Josemaría Escrivá Obras

If we want to live this way, sanctifying our profession or job, we really must work well, with human and supernatural intensity. I would like to remind you now, by way of contrast, of a story from the apocryphal gospels: "Jesus' father, who was a carpenter, made ploughs and yokes. Once," the story continues, "a certain important person asked him to make a bed. But it happened that one of the shafts was shorter than the other, so Joseph did not know what to do. Then, the child Jesus said to his father: Put the two shafts on the ground and make them even at one end. And Joseph did so. Jesus got at the other end, took the shorter beam of wood and stretched it until it was the same length as the other. Joseph, his father, was full of astonishment at this miracle and showered embraces and kisses on the Child, saying: How fortunate I am that God has given me this Child!"

Joseph would give God no such thanks, he would never work in this way. He was not one for easy solutions and little miracles, but a man of perseverance, effort and, when needed, ingenuity. The Christian knows that God works miracles, that he did them centuries ago, that he has continued doing them since, and that he still works them now, because "the Lord's hand is not shortened." But miracles are a sign of the saving power of God, not a cure for incompetence nor an easy way to dodge effort. The "miracle" which God asks of you is to persevere in your christian and divine vocation, sanctifying each day's work: the miracle of turning the prose of each day into heroic verse by the love which you put into your ordinary work. God waits for you there. He expects you to be a responsible person, with the zeal of an apostle and the competence of a good worker.

And so, as the motto of your work, I can give you this one: If you want to be useful, serve. For, in the first place, in order to do things properly, you must know how to do them. I cannot see the integrity of a person who does not strive to attain professional skills and to carry out properly the task entrusted to his care. It's not enough to want to do good; we must know how to do it. And, if our desire is real, it will show itself in the effort we make to use the right methods, finishing things well, achieving human perfection.

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