Reverend Alexander Pocetto
TH281 Salesian Spirituality
7 December 2017
Salesian Spirituality Reflection Paper: Salesian Concept of Work and a Fulfilling Life
St. Francis DeSales was a man of great virtue and understood the concept of work as a task which is fundamental to our nature as human beings. Work was ordained by God in the garden at the creation of the of man. In Genesis God said to Adam, “cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field” (Genesis 3:17-18). God clearly punishes Adam and Eve for their sin by tasking them with tiresome labor all their life. In St. Francis DeSales’ spirit of optimism, he teaches that this passage from Genesis can be taken literally but that work is also something which can be a great source of happiness in our lives. If we perform tasks on a daily basis which we truly find to be fulfilling then our work contributes to our over-all well-being. When our work is directed towards the service of our neighbors and our Christian life then it is directed towards our ultimate end, which is God.
DeSales teaches on recreation in The Complete Introduction to the Devout Life. He says,
“Taking the air, walking, discussing happy and amiable quotes, playing the lute or another instrument, singing to music, going on the chase-these are recreations so respectable that in order to enjoy them one need nothing more than common prudence that places everything in its proper order, time, place, and quantity” (Pt. III, Chp. 31, pg. 261)
By him saying this we can see he means that the use of recreation in our lives is a good in accord with the law of God. He simply reminds us that we are to be prudent and wise with our use of free time and to not lose oneself in it which I myself find to be more damaging than fulfilling because when I do that I am being overindulgent. He further explains in pt. III chapter 32 that certain pastimes are not permissible or are only permissible under the use of moderation. He prohibits the use of games of chance such as gambling and cards which can actually cause us to be over-occupied mentally and not be a true recreation. Recreation is meant to be something that replenishes ourselves and games of chance do the opposite to us. We can become so consumed by them that it exerts us mentally to the point that we can’t perform to our greatest potential outside of them. I can understand DeSales’ teaching here as gambling is a great problem in our community at large and many become addicted to it similar to addictions of sex, alcohol or drugs which causes it to become a vice. However, he says later on in chapter 34 that playing chance games and going to dances can be used on occasion as recreation with great prudence and watchfulness.
As we discussed earlier in the semester, the Greeks and Romans held a negative view of work as something which was...