real stumbling block to holiness if glorified as a good in and of itself WITHOUT God’s blessing and grace to merit its sanctity.

  27. 30 Pablo September 29, 2009 at 19:07

    When I first looked at myself reflected in the eyes of my future wife, I could see the gates of Heaven, and our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.

    When I heard her speak, I could hear the Holy Rosary reverberating through the song of her voice, the Holy Rosary she was taught to pray as a young girl. Her intellect was that of the teachings of Holy Mother Church. She was well catechized.

    Resistance was futile. She quickly took possession of my heart and soul and never gave it back to me.

    In return, she gave me Hope, Faith, and Charity. She gave me the courage to be the man I was created by God to be.

    The world came to an end for me, and I moved about doing things I knew were pleasing to God, because I knew in doing so, it would also please her.

    Too bad the chap in your story spent his time smelling flowers and studying the environment.

    Miss Gabriella, your blog is really good.


  28. 31 Bill Turner September 29, 2009 at 19:49


  29. 32 churchmouse September 29, 2009 at 22:52

    (Thanks, Bill, for the reminder.)

    Happy feast day, Gabriella!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    God bless you!!!

  30. 33 Mary Nicewarner September 29, 2009 at 23:45

    Thanks for your comments. I just wanted to wish you Happy feast day, too! I always smile when I read your posts and comments. May God bless you always!

  31. 34 Cinzia September 30, 2009 at 01:05

    …. LIFT UP OUR WORK UNTO THE HEAVENS so that He might take and bless it and return it to us as JOY and SOULS SAVED…..


    …frequently pray a novena to my work patron saint ….


    … The world came to an end for me, and I moved about doing things I knew were pleasing to God, because I knew in doing so, it would also please her….


    … I don’t see these as “punishment” for sin, per se, I see them as opportunities for growth, opportunities for God pulling us ever closer to Himself….

    and so on

    I am reading all these comments and I can’t help thinking: Are you guys serious? I mean, is this really what you do and think when you go off to your respective jobs every day?

    Most surely you don’t need to pray to your patron saints. You ARE saints !!!!!

    I am definitely missing something, and I must fall under the category of truly bad Catholics, ’cause whenever I am at work I can’t help thinking I wish was in another place, somewhere as far removed as possible from here, like at the beach in the Bahamas, or travelling and shopping around Italy and stuff like that! In fact my workplace is filled with photographs of Italy, enlarged to the max, and hung up on every wall so that I can often gaze at them, fall under their spell and dream that I am actually THERE and not HERE!

    On that note, happy feast day to you Gabriella! What a great patron saint – Gabriele Arcangelo – WOW!!

    • 35 Judy September 30, 2009 at 04:59

      Oh Cinzia…not such a sad moment necessarily.
      For ALL people (assuming…but probably safely-so) have those same feelings now and again (or…ok…every day for some ::SMILE::)…it’s not in your daydreaming or wishing to be rid of drudge work where God sees you…but in the fact that you STAY AND WORK ANYWAY…even though you’d rather be in the Bahamas!
      So…do me a favor ok? ::SMILE:: Next time you drudge and daydream…just stop for ONE moment and close your eyes and say: “My God…I would SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much rather be in the Bahamas…but seeing as You have me here right now…I ACCEPT it and I lift it up to YOU for YOUR GLORY”…Ok Cinzia? And then write to me and tell me how you feel for the REST of that day ::SMILE AGAIN:: God bless your drudge work…and also…May He GRANT you that trip you desire some day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. 36 pablo September 30, 2009 at 01:42

    Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

    Miss Gabrielle,

    Happy Feast Day. I shall have a glass of Gabbiano to celebrate.

    Do you know what the canticum novum turned out to be?

    Where was it played?

    I am sure you can ‘turn on a dime’ so to speak, but let’s see if you can get this one.

    Maybe your readers could help out?

    Dear Cinzia,

    If you woke up net to a woman like my wife, you would eat sixteen penny nails for breakfast and drink your coffee straight from the pot. Of course we think in those terms.

    If a man wants to find his wife, first he should seek the Lord; she should lose herself so fully in our Lord, that in order for him to find her, he must first find God.

    Walking with the Lord is much preferable than walking in darkness. That doesn’t make us saints, it makes us smart men. Our wives prayers for us make us saints.

    There have been untold numbers of women who have stuck their foot in Heavens door that their wretched husbands could get in also.

    God bless women.



  33. 37 Cinzia September 30, 2009 at 02:40

    Okay Pablo – muchas gratias. You are very blessed to have such a wonderful womann your life. And I see you have a deep and beautiful faith.

    I fully agree: walking with the Lord is preferable to walking in darkness.

    I do try …. but when it comes to those days (thankfully now few ones) when I have to go to work, I can’t help feeling it will be a thankless, meaningless day devoid of God or of anything saintly.

    Buona giornata amigos. 🙂

  34. 38 anne bender September 30, 2009 at 03:48

    I suppose I might be too late, but prayers for your feast day! God bless you!

  35. 39 Cinzia September 30, 2009 at 06:05

    Done deal Judy! I will do just that. Thanks for the encouraging words about how God sees me.

