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Q: The biggest spiritual challenge I regularly face in the work I do is:

Being accepting of people who have value systems different from mine, while standing up for my values.

Jan Luebbe Cincinnati, Ohio

Integrating my Christian principles into my work without using a "soapbox" or wearing a Catholic "badge" on my sleeve.

Ron Rader Lodi, Calif.

Not joining in the gossip or repeating the gossip told to me.

Ray Prouls Milford, Penn.

Working daily within a health-care system in the richest country on earth that still leaves 43 million of its fellow citizens without any health insurance.

Jim Bowman Raleigh, N.C.

Staying focused on serving the people entrusted to my care and not getting sidetracked by trivia, paperwork, and minutia.

Ruth F. Kremer Corona, Calif.

Becoming too "ego involved" doing my work for my own satisfaction and glory.

Name withheld North Arlington, N.J.

Accepting that I am where God wants me to be, and resisting the idea that maybe I should have chosen to do something different with my life.

Teresa Mottet Richland, Iowa

Being able to accept the limitations of others, including those workers who are completely inefficient in their jobs.

Name withheld Alexandria, Va.

Q: The wisest advice anybody ever gave me about work was:

That God is present in any work we do.

Barbara Partyka Chicago, Ill.

Give a fair day of work for a fair day's pay.

Name withheld Houston, Penn.

Do your best, but leave it in God's hands.

Dan Holland Rochester, N. Y.

Work is prayer.

Susan Holman Los Angeles, Calif.

Even the smallest act has meaning. Do it as well as possible.

Name withheld Hartford, Mich.

Q: The worst advice anybody ever gave me about work was:

Look out for yourself--no one else is going to.

Mary Jo Pfefferkorn Chaffee, Mo.

Do whatever you can to earn a buck. Or take a job you are unhappy with if it has good pay.

Robert Stockmeier Lovelock, Nev.

Don't bring your work home with you. Who can manage to shut down like that? My husband and I grow closer by discussing and sharing our work experiences.

Name withheld Burlington, N.C.

You have to give 110 percent.

Dave Kruemcke Stafford, Texas

Just do enough to get by. Nobody cares anyway.

Helen Ciesla Aberdeen, Md.

You'll never make it (when I started my business).

J.E. Dewane Valders, Wis.

Work is our punishment for original sin.

Annetiese Kovach Caldwell, N.J.

Q: One spirituality-of-work "discipline" I'd think about adding to Gregory F. Augustine Pierce's list would be:

The discipline of prioritizing. Don't sweat the small stuff. Save your energy for the things that really matter.

Paula Gonzalez Middleburg, Fla.

The discipline of forgiveness. We are not perfect nor are those around us. When others hurt us or ignore us we should forgive them and pray for them.

Name withheld Cleveland Heights, Ohio

The discipline of living out the gospel values. Too often what we do is distanced from our lives as Christians. Changing a diaper is an act of love and compassion. So is filling out forms.

Father Thomas A. Bishop Glenview, Ill.

The discipline of being gracious and respectful with our coworkers to undermine the politicking and pettiness that goes on.

Judy Meyer Marshfield, Wis.

The discipline of overlooking the molehills for the sake of the mountains. There is a strong tendency today to become obsessed with details, to micromanage, and not to delegate.

Father Mike Haney, O.F.M. West Monroe, La.

Find God in the chaos. God must be present in the midst of it all.

Therese Madden San Francisco, Calif.

The discipline of balance--between work and the other parts of my life.

Name withheld Brookfield, Wis.

The discipline of recognizing God's presence in each moment.

Father Norman Supancheck Newhall, Calif.

The discipline of stretching your mind. It is critical to always be open to learning new skills and to picking up more knowledge.

Name withheld Minneapolis, Minn.

The discipline of practicality. Laypeople have to realize that their lives are spiritual in a different way from those who are in convents, monasteries, and rectories.

Name withheld Springfield, Va.

Prayer. While Pierce would probably characterize prayer as "contemplative," prayer allows God to shape our viewpoint on work so that the supposed discontinuity between work and the rest of our lives disappears.

Wendel Hall Lansing, Mich.

Q: My favorite quote about work, career, or vocation is:

"Do what you love; love what you do."

Katherine Zauner Venice, Fla.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Bob Ulicki Cupertino, Calif.

"A man, he works from sun to sun. But a woman's work is never done."

Name withheld Vernon Hills, Ill.

"Work is love made visible."

Eileen D. Kennedy River Vale, N.J.

"You have a job to do in this world that only you can do."

Name withheld Findlay, Ohio

"No one ever wrote on their gravestone: `I wish I'd spent more time at work.'"

Dianne V'Marie Tucson, Ariz.

"Vocation is the place where our deep gladness and the world's great hunger meet."

Laurie Metzler Seabrook, Texas

"I am a human being, not a human doing."

Joanne Kiyoko Tohei Chicago, Ill.

"In whatever you do, do always your best."

Joseph Formica Piscataway, NJ.

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Name withheld O'Neill, Neb.

General Comments

I find Gregory Pierce's proposal fascinating--create a spirituality in the workplace, where most of us spend our time. It reminds me of a banner I saw in the '70s: "Life is what happens to you while you're making other plans."

Sheila Lacouture Randolph, N.J.

This article still poses work and contemplation as things in opposition. Contemplation prepares us to work, and those we encounter in our work provide seeds for contemplation.

Mary Hovenesian Worcester, Mass.

I've worked as a church musician most of my life. People often expect the church to be a spiritually rich environment in which to work, but too often one sees the same sort of pettiness, rivalries, and office politics found in other workplaces.

Barbara Klein Woodstock, Ill.

All the spirituality-of-work disciplines will come easily to those who use their private time to pray and meditate. Using "gimmicks" may help, but the true stresses of work can only be handled by someone who is deeply rooted in their faith and is able to incorporate that in their daily habits.

Sally Mosko Vernon Hills, Ill.

Pierce's article is a good one. A homilist whose life and career are centered around faith and spirituality is unfamiliar with the effort required to make a job in the secular world seem spiritual.

Linda Erickson Denver, Colo.

1. On the whole, I find my work:

11% Rewarding, but not
 necessarily spiritual

68% Both rewarding and

11% A pleasant-enough
 way to earn a living

 6% A necessary evil

 4% Other

2. If I had it to do all over
again, I would:

70% Pick the same line of

20% Pick another line of

10% Other

3. Contemplation and work:

 2% Don't fit together well
 at all.

64% Should each be a
 balanced presence in
 one's life.

31% Can and do, for me at
 least, happen at the
 same time.

 3% Other.

4. Too often people's weekday
work is downplayed or ignored
within the context of weekend

agree 68%

disagree 26%

other 6%

5. All work is holy.

agree 65%

disagree 15%

other 20%

All comments used in Feedback must be signed, but we withhold names on request. We regret that space limitations force us to condense letters and that many cannot be used at all Our thanks to all who wrote.

--The Editors3
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:opinions on a working life and religion
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Previous Article:Let's create a spirituality of work that works.
Next Article:Prayer to Thomas Merton.

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