It’s easy to reduce our work or our job down to something that simply pays the bills, keeps the house clean and running, and checks off the next box. But our work is so much than that.
Pope St. John Paul II said:
The Son of God became man and worked with human hands…. So we know, not only by reason alone but through revelation, that through their work people share in the Creator’s work. We continue it and, in a sense, perfect it by our own work, our toil, by daily effort to wrest a livelihood from the earth, or from the sea, or by applying energy to the many different processes of production…. Indeed, we Christians are convinced that the achievements of the human race—in art, science, culture and technology—are a sign of God’s greatness and the flowering of God’s mysterious design. (source)
Work is a fundamental human right and privilege. And as Catholic Christians, we find encouragement in the fact that Our Lord, too, labored daily in His work.
Our work—no matter if it’s inside the home, outside the home, or a combination of both—has great value to us personally, to society at large, and to the Kingdom.
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Being Catholic in the Workplace
Being Catholic in the workplace also offers us a unique opportunity to show Christ’s love to those we work for, with, and around.
We recently brought this question of the blessings and challenges of being Catholic in the workplace to the women in our Blessed is She communities on Facebook. Here’s what they had to say.
“Although people have different beliefs, the foundational values of kindness and benefit-of-the-doubt can really change the tenor in a group.”
“I’m an engineer. I live my faith through the way I treat people and my dedication to doing a good job. I keep a lot of reminders of my faith in my cubicle. Things like a crucifix, prayer cards, and a Divine Mercy plaque. I also write a new saint quote on my whiteboard each week.”
“Many (coworkers), in secret, have come to me for advice with their children, with their relationships, and for my “Catholic opinion” on things. It’s a culmination of very small moments. But God works through even the smallest actions, and for that I’m grateful.”
“I work as an RN in a critical care setting. The hospital is Christian and incorporated prayer into the day. I pray on my way to work. We pray as a team to start the day. I also love the fact that I can pray with my patients and families anytime.”
“One of the best conversations I’ve ever had (with a coworker) about religion and faith was with a wiccan. She later told me that she admired my passion for the Catholic Church, and especially for Mary. She had never heard much about the Holy Family before. I don’t see her converting any time soon. But she would regularly come to me after that to chat about life stuff. I like to think I’m just going around planting mustard seeds.”
“Something I’ve regularly struggled with is being called to the secondary vocation of being a working woman. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions in Catholic circles that it’s a less holy calling to fulfill, especially if you’re also a wife and mother. This couldn’t be further from the truth and the countless female Saints who worked prove it. Someone once told me, “all Catholics are called to be missionaries.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a missionary in title or not. What you’re doing, professionally, can be used for good.”
“I used to work for a research nonprofit. There would be times decisions had to be made about where our funding would go. There were a couple times I had to make it clear I couldn’t work there if we supported certain research. I was always listened to and respected—and I do think it’s because I was open and vulnerable with my faith with my coworkers and supervisor in smaller ways.”
“Sometimes it can be tempting to talk about problems with co-workers with others when really the best thing to do would be to pray for them.”
“I’m a truck driver recruiter for small company. Being a faithful Catholic at work is like walking a tight rope. I hold an HR role and faith can get the company into trouble. A part of my role is to make sure I find the right people to bring on board to the company. Prayer is an active part of my day. But the biggest part is treating others with dignity.”
“The biggest moral tension I have faced is there was the possibility of work using human embryonic derived cells and I had to explain to my boss why I could not do that. We figured out a way to avoid that work and fortunately my boss was very understanding and led to a discussion of his Jewish perspective of the issue and the opportunity to explain how I as a Catholic viewed life beginning at conception.”
“I always start my shift with prayer.”
“The most significant lesson I learned about these faith conversations at work was to listen first. And then listen second, and keep listening and loving and listening and loving. A lot of times atheist or even Protestant coworkers were Catholic growing up. Many times they need a different perspective that includes more truth and transparency than what they were taught. As in every environment, it’s important for others to know that we love them and value them. And if we can practice our faith in the same way and treat others as Jesus loves and values us, they will see that.”
“My workplace is pretty non-stop busy. But I’ve found that praying the Rosary in the car on the way to work makes things so much less stressful.”
“I work as a clinical music therapist, specifically with Alzheimer’s clients. I always try to pray before my groups asking for the Lord to be present with me during my session.”
“Every day on my commute into work, I pray for my team members and their needs. I pray for a listening ear, wisdom, and a compassionate heart.”
Professional Development for the Catholic in the Workplace
Throughout the blessings, challenges, and opportunities we encounter as Catholics in the workplace, we all desire to be the best we can be. One of the ways we add even more value and dignity to our work is by working well, by developing our skill, by building virtue, and by nurturing relationships that will help us more beautifully fulfill that to which we’ve been called.
A wonderful way to continue to develop ourselves as good workers who are ignited by the Gospel message is through the group Young Catholic Professionals. This organization boasts 18 chapters and members in a total of 25 states through the U.S. It’s a network that prioritizes both our Faith and our professional goals.
Young Catholic Professionals hosts a yearly conference to help you connect with other Catholics in the workplace. This year, the conference will explore Mary under the title Star of Hope. Throughout the two-day conference, we’ll hear from renowned speakers about Marian devotion, and how she can be our great intercessor in the workplace. If you are a Catholic professional, you don’t want to miss this opportunity!
You’re Not Alone!
One of the best parts of our Facebook conversation was that so many women connected with one another. We share similar triumphs and trip-ups in the working world, and sometimes it’s just good to know we’re not the only one.
As we all continue to fulfill our work, whatever it looks like, may we always look to Mary, who fulfilled the most beautiful work in bringing us Our Savior. Through her intercession, may we always shine His light in our workplace.
What kind of work do you do? How does being Catholic influence that work? What are the best and hardest parts of being Catholic in your job? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below!Being Catholic in the Workplace #BISblog // Click To Tweet