A Labor Day Prayer
by Fr. Frank Desiderio, C.S.P.
September 4, 2017

God, you enjoyed your six days of creation,
pronounced all you made as very good.
But Adam’s sin caused work to become a curse
“by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread,”
You said. We now know work
as a blessing and a curse.

Today we take a day off from labor,
leave our cubicle, take off our headphones
put down the shovel, get down from the cab
stay home from the office, the classroom,
climb up and out of the rut
to make some time for gratitude.

We are grateful for the blessings:
a living wage and exit doors unchained,
the economic development of community,
a way to participate in your creation.

Save us from work that degrades our dignity
that is not a way to build up community
when nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel
just puts us on the skid row of success,
the one-upmanship of cashmere woes.

Bless our work, may it embody our faith
so that we may be doers of the Word
and not just hear it.
That we may shape our world
according to your will
with work that exercises our spiritual muscles.

Work is where our faith gets a work out.
We need your grace to love the guy in the inner office.
We need your justice to know the next right thing to do.
We need your mercy to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Let us always remember
that no matter who hires us
we work in Your family business.
May your will govern our work.
May all we do be pleasing to you.
We pray this in the Spirit who played at creation.


Paulist Fr. Frank Desiderio is first consultor, or chief advisor, to the president of the Paulist Fathers.  He also serves as director of the Paulist Associates and director of St. Mary’s of the Lake.

Fr. Frank composed this prayer in late August, 2017.

The image above shows “The Immigrant Mother Raises Her Son For Industry,” a mural by Maxo Vanka located at St. Nicholas Church in Millvale, PA.