Evangelization in the Work PlaceFATHER C. JOHN MCCLOSKEY, III
The very title of this column may scare you off, but bear with me and you may find the topic less daunting than you fear.
Work is a good in itself — and not simply (though importantly) a means of making money to support a family. St. John Paul II wrote in 1981: "Man was called to work even before original sin. Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received by the Creator to subdue. To dominate the earth. . .in other words man's work is in some way a part in God's creative power!"
We then are co-creators. This is both a privilege and a serious duty. The pope also discusses human work as a way of growing in holiness that prepares us for eternal happiness. After all, Our Lord constantly refers to workers in his preaching, and his greatest apostle was Paul, a tentmaker. You can be sure that St. Paul united his work with prayer so that it would not only contribute to earthly progress, but also extend the Kingdom of God.
This brings us to the second part of God's plan for work that was highlighted by St. John Paul II in his encyclical on work, Laborem Exercens: that work becomes a place and means of sharing one's faith not only by example, but also by words based on developing friendship in the context of the workplace.
Now our current pope (and Time magazine Man of the Year) Pope Francis has stressed from the opening days of his pontificate the importance of personal one-to-one, no-holds-barred, 24/7 evangelization, modeling in his own interactions with others how we as Christians should always be ready, as our first pope St. Peter put it, "to give an account of the hope that is in you."
Today, as the Church seeks to experience a profound missionary renewal there is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to the people we meet, whether they are our neighbors or complete strangers. This is the informal preaching that takes place in the middle of a conversation, something like what a missionary does when visiting a home. Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others and this can happen unexpectedly anyplace: on the street in a city, or during work or in a city square or on a journey.
What are you going to do with them as you encounter them throughout the day?
Here are some ideas of how to be a bearer of Christ to them:
And in addition, pray for and imitate our pope, cultivate crazy love for the Lord as he does, share that love with your fellow workers, and God will reap a harvest of souls through you.<
Father C. John McCloskey, III. "Evangelization in the Work Place." The Catholic Thing (May 16, 2014).
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THE AUTHORFather C. John McCloskey, III is a Catholic priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei and member of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. He is currently a Church historian and research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute. Father McCloskey is the former director of the Catholic Information Center of the Archdiocese of Washington. He worked on Wall Street — Citibank and Merrill Lynch — for some years before becoming a priest, being ordained in 1981 by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray.
Fr. McCloskey is perhaps best known for having helped many people convert to Catholicism, including Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Lawrence Kudlow, and Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a prominent pro-life activist who was converted from being a Pro-choice NARAL founder in his earlier years as a doctor, where he performed thousands of abortions.
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