The virtue of the month in Conquest and Challenge for December is hard work. This may seem like an odd virtue for the month of Advent and Christmas but it actually is quite appropriate. St Joseph is known as the patron saint of workers. Mary worked hard throughout her whole life as a mother, raising Jesus. It was not easy for either Mary or Joseph to follow God’s will during Christmas, but they did. Jesus chose to become man and part of that was taking on the need to work. He helped Joseph as a carpenter and did not shy away from long hours of walking to preach the gospel. The Holy Family are wonderful examples of living the virtue of hard work.
Nothing comes easy, and behind every success are hours of plain hard work. If we want to be successful and reach any goal there is a price and it does not come easy. That price is hard work dedication, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to what we are trying to achieve. Pope Paul VI once said “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”
Jesus spoke about hard work many times in the gospel, like for example in the parable of the talents. That passage to speaks about dedication and doing what is asked of you. Obedience is part of hard work and dedication and we know how serious Jesus took obeying his Father. Jesus also speaks to his apostles about the fact that God will never ask more than you can handle. So if he is asking or inspiring you to do something hard, he will give you the strength to handle it. If we have been given many talents or generous hearts then God will ask us to use them and be responsible for helping other people with those talents. Jesus talks about procrastination and putting off doing what we are asked. That does not please God and Jesus warns us that we never know how much time we have to do something. Don’t put off to tomorrow, what you can do today. Talents are like gifts that God gives us. They are not just human talents like play the piano or being a great long distance runner. Talents (or this money in this passage) is symbolic of gifts and graces that God gives us each day and in our lives. He puts them in our hands so we can use them to help others in this world. Sometimes using our talents takes hard work but as Jesus points out in this passage, that hard work and dedication will pay off.