A few weeks ago, I was reading an excerpt about how a man chose to serve as a missionary on a college campus following graduation. He said that he decided to become a missionary because he wanted to something meaningful with his life and not just push papers in an office. As an office worker his story struck a chord with me and I began to wonder, Can you only be holy if you work for the Church? Are those who work in an office destined to live a life of mediocrity without meaning?
Upon further reflection, I realized that the various saints show us that holiness is possible in every state of life, even at the office cubicle. Maybe one day we will even have a patron saint for office workers. Yet until an office worker is canonized, I have offered a few suggestions in living out your faith at work.
Schedule Brief Times for Prayer at Work – I like to start my day with a prayer to St. Joseph, patron saint of workers. This helps me focus for the day and reminds me that my work should bring me closer to Christ. Other ways to pray could include saying the Angelus, grace before lunch, spiritual reading during lunch or a prayer of thanksgiving at the end of the day. While an office worker is not a monk, and should not attempt to pray the whole Liturgy of the Hours during work, we should aside a few moments each day to communicate with God as we go about our work.
Offer Up the Annoyances of Cube Life for the Souls in Purgatory – Cube life has little privacy. The habits of our co-workers such as loud talking on the phone, barging into your cubicle without permission, or crinkling open a bag of chips can be rather annoying. However, whatever irritations you encounter, treat them as opportunities to grow in patience and offer them up to Christ for the souls in purgatory who are suffering much greater than any irritations at the office.
Contribute Financially to the Needs of the Church – If God has blessed you with a well-paying job, then one of the easiest ways to serve Him is to support the different ministries of the Church. Maybe you can’t do a year of service in Jamaica or work full-time at the soup kitchen because of your office job, but you can support full-time missionaries and religious of the Church. By financially supporting charities and religious, our work can take on a new dimension. Not only are we providing for our needs and those of our family, but also for the needs of the Church at home and abroad. Even if our work does not always appear to be meaningful, we can take solace in the fact that a part of our labor is sponsoring people serve the needs of Christ around the world.
These three ideas only scratch the surface of ways to grow closer to Christ through our work. As we approach Lent, consider new ways to become holy, especially at the office. Remember that in our work, “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others” (Colossians 3:23)