Our Labor Today
Labor Day is not a happy holiday this year in America. There’s still much to be grateful for, very grateful, in our big, bountiful, awe-inspiring, sprawling, contentious, exasperating, but still heart-swelling nation. Our labor, our greatest task now is different than in the past. We still, of course, face old, perennial questions about how to enable more of us to participate in the blessings of liberty. But we must all now work with purer intent to preserve and protect the very things that make those blessings possible.
Communities, like individual human lives, are imperfect, vulnerable, easy to break down, harder to build up. As we’ve seen recently, a few malefactors can destroy large swaths of great modern cities in just a single night of arson, looting, and riots. Repairing the material destruction – as we learned after similar events in the 1960s – can take years, and the moral and spiritual damage longer, if ever.
What does the conscientious citizen, especially the Catholic citizen, do in such circumstances? There are policies to fight for, via law, politics, and media. More importantly, though, Catholics bring a different perspective to problems – or should.
We know God is the only real Lord of the world and his main instruments are truth and justice, but also mercy, forgiveness, bearing one another’s burdens, knowledge – contrary to utopians of various persuasions – that all have sinned, and a commitment to living and working in mutual solidarity despite our many and deep imperfections.