One constant in life is that we all need to work to survive. For much of human history, that would have meant hunting and farming. Now, it means going to a job to earn money to support ourselves and maybe a family. Or maybe that means taking care of the family. Since work is such an integral part of our lives, it’s something that requires prayer to be meaningful and fruitful. What Rosary mystery fits the modern worker?
Running out of Wine
If you’ve seen the series The Chosen, you may remember the episode about the wedding feast at Cana (Second Luminous Mystery). The show decided to portray Saint Thomas as the one hired to supply the food and wine for the event. While Scripture only mentions that they ran out of wine, The Chosen portrays Thomas miscalculating the amount of wine needed. Mary asks Jesus to help which he does by turning water into the best wine of the celebration.
I like the Second Luminous Rosary mystery as one specifically for workers. It alludes to a logistical problem similar to the ones many of us face daily. Thomas had a job to do and he messed up. He worried that he would ruin the wedding, embarrass the hosts, and fail at doing his job. He probably felt huge levels of anxiety about how this blunder would affect future business and his livelihood. I’m sure many of us can relate.
Including Jesus in our Work Day
Our jobs are often more of a burden than something joyful or exciting. It can be a source of stress and anxiety as we face rude customers, demanding bosses, complex projects, or inflexible schedules. We can sympathize with the situation at the Cana wedding where nothing seemed to be going right.
We know how this story ends. Mary sees what is happening and asks for Jesus’ help. He turns disaster into a miracle. We, too, may run into disasters at our jobs. We may miss deadlines, produce a subpar product, not meet our quotas, or lose our temper with customers. But we can take a queue from the Cana wedding and ask for Jesus’ help through Mary and her Rosary. Asking for Jesus’ intervention can help us navigate those challenges and anxieties we have at work.
Doing What Jesus Asks
I know that many of us pray the Rosary regularly but we still face countless obstacles at work. You may ask, “Why isn’t Jesus producing miracles at my job like he did at the Cana wedding?” I heard a priest on EWTN talk about how filling those jars with water at the wedding feast was probably a laborious process. It’s not like they had facets in the house and they couldn’t lug those large stone jars to a well. The laborers had to make multiple trips to a well with smaller buckets to fill the large jars that Jesus turned into wine.
The idea is that our faith often requires effort, time, and trust. The workers had to trust Jesus that his seemingly ridiculous request had a purpose. They needed to put in the time and effort to make the miracle happen. The miracle didn’t happen instantly. The wedding feast was at the point of disaster before the miracle occurred. In The Chosen, Thomas kept questioning Jesus about how filling jars with water addressed the wine issue. We too often ask Jesus, “How does doing what you ask help me in this situation?”
I think we can act a little like Saint Thomas regarding prayer at times. We want Jesus to fix the problem ASAP. We tell ourselves that there is no time for prayer and that it’s just wasting our time instead of solving the problem. How many of us justify not spending a few minutes in prayer or walking into a church to sit in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament because we’re too busy? I think Jesus’ solution to our work-related problem includes stepping back occasionally to focus on him, not the challenge at hand.
Don’t Lose Heart
At our work, we often have to grind away at our tasks. We are like the servants fetching water — entrusting our labor to Jesus. Our efforts at work may seem pointless and Jesus doesn’t seem to help us. We just toil away, day after day, without any relief. It’s in those moments God wants us to put our faith in him, not in our own abilities. We need to learn to let go. When everything is going smoothly, we tend to think too highly of ourselves and not of God. Perhaps, I hard day at work is God’s way of reminding us that we need to include him more into our lives. If we put our trust in God to see us through our work, and work is what we spend a good portion of our day doing, then we’ll remember that God is with us throughout our day.