    About the Bahamas … well I realise that is really “a dream too far…” but Italy is do-able 🙂

    On more serious notes: great to read all the different viewpoints, insights, suggestions on this very relevant topic for everyone. Good also to see the thread being kept alive longer than usual. I really like that. I believe that’s what blogs are about. One “African Observer” once commented that he couldn’t keep up with the changes of topic and new posts popping up when he was still reflecting on the previous one.

    Observer from Africa: I agree!

  36. 40 Llewellyn September 30, 2009 at 09:39

    I’m intrigued by Pablo. Every line you write exudes agreat love for your wife. God bless you. A few days ago I read an article on those wives and husbands who have spent years together and died together: John’s wife died after 70 years of marriage and as soon as he got back from the funeral, he died too. Another one: Peter was rushed to hospital for a heart attack, his wife Jane went home to pack some things for him, felt dizzy and died not knowing that at that moment he had died too. They had been married 45 years.
    Anyway, yes, if the woman is holy, the husband too will become a saint 🙂
    “There have been untold numbers of women who have stuck their foot in Heaven’s door so that their wretched husbands could get in also”. I LOVE THAT! Wives do pray for your husbands!

    Judy, that’s a wise advice. Cinzia it does help a lot to offer all our trials, worries, sacrifices to God – for some people, work is a heavy load, for others it could be their families, for others their illness or their handicap – let’s just offer all to God and He will bear the burden for us.

    Have a good day.

  37. 41 Judy September 30, 2009 at 13:14

    Thank you Llewellyn…and thank you also for sharing those stories of husbands and wives!
    I have ALWAYS HOPED that the good Lord would grant my dear husband and me the grace to die together like that!!!!!!!!!!

    “Let’s just offer it all to God”….

    Perfect! I will! And today, Gabriella and all of her readers are in my prayers of thanksgiving…for I am ever-so-blessed each time I come to her wonderful blog and interact with all of you!

  38. 42 Pablo September 30, 2009 at 18:04

    Dear Llewellyn,

    “There have been untold numbers of women who have stuck their foot in Heaven’s door so that their wretched husbands could get in also”.

    My grandparents were killed during the Freemason murder of Mexican Catholic Priests, Nuns, and Faithful in Mexico. My father was a child then.

    He and his sister (4 and 6 years old), survived. Long story short, he went to the American war, and became a U.S. citizen. All his life, he shook his fist at Catholic Priests; at 95 years old, on his deathbed, a Catholic Priest arrived and asked three times if he wanted his Extreme Unction. Three times, he said yes. I never saw my dad at Mass, in my whole life. Because of my Mothers prayers for him, before and after her death, the Priest came. Because of my mothers prayers, he received Extreme Unction.

    Eternal rest grant them, O Lord. Especially my dear mommy.

    Dear Cinzia,

    I was being given a pink slip (termination notice) after having completed employment at a Nuclear Power Plant in Arizona. I was a Steamfitter.

    My Foreman was crying. I asked him why.

    “If you recall, whenever you spoke with the blasphemers during lunch breaks, that were ridiculing the Holy Rollers who would have Bible meetings during lunchtime, you were always gentle with them. They would blaspheme, you would rebuke them. They would give you their opinion of Christ, you would tell them who He really was.

    I never joined the conversations, I just sat reading my newspaper.

    Once, as I was lying in bed, I took my 357.magnum from under my pillow, with which I would blow my brains out. My wife was leaving me, and my children were in open rebellion. I have all the money I need, to do all I want, but something was missing. I began to contemplate my life, and came to your part. I figured, if an idiot like him can believe on Christ Jesus, so shall I. At that moment, a peace came over my soul that is indescribable.

    My life isn’t perfect, but the Master has taken me into His hands.”

    A good prayer to say, on our way to work, is “Lord make me an instrument of Your peace.”

    My story should help confirm the belief that God will use even a jackass for His purposes.

    Ave Maria, Purissima!


  39. 43 Cinzia October 1, 2009 at 00:52

    Dear Pablo

    You are truly inspirational and …. definitely NOT a jackass!:-)

    You know, the fact that I intensely disliked my workplace (a bank – I was PA to one of the top notches – a true VIP, powerful, wealthy – him not me 🙂 did not mean that I didn’t do my work to the best of my ability. I was a very good employee, kind and helpful to all. And I kept right out of office politics and never joined in in after work parties and so on (not my scene). However, I simply did not fit in and never felt comfortable there. There was something deeply disturbing and inhuman about the place. Not that the others were all evil. Not at all. But there was this huge emptiness and feeling of meaninglessness at hearing people talk all day on how to make more money for the bank and for themselves.

    I have a deep faith, but I am not good at portraying it or speaking about it with others. Not even with my closest friends. I can only share my faith and my personal feelings etc with people like you on this blog who have the same beliefs. That is easy! But I have found that with others, it is really really difficult and I back away at the first sign of mockery or disinterest.

    Anyhow, thanks for your beautiful and encouraging words. And God bless you always (I see He already has !!!! 🙂

    Buenos Dias amigo e muchas gratias (That’s all the Spanish I know unfortunately, but I LOVE that language).

  40. 44 Tnelson October 1, 2009 at 00:56

    Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

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My Patron Saint

Archangel Gabriel

God's Messenger

Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

September 2009
« Aug   Oct »


The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!


e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto



The story of our salvation!

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INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

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The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)

Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In Domino laudabitur anima mea.

"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.

Cantate …

Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)

Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.

“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)

Lo Spirito Santo

Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!


Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)

"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)

"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.