"Big Four" Highlights


The Catholic Briefcase

An excerpt from a new book that addresses the vital issue of work-family balance

By Randy Hain

Here are five actionable ideas that may help you integrate your Catholic faith with your work:

1.Pray. We will not succeed in this effort of balancing work life with home life without prayer. Say a daily rosary, pray before the Blessed Sacrament during eucharistic adoration, pray in the morning, pray throughout the day, pray with your kids, and offer up your burdens to the Lord in prayer. However you do it, just pray. Remember the motto of the Benedictine Order: “To work is to pray.”

2. See Christ in others and make sure they see Christ at work in you at work. Look at your coworkers and clients differently. See Christ in each of them and make sure you reflect the joy of Christ back to them.

3. Join or start a ministry that promotes this effort. Look around your parish for ministries that might help in your effort to integrate, or start one with the blessing of your pastor. I have led the business association ministry in my parish for years, where we bring professionals together in the parish (and from surrounding parishes) each month to hear local speakers from the business and professional community discuss their faith journeys. With the right structure and format, it can be the catalyst for encouraging integration on a large scale.

4. Know our faith. It is easier to embrace our faith in the public square and at work when we better understand our faith. One of the underlying causes of the obstacles listed earlier is the fear that we will not be able to explain or defend our Catholicism to others. We should never stop being students, especially of our faith. We should immerse ourselves in Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church Fathers, the lives of the saints, etc. This is an important part of our duty as faithful Catholics. (There is much wisdom to be found in two incredible documents: John Paul II’s Christifideles Laici (on the lay faithful) and Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes).

5. Surrender and put God’s will before our own. This is the most challenging, yet the most rewarding and most necessary action. If we are humble and God is truly first, everything else will fall into place and integration will occur naturally. Consider St. Augustine’s famous motto: “Love [God] and [then] do what you will.” In other words, if you love God and his will, then doing “what you will” will, in fact, be doing what God wills.

Integrating your Christian life into your work life is not a cure-all for every challenge you will face as a Catholic in the workplace. I can only share with you my experience and the experiences of the men and women I know whose lives have been positively affected by this effort. But by doing so, it is my hope and belief that Catholic business people and professionals will see a dramatic change in their lives if they embrace this idea.

The key to this change is in recognizing that Christ should never compete for our time. Living our busy lives and putting him first are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, it should not even be possible to separate them. Jesus is not to be considered an addition to our lives. He is the reason for our lives. Integrating our Christian faith does not mean that we include our faith in a to-do list at work. Instead of viewing the daily practice of our faith as adding more time to already-packed schedules, we need to integrate our lives with Christ at the center of everything we do. Patrick Lencioni said it best in his foreword to this book:

“I am not going to get my faith life squared away personally until I make it the center of my life in every way, including at work. I can no more justify keeping my faith out of my job than I can my marriage, my family, or my Sunday Mass.”

Consider for a moment what would happen if the millions of Catholics in this country became more integrated and showed more active faith in the workplace, and through acts of selfless love, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Church’s teaching began to positively change their actions and inspire others to do good. We would permanently change the world.

Reflection and Discussion

• Do I consider the workplace “fertile ground to do God’s work?” Why? Why not?

• Reflect on what I may be doing today to live out my Catholic faith at work. What is working? What can be improved?

• Does Christ compete for my time? Reflect on how to make him the center of my life and not simply an addition to an already busy day.

Excerpted with permission from The Catholic Briefcase by Randy Hain, Liguori Publications, 2011.