April 28, 2016
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal
Good morning. You have probably seen an elderly priest walking with a cane on the property. He is Father Tom Ellerman, and he’s an alumnus of Marist, Class of 1958. Yesterday, May 1, was his birthday, so if you see him today, you can offer birthday greetings. May 1st, is also the day that the Catholic Church honors workers of the world by celebrating the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. All of us work, but this is a special remembrance of the people who do ordinary jobs and make the world go around—tailors and housekeepers and bus drivers and home builders and dog groomers and manicurists and highway workers, folks who don’t necessarily have college degrees but who work as hard as or harder than those who do. Most of us have relatives who are workers like this, and all of us depend every day on these workers.
Marist is in the business of preparing people for college, but we’re also in the business of reminding each other from time to time that a person’s worth in the eyes of God and fellow women and men does not depend on college. We affirm the basic value of all life and remain thankful for the assistance of those at Marist School, in our homes, in our stores, and elsewhere who spend their days working in order to live a life of dignity and promise. I thank those of you who assist in the Centro GED Program and in your service projects, reaching out to the people who have not been as blessed as we have been with education. We appreciate their help, and we want to help others to attain an education that can lift their prospects for the future.
Here is a poem, a sonnet, in the form of a prayer. It’s based on the “Working Man’s Prayer” by Billye Phillips Beck:
Dear Lord, excuse my beat-up boots, my Wranglers, and my cap.
I’m praying on my way to work; I’m just a working chap.
I didn’t go to college, I’m only a common man.
You, too, were a carpenter, Lord, so I know you understand.
My hands are calloused, my voice is tired, my clothes are not first-rate.
Will you be checking labels, Lord, when I enter Heaven’s gate?
My truck is old, and people laugh from their shiny cars and vans.
Did they also laugh at you, my Lord, as you walked your native land?
Please help me not to worry, Lord, about my lack of worldly gain.
I’ll be as rich as all the rest when I reach Heaven’s plain.
I’ll trade my jeans and dusty boots for wings and a robe of white.
I’ll leave my cap and put on a crown, Oh, what a blessed sight!
Work time is almost here, but I’ve still got time to pray,
Just help me, Lord, to be content with what I have today.
And that is our prayer: help us to be content with what God has given us to do today and to be mindful of all others who allow us to carry on in our work and our lives. Amen.
Mary, Seat of Wisdom.