Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Ox and his Grain

WORK! Yes the old J.O.B. I feel that in this day what has been forgotten is the innateness of our drive to work. I have titled this blog post the way I did because I would like to point out the biblical source for our labor, and our misused mentality of a Man's wage.

I believe that America has always been a place for the working man. But I think we should know that the idea, the feeling of work goes way beyond that. Since the earliest days of man we have done work. It is in a person an innate urge for work. God has written that on our hearts. However I will concede we have come a long way since the days of farmers and plows.

But I think when we put that in the past we forget to look on the inside. We are made to work. When God made Adam he gave him dominion over the plants and animals of the earth. We have always worked to benefit ourselves and our families. With the advent of the industrial revolution , there came bad working  conditions, and unfair wages. Thus was the rise of Labor Unions. In the generation they were established things changed in the shop to be frank. But now a days I think and believe that the old Unions have come and gone and have been replaced with something that misses the principles of Natural Law.

Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In Deuteronomy 25:4, we can read " Do not muzzle and Ox while it is treading out the grain". This means that a man is entitled to his wage. Why is this even though it's about an ox. Well surely we have more inherent rights than the ox, and if an ox should get his grain then we should get our wage. It is inherent in all of us that we want to work to improve our condition,  to make our little place on Earth. Back with the ancient Israelite s, they worked for land, for the soil. I mean it's not like there were Benz's and Cadillac's around.  We harvested, we toiled over the land that we bought for ourselves, to make fruitful our natural gift that God has given us.

With the battle in Wisconsin with the teachers, it was a stand by the unions. Which I would as a Catholic, would like to address. I'm not against the idea of Unions. I think they were a big help and made good progress when the era they started was happening. But with the advancement of American society the things that the Unions represented to begin with are not here any more. The Unions turned into something different, a shadow of their former selves.

In the Encyclical letter by Pope Leo XIII Revrum Novarum, the pope wrote about the working person. you can read the whole letter here,

In the letter the Pope wrote "Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life. " 

By reading this we can see a wonderful and beautiful take for the Working person. I have always believed a man is entitled to his wage. With however wage that is he should be able to give more to the TRULY Needy, such for Mass residents the homeless at the Boston Common. However this wage should not be taken away from him, referring back to the Pope's letter, " it must be within his right to possess things not merely for temporary and momentary use, as other living things do, but to have and to hold them in stable and permanent possession; he must have not only things that perish in the use, but those also which, though they have been reduced into use, continue for further use in after time". 

Taking form Peter to give to Paul is not just , and not right. I know people who say the Church is for the Unions, and for the most part I agree, but the Unions written about then are not the same now. The working class is not just Unions and we all know this. But I think it's good to go beyond the Labor Unions to the heart of earning a wage. I think that this letter should be read because it still applies, especially after the protest in Wisconsin, also in response to the article on American Catholic here,

I still believe that Unions can be a good force. But the focus and the objectives have to be rewritten, one that still respects the workers right to his fair wage, but one that is routed in the moral high ground and balance of the Church. The Union leaders should examine themselves as well as politicians, who look to capture a vote. What one says they will do and what they do end up doing are two different things.  This goes the same for the people that represent the respective unions. the corruption that is infiltrated is a detriment to society, and the Workers may be getting the wool pulled over their eyes.  So please read Revrun Novarum to see how it should work.