Happy Labor Day!


Image credit: Labor by Saturnino Herran, 1908, shamelessly pinched from J.R.'s Art Place
Click to enlarge.

I like John Herreid's commentary on this painting. 

Herran places not labor itself in the foreground, but the family. The wife has stopped at the work site with a basket containing bowls and food and drink. The father has paused in his work to greet her and to stroke his child's hair. The baby is the only figure who makes eye contact with the viewer, as if to relay the message: this is the meaning of labor.

Work is not the unfortunate result of the Fall, but an invitation to man to complete the work of creation, in cooperation with God. It might be worth revisiting Laborem Exercens , John Paul the Great's encyclical on the meaning of work. Or, for a popular exploration, here's a free 8-part series on The Gospel of Work from Andreas Widmer & Luke Burgis, among others.