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Can our work help our faith?

We are called by our baptism to live the Gospel and to follow Christ in our daily lives. But how realistic is that? Can we actually practice our faith in our daily work?
    Here are three ways our work can help us deepen our relationship with God:

1 Working with Others: Be Incarnational
    Christ became human to be with us – to be Emmanuel. If we are to follow Him, then we also need to be with each other. We need to work with others, cooperate with them, serve them, participate and experience our life together with them. When we share our ideas and abilities and allow others to do the same, we become the face of Christ on earth for them and our work truly becomes holy.
2 Creativity: Building the Kingdom of God
    We can use our talents, gifts and daily opportunities to renew the world and to work with God to build the kingdom on earth. Pope John Paul II has said that the Church “sees it as Her particular duty to form a spirituality of work which will help all people to come closer to God through their work.” (On Human Work, 1981) Our primary job is to be a disciple of Christ. We are all called to be good stewards of the personal gifts and talents we have received and to freely use those gifts to follow Christ and to do the will of the Father. Our daily work is the opportunity we have been given to participate with God’s will in even the most ordinary of daily activities.
    As Catholics we are called to renew our world, our society, and our workplace with such generosity that we become living examples of the Gospel message of Christ. Our work not only allows us to provide for ourselves and our families, but also provide for all of society, especially the poor and the marginal who have no voice of their own.
3 Challenging Injustice: Redemption
    Be aware of the suffering and injustice that we experience everyday in our work and daily life. Christ did not condemn organizations and structures, but He did demand that they fulfill the good purpose for which they were intended. We must confront and challenge dysfunctional policies, practices and values that dehumanize and harm people. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking for the grace to stand up and relieve the injustice and suffering we find in our daily work life when and where we can. We also must pray to God to bless and make whole the sufferings which we cannot change and which only God can redeem. When we see injustice or suffering in our workplace, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
• Am I causing or contributing to the injustice? Stop!
• Can I change the situation? Act!
• Is this a situation that I cannot change? Offer it to God and ask for His mercy.

By Michael W. Sullivan, SFO

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