The National Catholic Review
The Editors
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Over a lifetime, work is the single most energy- and time-consuming pursuit of most adults today, for both men and women. Work, whether paid or unpaid, is also a source of identity, community, creativity and meaning for many. The phrase meaningful work has been used to describe socially redemptive jobs like social work, church work and health care, as well as government, science and engineering jobs that attempt to solve social problems. But the term can be misleading. For honest work itself has meanings that go beyond the economic necessity to support oneself, one’s family and the local economy. Work develops and hones skills, builds character, frames time and sets up a public rhythm. Work challenges assumptions and faith.

How, exactly, does work intersect with faith? The particularities may depend on the work itself.

We have asked practicing Catholics across a variety of fields to describe briefly how they regard their faith and their work when they consider them together. What is the interplay between the two? In what ways has their faith influenced their work—perhaps strengthened certain decisions they have made, governed relationships with clients or co-workers, been instrumental in their very choice of what work to do, given them tenacity and hope, shaped their positive view of the work they do? Just as important is this twin consideration: In what ways has their work influenced their faith—perhaps caused them to understand some particular tennet, sparked certain questions or reflections, enabled them to see in their very own lives some contemporary application of biblical truths or ancient Christian wisdom?

In this, America’s annual vocation issue, we present the first in an occasional series of short pieces that will feature workers’ thoughtful reflections. We invite readers to tell us about their own experiences of faith and work.

"Broadcasting Faith," William F. Baker

"Business Plan," Kerry Robinson

"Character Driven," Peter A. Quinn

"Full Disclosure," Terrence Berg

"Faith Healing," Allan Woods

"All God's Children," Agnes Nixon

"A Matter of Faith," Thomas A. Cahill

"Late-Night Catechism," Mary Lynn Hendrickson

"Union Made," Clayton Sinyai

Comments

ANNE STRICHERZ | 8/5/2011 - 2:36pm
Thank you for the "big questions" this series raises and the lived example as told my several faithful and thoughtful Catholics. I am teaching a new course this fall called "Sports & Spirituality" for seniors in high school.  I believe many of the same questions could be asked in light of faith and athletics. Also, I would have enjoyed reading a profile from a professional athlete.  I wrote a response on my blog
http://sportsandspirituality.blogspot.com/2011/08/catholics-and-work-catholics-and-sports.html
SADIRI PADRE | 2/4/2011 - 5:33pm
Dear Editor

I am no longer young, but I still remember some moments of my college days at the Jesuit-run Ateneo De Manila University,  and with your editorial, I remember this book that we were assigned to read[ if my memory serves me right by Fr. O'hare, SJ]: Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. I have a vague recollection of what it said about work, but what I do remember from Weber is this: Protestants are richer than Catholics, because they work with 'faith.' My memory is gone but I would not be surprised if  you tell me Fr. O'hare thought Weber was cool.