Work according to your status in life. It does not make a man respectable by refusing to do any work. It fits people who have no home and kith and kin.
Laziness is mother to all other vices. It leads to the habit of drinking. Drunkenness is disgraceful before the world and guilty before God.
Kathon, chief of Rome, once ordered that all people desirous of settling in Rome should show their hands toughened by labour as evidence of their disposition to work and that Knights and Lords should carry with them utensils of work when they go out as a symbol of their status.
Business or trade involves risk of both soul and wealth. However, if that is the only opening for you to make a living, there is no objection to your pursuing it. But do it very carefully and be exceedingly just.
The unjust trader has never maintained a steady progress in life. Riches amassed through deceit and fraud will soon melt away like snow.
There were two merchants who never prospered in their trade. They adopted many tricks and frauds. Yet they did not come up. One day they both went up for confession and revealed the facts to the priest in confession. The priest advised them to be honest. They obeyed him. Within one year they prospered immensely.
Days on which you have not rendered any good to others will not be reckoned with as days in your book of life. Be more zealous about other people loving you than fearing you. Do not let beggars leave your home empty-handed. Do not refrain from giving alms whenever you can.
Saint Kuriakose Elias of the Holy Family Chavara
Testament of a Loving Father, nos. 12–13 (1868)
Chavara, K, Pathaplackal, T 2014, Testament of a Loving Father, translated from Malayalam by Calzolari, E, Chavara Central Secretariat, Chavara Hills, Kochi.
Featured image: This is a detailed image of Childhood of Christ by Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656); the artwork is an oil on canvas painting that was executed in the Netherlands, ca. 1620. It is on display in the European Fine Art collection of The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The museum’s gallery label provides more information about the painting and the artist:
The city of Utrecht was an important artistic centre in Holland and gave the world a number of painters for whom the culture and art of Italy played a special role. Their work was strongly influenced by the visual language of Caravaggio. The distinctive placement of half-figures advanced to the foreground, contrasting nocturnal or artificial illumination that produces dramatic shadows and heightens the theatrical effect of a painting—those were the main features of the new type of picture that all the Caravaggisti employed. The Childhood of Christ by Gerrit van Honthorst is a typical example of this tendency. The artist had travelled extensively in Italy and already made a name for himself there. A high opinion of Honthort’s mastery of chiaroscuro composition and his talents as a colourist is reflected in his Italian nickname: Gherardo delle notti – “Gerard of the Nights”. The artist produced several works on religious subjects, but they are lacking the high emotional content of canvases to adorn churches or cathedrals. We have here an almost intimate scene. The boy is holding a candle, helping his carpenter father to complete a piece of work late in the evening. Only the title of the piece and the allegory of Christ bringing light to all humanity turn this genre scene into an interpretation of the Gospel words: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
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