Working with a higher purpose

The average person spends a third of their day at work. So, how can we turn this time into an opportunity for spiritual transformation, so that we can achieve the fullness of life that we are all called to.

A Catholic view on work is not a reality to which there is no other choice or simply a means to acquire wealth and comfort - instead, the Catholic view is that work is an integral part of what it means to be human.

According to the Catholic view, work allows us an opportunity to participate in the creativity of God. In a general audience in 2013 Pope Francis said, work "is a fundamental element for the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, 'anoints' us with dignity, fills us with dignity; it makes us like God, who worked and still works, who always acts (John 5:17)."

Work transforms us as individuals through the growth of skills and virtues by which we come closer to reaching our full potential. While we all work to sustain a lifestyle, the Catholic view is that work also provides us with the opportunity to support those around us. Through the skills and finances, we accrue, we can better live out Jesus’ call to love our neighbour.

Work is a means through which we can transform society, through our contribution to the production and delivery of the goods and services of our organisation, we can have a powerful positive impact on the world.

However, the question remains: how do we turn our often mundane and administrative tasks into real spiritual transformation?

This process of spiritual transformation begins with a very simple reframing of our daily duties as more than just tasks to complete, but into opportunities to encounter Jesus and to work for and with Him. This isn’t achieved by simply praying words as we work, although it might be helpful to spend a few moments before we begin our workday recalling our goal. Rather, we should aim to do our tasks out of love of God and a desire to serve others.

If our work is done for both God and others, it inspires us to give our best in each of our tasks, and in carrying them out from a position of love, we become more like Jesus, who gave His entire life for love of others. When we do something out of love, we want to do it well. We want to put our hearts into it.

This may seem simple, but the challenges comes when we are not just doing one task with this mindset but every task with this mindset, until it becomes second nature.

This is a way that we can begin to experience a spiritual transformation through our daily tasks.

A spiritual reflection from Campus Pastoral Associate (students) Jake Santitto, Melbourne campus.

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