Our Brother’s Corner, July 19, 2015, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

andy armsSometimes Catholics with secular professional careers are concerned they have developed workplace mentalities divided from who they are as people of faith. After several years of this they can perceive a lack of meaning in how they spend most of their waking hours. Perhaps, such individuals suppose, they would feel more integrated and fulfilled if employed by a church, a school for underprivileged children, or some other charity, but, sadly, that sort of change would not be realistic. While a career shift along those lines is indeed uniquely rich, take care not to fall prey to a narrow understanding of how a Christian can live a rewarding life. A greater sense of fulfillment for a Christian comes from an ever deepening mindfulness of eternal union with God as the ultimate aim of that Christian’s existence in this life. It is rooted in the disposition toward God with which a person gets up in the morning, feeds the kids, washes the dishes, travels to work, or does any number of other tasks. Admittedly, such mindfulness cannot always be the focal point of a Christian’s consciousness. Sometimes he or she must focus on programming software, arguing a court case, or pitching a financial proposal. But Godly intentionality should always be somewhere present in a Christian’s interior life, influencing his or her choices. And a secular workplace provides ample opportunity for one’s relationship with God to be enlivened through those choices. It could begin with tiny but sincere steps, like starting a new pot of coffee in the breakroom, even though no one would see if you simply departed after draining the current one. It can expand through dealing patiently with a new office admin who made a mistake, or speaking well of a coworker who outshined you recently in front of the CEO. Decisions like these, when offered to God, are transformed into sources of His grace, which He can bestow on those around you or elsewhere. Remember, Christ has no feet on Earth but yours and those of every other Christian currently in this world. And we need individuals spreading His love and grace throughout all of the sectors enabling society to function. Now, while so far I have focused on how to cultivate a worshipful mentality during working hours, do not be surprised if doing so empowers you to love others better also when you are off-the-clock. In addition, this cultivated mindset can help you notice possibilities for your free time, finances, and political voice that could magnify your love for others further. Just remember the key to staying directed toward God is not found in any job description, volunteer pamphlet, political tract, or donation request. It is found in your baptism. As Catholics we believe that each Christian has been baptized into the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this is the rudder that should steer every person. Our time in this life is a transitory period for developing as much as possible into the people God remade us to be. It is a process that was initiated by our baptisms and will reach its completion after our deaths when we share fully in His divine nature. In the meantime, stay open to learning from others regarding how to grow into the best member of Christ’s body you can become. Just take care not to compare yourself to others vainly. God’s standard for your life is the only one that matters, and it corresponds to the potential He gave you. Each of us has a part to play in the overall story, depending on our talents, experiences, and where we are planted. Needless to say, as that story unfolds, it will continue including failures on our part – lapses in fortitude and missed opportunities. For as long as we remain in this life, however, God will be available to forgive us and bring about good from those mistakes. All we can do is attempt our best to keep on a path upward. Wherever you live, work, volunteer, or recreate, stay mindful of that disposition toward God. And try to approach every moment with loving gratitude to Him for having loved you into existence.

 ~ Br. Andy Opsahl, O.P.

 


Comments

Our Brother’s Corner, July 19, 2015, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time  — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you Br. Andy for your reflection.
    MS

    “Prayer is a cry of gratitude and love, in the midst of trial as well as in joy.”

    St. Therese of Lisieux

  2. In 2008, I found out I had breast cancer and found myself fortunate enough to have had my surgery just before St. Agatha’s feast day and Lent came early that year. It was almost “easy” that Lent to unite my sufferings with Jesus on the cross because of the solemn period.

    Plenty of people prayed for me and I know that God’s grace allowed me to find healing on all levels. I prayed for the opportunity to help others that were facing the similar breast cancer diagnosis as I wanted to be in an environment that would give me the chance to “give back”.

    After the ordeal of treatment, my previous job was going to phased out and I mentioned it to my breast surgeon if he knew anyone was hiring I had plenty of medical office experience. Within six weeks, he called me offering me a job with him.

    God does use us in every way to further the message of His redeeming love and healing.

    Five years later, I’m still working there.

  3. Thank you Brother Andy for this wonderful reminder to show the Love of God in all we do! And I’ll never forget the kindness you and your family have shown us over the years! May God continue to richly bless you and yours in all you do!

    In His service,
    David

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