Once a Bishop told this anecdote about St. John Paul II. He had an audience with him in the evening (around 7pm). He was in the room waiting for the Pope. When he entered the room, it was obvious that he was tired. He walked wearily and his face seemed very tired.

So, he said to him: “Your holiness, you seem to be tired.” And St. John Paul II answered: “if I were not tired it would mean that I would not have done my duty.”

This anecdote speaks about a virtue, a forgotten virtue I would say, the virtue of “industriousness.” This virtue is related to the virtue of fortitude. We can say that this virtue makes us fulfill our duties (first of all our duty of state) well and with love. That is why it is also called by the term “diligent” which comes from the Latin word “diligo” which means “to love.”

We usually associate this virtue with working hard, since of course, those who practice this virtue work hard in order to work well. But that is one of the differences between a hard-working person and a diligent person (or a person with the virtue of industriousness). A hard worker is a person who loves his work, he loves to work, he loves to be busy, etc. There is a love for his work.

The virtuous person works with love and he tries his best to fulfill his duties in the best way possible. And this can be seen in all his tasks or responsibilities: as a father, working at home, helping people, etc. But also in his spiritual life, in his duties as Christian, in his religious life. We can include under this virtue all the activities that we must do in our lives.

A virtuous job is a work done with effort of course, but also, done well. This implies that the person uses all the necessary means to accomplish it in the best way possible: asking for advice, thinking, observing, etc. There are some who are hard workers but no one can say anything about their job: they do not accept suggestions, advice, etc. This shows that they are hard workers, but they are not virtuous.

This virtue gives us a spiritual attitude that makes us diligent in fulfilling our duties, not just one or some of them, but rather all of them. And as I said, the main reason to fulfill them is love: love of serving God through this task and in each task.

Daily homily


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