has come and gone, reminding us once again of the
value and dignity of work. As John Paul II wrote
in Centesimus Annus, “Work thus belongs to the vocation of
every person; indeed, man expresses and fulfills himself by working”
The Legionaries of Christ take these words to heart in
a unique way, remembering Saint Benedict of Nursia’s maxim that
ruled the life of the first monks and has since
inspired the ‘spirituality of work,’ especially in religious life: Ora
et labora. Deus adest sine mora (Work and pray. God
will help without delay). Over the summer, Legionary centers of
novitiate and humanities have had a period of months or
weeks of work. According to the Constitutions of the Legion,
the purpose of this time is to understand the value
of work, to enhance one’s natural qualities, to strengthen the
will, to develop responsibility, and to have “the opportunity to
strive to faithfully preserve union with God in the active
life” (cf. #51, 1).
The Center of Humanities in Cheshire, CT
held the week of work at the end of June.
The brothers worked on projects that they themselves had suggested
in the preceding months, all of which were aimed at
improving various parts of the house.
Since many of the tasks
involved an economic investment, the brothers took charge of asking
family and friends for financial support to carry them out;
this had the added benefit of presenting another facet of
Legionary formation to families and acquaintances. The brothers constructed three
retaining walls in the entrance, remodeled the reception area, repaired
the ceiling, painted the pantry, and renovated the visitors’ bathrooms.
the period of humanities are not the only moments of
manual work in religious life; number 277 of the Constitutions
indicates that everyone should “feel subject to the common law
of labor.” This ‘common law’ reminds us, as St. Paul
said to “be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the
work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your
labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).