Note: The article below by Dan Spencer is from the National Fellowship of Catholic Men Blog. It is posted under the topic, “Answering the Call to Go and Make Disciples.” The Blog contains multiple articles on important men’s topics and provides the opportunity for men to communicate with one another on these topics. The Blog is accessible from the NFCM Home Page.
“They maintain the fabric of this world, and the practice of their craft is their prayer.” (Sirach 38:34)
Let me ask you a question: Where do you spend the majority of your waking hours? Most men spend 50-60% of their time planning for, or participating in, work. Let me ask you a follow up question: What is your specific strategy for co-laboring with Christ to impact your professional world for Christ? Not simply to be “good” or “ethical,” but your daily plan to convert the temporal order: “to sanctify yourself, your workplace and your coworkers,” as St. Jose Maria Escriva says. Most of us have no plan. Many of us have no clue how to do this. Yet, this is so in spite of the Vatican II call to “collaborate with Christ in the renewal of the temporal order” — a key component of which includes our work life.
For far too many of us, “survival” is our strategy. Make as much money as possible, in the least time as possible. Tithe a bit. Support the “real” ministers of the Gospel. Retire as early as possible and THEN maybe “do something meaningful”. Sound familiar? Brothers, I have news — you are already IN full-time ministry. Here are a few things to consider as you begin thinking of your professional life as your God-ordained Marketplace Ministry:
- Where do I most frequently encounter non-Christian actions?
- Where do I most frequently encounter non-believers?
- Where do I most frequently become tempted to boast, lie, or mislead others?
- Where do I most frequently get tempted to not do my best?
- Where do I most frequently get angered at others?
- Where is my integrity and humility most frequently challenged?
- Where do I find it most difficult to pray for those around me?
Get my point? Work is the battlefield most of us deal with daily. This is where true virtue is put to the test. This is where the opportunity to impact people’s lives and the culture is up front. Due to this it becomes both an opportunity to sanctify ourselves, others and structures of the world for Christ. The good news is there are strategies and tactics for your calling to the workplace. We just need to begin seeing that this is one of our most challenging opportunities for evangelism, witness and conversion. We need to begin loving Monday. Here are the final four questions to consider:
1. Do you understand how your work is a part of your lay vocation?
2. Do you clearly see the behaviors keeping you for impacting your workplace?
3. Do you comprehend how adversity at work builds your faith?
4. Do you have a specific strategy for walking this out next Monday?
Call it what you will. Your marketplace ministry, workplace witness, or vineyard vocation — the challenge is the same. This week, at the end of Mass, recall that we have been freed of sin; we have offered up ourselves to be transformed; we have been inspired by the Word; we have been filled with the Spirit; and we have accepted Jesus into our very body. We are then commissioned by Jesus to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19)! Like a college graduate who attends “graduation commencements,” we too are just beginning! Try this at each Mass and Mondays will never be the same again.
Dan Spencer, is the founder of The St. Joseph Center for Men and creator of the Professions of Faith workshop. Contact him at Dspencer@StJosephCenter.com.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. Why is it important for you to have a “specific strategy for co-laboring with Christ to impact your professional world for Christ”?
2. What are some of the obstacles that keep you from doing this? What steps can you take to overcome these obstacles? How can other brothers in Christ support you?
3. Take some time to go over the series of questions in the article beginning with: “Where do I most frequently encounter non-Christian actions?” What did your answers reveal to you about the environments of your life and your response to these environments?
4. Take some time to go over the series of questions posed in the article beginning with, “Do you understand how your work is a part of your lay vocation?” What do your responses tell you about your view of the workplace as an opportunity to evangelize other men?
5. In response to the question: “Do you have a specific strategy for walking this out next Monday?” Take some time to pray about and lay out a strategy for this coming Monday at work.