How to be Catholic in the Cubicle

t1larg.cubicleThe following is a guest post by Bob Waruszewski. It is the first in a series on sanctifying our work.

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)

19 Responses to “How to be Catholic in the Cubicle”

  1. Indeed, St Francis de Sales frequently pointed out that holiness is possible in whatever state of life to which God calls us. God bless!

  2. Actually I have the divine office app on my iPad – you can listen to the liturgy of the hours while you work, if your workplace allows you to wear headphones. You can also download the divine office reading via podcast. I am known as that crazy convert catholic at work because I have, a crucifix, an icon of Mary, a Saint day calendar, and a few prayer cards hanging on my cube walls. Why not, I figure when I feel like my job is meaningless I look to those saints and prayers to help me make it through the day.

    • chiphilton88 Reply

      That is a good tip Joshua, surround the cube with reminders of our faith.

  3. Lizbeth Reply

    At work I’m known as the catholic receptionist. I love this article! It reaffirms what I try to do each day. Plus I was able to send all my children thru catholic schools with what I brought home.

  4. If I could recommend Alexandre Havard’s book, Virtuous Leadership.

  5. When I enter into meetings that I know are going to be stressful and that there will be focus on what I say and do, I take a short moment before the meeting to ask God to guide my thoughts and words and then when I am asked questions or asked to make a comment, I take a short breath and at the same time say to myself, God guide me. It Really works!!!

  6. Thanks for writing this, it is always good to be reminded that we can take really anything and turn it into good. In this respect, I’ve really appreciated St. Josémaria Escriva’s model for Opus Dei, ‘as a way of sanctification of daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian’s ordinary duties’ as well as St. Therese Lisieux and her ‘Little Way’.

  7. In my cubicle, instead of hanging a standard office calendar on the wall, I hang the parish calendar we get in church every year. So I have beautiful Catholic art to look at each day, and so do others who walk into my cube. Nothing to say, it’s just there!!

  8. My job is on a mesa near a freeway that is down below in a canyon near an adjacent building. I made a primitive prayer path going part of the way down the hill and made a small cross from some wood that was once used for a real estate sign on top of the hill along with a 4×4 used to rest my elbows in front of the cross and a 2×4 to kneel on. The noise from the freeway downs out the sound of my prayers, reciting the rosary, or the hours for anyone who might be on top of the hill and while being semi-secluded from the top although I am visible to the divers below if they bother to look up. I always walked past this area a few times a day just to get out of the office building for a quick stretch, but now I thoroughly enjoy my walks much more and combined with working in a separate enclosed part of the office where I can play various Christian music and Gregorian Chants on my laptop, I feel my spiritual life really starting to blossom and my endless worries starting to go away about the merger that has just happened. The only problem is that after doing this I am now even more jealous of people who choose to be actual monks at times, but I know God called me to adopt two Chinese kids and move here to send them to trilingual school a few years ago (especialy after my daugher found a 50 peso Mexican gold coin right after deciding to move), and have my family serve the poorest of the poor across right across the border on weekends sometimes, as my life mission. A coworker invited me to the Good Life retreat about a month ago and I now need prayer as to how to introduce my family to the Catholic church after attending an independent mega-church that has gone off the deep end.

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