Next month begins the start of our Catholic Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI is launching this initiative to inspire us to share our Catholic Faith with others and to personally grow closer to God.
Now, my wonderful Catholic Mothers who are Working Outside the Home in a secular job, this post is especially for you. I have been thinking today about how our jobs provide us with a very special challenge and an opportunity to be a Catholic presence and a blessing to our co-workers who we encounter on a daily basis. Not to exclude mom's working in Catholic bookstores, Catholic schools, Churches, or other Catholic institutions, or mom's staying at home and taking care of your children, in fact, I wish I could trade places with you. However, I'm talking about evangelizing today! For me it seems easier to show off your Catholicism when you are sitting in circle time surrounded by the women in your Catholic Mom's prayer group, meeting the other good Holy Catholic Mothers in your Catholic homeschooling co-op group, or hanging out with your 100% supportive and fully practicing Catholic family. Yet some of us are single moms. Some of us are married to non-Catholics. Some of us have teenagers or other family members that may have decided long ago that the Catholic Church is not worth their time. And then some of us just spend the majority of our day surrounded by non believers just trying to survive the daily grind of life. People who are obsessed with their new I-Phones, the stock market, who is going to win the Big Game this weekend, what Lady Gaga is wearing today, and who is performing on Dancing With the Stars this season. When your daily peer group is not religious, there is always a little bit of discomfort with religion. I can tell you personally that I don't like to draw attention to myself. I want to sit quietly alone and do my thing. I do not want to make others uncomfortable, and I definitely do not want to be singled out as some kind of judgemental Holy Roller. However, it is growing more and more evident that at some point you need to foster your courage and convictions and just be who you are. I am getting better at this, but have a lot of work to do. I pray to the Holy Spirit for help with this.
Here are some small steps I have taken to be a positive Catholic influence in my workplace. Maybe this will encourage you in some way at your job. Or better yet, perhaps you can give me some additional ideas and inspiration.
Please share your thoughts!
Here are a few ways that I quietly evangelize and share my faith while at work:
1) I have worn a miraculous medal of Our Lady that I had blessed by a priest almost everyday for the last several years. (The chain it was on recently broke from wear... I really need to get a replacement.)
2) I put a pro-life bumper sticker on my car. "Children are a Gift from God." (And the 3 carseats crammed in there, and the tons of toys and religious books and rosaries scattered around I am sure make an impression.) Hundreds of people in the parking lot see this every day. Who knows what they are thinking? I am going to donate some $ to 2 local Catholic radio stations next and get some of their stickers on my car soon.
3) I finally got the guts to put up a Holy Card of St. Gianna Molla on my cube wall. (What an awesome pro-life, working-Mother, modern day Saint! St. Gianna, pray for us!)
4) I make the sign of the cross and say grace before all my meals at work and home. (Have you ever had to do this in front of your executive VPs at a business lunch meeting? It's a little uncomfortable.)
5) This goes without saying, but as a Working Catholic Mom, don't be a near occasion of sin for your fellow male co-workers. It's great to look feminine, but don't dress slutty. I only wear pants or long skirts these days.
6) Don't gossip.
7) Don't use bad language, swear, or step into inappropriate yet interesting conversations. (This can be challenging, and is a reminder to myself to be stronger in these areas!)
8) I don't hide the fact that I do not eat meat on Fridays. Just today, my boss was asking for lunch recommendations for our team meeting for tomorrow. I asked her to order a "non-meat" pizza via email. She responded and asked if I was a vegetarian or if I just preferred my pizza meatless. I said, "I just don't eat meat on Fridays." (If she mentions it further, I think I'll explain that I do this as a religious observance, "Like Lent, but all year around." or something to that effect.)
9) I try to go to Mass during lunch when I am really stressed out. It's a really great thing to do when I get a chance to actually do it.
10) When someone shares something about a family member or friend in trouble or having health issues, I let them know, "I'll keep them in my prayers" (and then I actually do it, and try to remember their name and inquire about the individual later). I have been thinking about carrying around a little "prayer notebook" to keep track of names of random people. So many people need prayers for so many reasons.
So, how do you bring your Catholic presence to your work? What areas can you push yourself to do more of to bring in the Year of Faith?
Have a great day and thanks for visiting!