"Work...must be congenial and satisfying if the spiritual life is to
develop normally: it cannot be all Cross and austerity."
[Cardinal Basil Hume, O.S.B., SEARCHING FOR GOD, Paulist
Press, 1977, p. 94.]
Comment: The late Basil Hume, once a Bendictine abbot, was
called to be the Catholic archbishop for England. He was well
loved, probably because he was gentle and wise. And I feel
quite lucky to have found this little pearl of wisdom as stated above.
Like the countless billions of other folk on this planet, I have worked.
I'm old enough to have seen my way through two careers, and now
I am embarking on a third life phase.
I have to admit to some considerable good fortune, in that my two
earlier careers were indeed "congenial and satisfying." But I have
to admit, also, that the times were right when I found myself in the
workplace. Coming from a small generation, too, I no doubt didn't
have the competition for positions that younger people now face.
So probably "luck" plays a big part when it comes to our work
situation. But luck isn't always with every person. Bad luck can
give one a raw deal. On the other hand, bad preparation nearly
always guarantees a poor hand when it comes to work. But
not everybody has the inclination towards academic study. Still
there's technical or vocational training. However, this presupposes
that a person *knows* the kind of effort or work that best suits him
or her. School testing, other forms of personality tests might help--
if one wants to bead-in more expertly where their talents lie.
Yet, not every one in this world has access to tests, to job availability,
etc. Our world lives on multiple tracks of existence, from the ultra-
urban to the agricultural realm to tribal societies. So finding that
good creative work that suits might be an impossibility.
Nonetheless, Cardinal Hume is surely on the mark when it comes
to work and its impact on the spiritual life. We are not necessarily
talking Religion here, but really more about our own personal human
spirit. If our work is creative and pleasant--and especially meaningful--
then we possess a happy spirit. And usually happy spirits spread
and share their happiness!