How to live your Catholic faith in a secular career

Working in the secular environment as a faithful Catholic can be hard. Sometimes it can feel as though you turn on your laptop in the morning and log off in the evening and you haven’t gotten to bring your faith into your day. I’ve had moments where it feels as though I have a secret part of my life that no one at work knows about, even though it is the biggest piece of who I am. Working remotely seems to only exacerbate the problem, as it’s hard enough to bring your full self to work, let alone when you’re not even there in person.

Maybe you feel like the only way to bring your faith to work is to not work in a secular workplace. While working in any type of Christian organization or ministry would be the surest way to combine your faith and career, God may be calling you to minister to others in unexpected ways, right where you are. Maybe you are being called to work this job for a purpose you can’t see yet. Maybe you are waiting for the right job to open, waiting for the economy to be stable enough for a career change, or perhaps this job is really just paying the bills right now. Or perhaps you enjoy your work and feel called to it, but some days it is still missing that deeper, faith-based meaning.

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No matter where your career has led you, take a look at the ideas below for how to find those hidden opportunities to truly live your faith at work.

1. Make time for your faith

It is not always possible, but making time for an extra Mass or some time in adoration has helped me deepen my prayer life and break up the long work week. Spending extra time with God during the week helps remind me that whatever he is doing in my career and my life, even if I can’t fully understand it, I can trust him.

If you can’t get to a church, practice saying the Rosary in the morning, or listen to a Father Mike Schmitz homily on your commute. Honestly, even spending a few quiet moments in prayer with the Lord at some point in your day can be the most powerful way to refocus your soul and to bring your Catholic faith back into your busy work day.

2. If your company has a faith group, join it!

This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to make excuses, such as, “I don’t know anyone,” or “What if I’m the only Catholic?” Even if it is a wider Christian group and you do happen to be the only Catholic, odds are the people you meet and conversations you will have will be uplifting and can lead to Christ-centered friendships.

I recently joined the Christian group through my company and have met some great people who share a love for the Lord and who I likely never would have encountered in my daily job. I’m even getting the opportunity to mentor a Baptist woman a few years younger than me who is on fire for her love for the Lord. We meet every few weeks to discuss a book we are reading together and to support each other. Through this larger Christian group, I eventually learned there was a recurring Rosary call. Just a few months ago, I was able to help lead over 50 people all over the country praying the Rosary on a Microsoft Teams call. What I would have missed if I had not taken that first step!

3. Offer your work to God, especially the seemingly meaningless and mundane

Where are my PowerPoint people at? Sometimes we can work so long and hard at formatting presentations, cleaning Excel data and running from meeting to meeting that it all just feels pointless. And so boring. But there is a purpose in it all, whether to teach us patience or discipline, or to prepare us for the next step in our career that God hasn’t even revealed to us yet. These “insignificant” works can be offered to God just as they are. He can take our small sufferings and displeasures and bring real good out of them.

4. Don’t be afraid to let your faith come up naturally in conversation

The more you build relationships and trust with others, the easier it can be to share those personal aspects of your life, like your faith. Some natural ways to let the subject of faith come up are by wearing a favorite cross or Miraculous Medal necklace or by having a cross or small religious picture in view of your Zoom background. Maybe it is a small statue of Mary by your bedside table. My go-to is when someone asks me the inevitable Friday small talk question “What are you up to this weekend?,” I’ll reply with whatever plans I have and then mention I have Church on Sunday. Sometimes they just continue the conversation, but occasionally someone has asked me more about it.

A friend of mine gave me her coffee mug that I have slowly gotten the courage to use while working from home. It says “Jesus and caffeine because adulting is hard.” I will say, I was a little embarrassed when the partner at my consulting firm stopped me in the middle of a meeting to ask what my mug said. But later I found out my manager on the call, who I had a two-year-long relationship with, was also a Christian, because she messaged me to say she liked my mug. All joking aside, you never know where these interactions could lead!

All that’s left is for you to try out some of these strategies or come up with your own to bring your faith to work. As an encouraging last word, remember Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

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