Faith in the workplace. Religion in the workplace. How much is too much? Is any at all already too much? How do you, as a Catholic professional, go about preserving your Catholic faith in the secular workplace without being accused of proselytizing?
Those are just a few of the self-conscious questions contemporary society has faithful Catholics pondering every day.
Even though we have the First Amendment in the United States, Christians walk on eggshells when it comes to being public about their faith, especially at a place of business. Catholic professionals maybe more than most, given the not-so-faint streak of anti-Catholicism in our nation’s past and contemporary progressivism’s less-than-tolerant attitude toward Catholic moral teaching.
If that sort of thing nags at you, perhaps they even frighten you, there’s good news. You don’t have to answer those questions. And no blog is going to be able to give you one-size-fits-all advice on the subject. Only you can gauge the level of tolerance for religious discussion in a given secular workplace, and when the time is right to make a stand on a topic.
But since there is nothing in doctrine that says you have to go around citing Bible verses and Catechism of the Catholic Church references all day long, relax a little.
Besides, odds are that being accused of evangelizing to the point of losing your job is far less likely than becoming lazy about your faith in today’s hyper-busy business world. As is the case for the devout college student whose faith dissolves in the ultra-secular world of higher education, there’s a certain amount of “use it or lose it” danger that comes from bottling up one’s faith in the workplace.
Silence can be a powerful spiritual tool for Catholic professionals in the secular workplace. And it can help with preserving your Catholic faith in the secular workplace without ever saying a word. Consider harnessing the spiritual power of silence to strengthen your faith and do good for others throughout the day. That’s right — good, old-fashioned spiritual works of mercy.
Your workplace probably isn’t interested in hearing you stand up at your desk to announce a rosary or chaplet for the intentions of all present. But you can certainly be something of a prayer warrior — or prayer ninja, to be more exact — interceding for others throughout the day, without them ever knowing it.
Prayer is strong and we all need much more of it than we realize. That’s especially true for people who are hostile to the very thought of God. Rather than letting your faith atrophy in the workplace, keep your Christian radar tuned in throughout the day and keep an eye out for reasons to intercede.
And, dear Catholic professional, remember that you’re Catholic and the entire Church Triumphant is in your corner. There’s no problem too big or too small that someone who has gone before us marked with the sign of faith can’t help us handle.
And not every prayer needs to be exclusively for the benefit of someone else. for instance, if you’ve got a boss who’s mean and nasty, and walking out on him/her isn’t an option, invite Blessed Mother and St. Joseph to pray that he/she will discover how to lead from a place of respect. (That may sound fruitless, but just saying such a prayer can do wonders for your own ability to cope.)
Preserving your Catholic faith in the secular workplace requires taking care of your own spiritual well-being. And here’s more good news: you’re never alone in the effort. The Communion of Saints surrounds you at all times. And of course, even in the most secular of secular places, the King is in the building if you call on Him.
And if you don’t feel comfortable going straight to “Management” turn to his mother.
You may recognize those brief prayers as classic “aspirations” — a fabulous tradition in the Church and tailor-made for Catholic professionals who want to actively practice their faith in a secular workplace. And you can do it quietly, in a single, silent or near-silent breath. In fact, the word “aspiration” traces back to a Latin word — that word is aspirare, which means “to breathe upon.” In prayer, an aspiration is a brief prayer we breathe out on behalf of ourselves or others.
Where Catholic aspirations started is anyone’s guess, but there are plenty of them to be found. Christians have been cranking them out for a long time…in the neighborhood of two-thousand years, give or take. Why? Because trying to find appropriate ways of expressing one’s faith in the course of a day is nothing new. In 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5 St. Paul urges us to pray without ceasing, which definitely calls for some variety in the types of praying we do.
Indeed, trying to practice the Faith under the constraint of time or place has been going on for a while. One of the many great things about being Catholic is that we have two-thousand years of people who kept the faith through all sorts of hardships to rely on. If martyrs can sing songs of praise on their way to the lions, aspirations are sure to help Catholics preserving faith in the secular workplace.
“Aspiration” and “frustration” have more of a connection than the simple fact that they rhyme.
About the Author:
Jim Moore is a copywriter and editor, who is passionate about helping clients communicate about businesses, brands, products, people, companies and causes they believe in.