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How Much Is Too Religious at Work?

By Jesse Sebastian Jones

“Contrary to popular belief, those who work for the church often have the same average day of work that many of you have, without prayer at every break and daily vespers together keeping us from the phones.”

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Picture this- you’re walking through the office first thing on a Monday morning, and suddenly, you smell a strong fragrance. You walk down the hall to find out what it is, only to find your coworker Helen with incense burning, on her knees, Gregorian chants blazing from her iPhone, loudly praying the Rosary in Latin, arms outstretched in a penitential stance. Don’t worry, Helens shift hasn’t started yet so this is totally fine, right?

Okay, maybe my Monday morning is a little more extreme than yours, after all I’m a Youth Minister working for the Church, this kind of thing happens all the time… except it doesn’t. Contrary to popular belief, those who work for the church often have the same average day of work that many of you have, without prayer at every break and daily vespers together keeping us from the phones. So how do we keep the day holy and “Sanctify our Work” without being “too Religious”?

Religiousness and Faithfulness

First, we need to understand what it means to be religious. The word “Religious” finds its origin from the Latin “religious”, from religio, which means reverence, or obligation. In a sense, our religious nature is more about how we practice and revere teachings, ceremony, and tradition than the way we live our daily lives. “Faith” on the other hand going back to Latin, fidēs -trust, guarantee, proof, sincerity, loyalty, or belief. Faith characterizes the way in which we show our sincere loyalty and belief in God in all things. As such, in our daily life, we are not called so much to be “religious” as we are called to be “faithful,” this means the way we adhere to a Christ-like life.

Should I Not Show my Religion to Others?

Of course not! Our religion is a thing of beauty, purpose, and history that should be preserved and shared with others. However, it is a matter of discernment and prudence -the ability to know the time and place to share that beauty. Maybe it's not a great idea to interrupt an executive meeting with an associate to do your three o’clock prayer on your knees, but certainly it is important to say grace before meals. Covering every side of your cubicle with crucifixes and statues of the saints may not be the best display of your devotion, but surely a small space reserved for your prayer and adorned for the Lord is important. Our religion is much like our own God-given talents; meant to be shared when needed, but not paraded around without care.

“Our religion is a thing of beauty, purpose, and history that should be preserved and shared with others. However, it is a matter of discernment and prudence -the ability to know the time and place to share that beauty.”

How Can I Be “Christ-Like” at Work?

Simple, act as He did. Be charitable and patient, listen genuinely to others, and do all that you must do with great love and prayer. It is not a matter of saying a rosary before each meeting or task, but speaking to God as if He too, were on that bluetooth headset, ready to talk about whatever you need to talk about. Speaking to Him in simple terms throughout the day, asking that He make each decision fruitful and every response to a client patient and kind.

So do not be disheartened, instead, continue to go to the chapel in times of need and worship in times of joy; hold your rosary firmly and your scapular tucked under your shirt. Do not let your faith stop there, but may all your work reflect the call of Christ,

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another (John 13:35).

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