Take God to Work with You
A Letter from Elizabeth Hoyle
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My dear sisters in Christ,
“Your witness shows through, you know. If I didn’t already know you were a believer, I would know it through how you act and how you go about your work.” I hadn’t been expecting these kind words. I had been listening to a woman, a regular at the library where I work, whose beloved cat had just died. I had given her a hug then she said those words to me. I didn’t know it then, but her remarks calmed a fear I didn’t realize I had been in the grip of for some time.
Though I know Catholics can and do all sorts of jobs, I somehow convinced myself there were about four ways people could truly live their faith in all aspects of their lives, including their work. They could become a nun or sister, a brother or priest, a speaker, or a teacher. My fear was that I wasn’t serving God and advancing his kingdom while working in a library, even though I love what I do. And I do try. I promise to pray for people, I try to be patient and positive, and I listen to patrons when they talk about their non-library related problems, to the point where I’ve gotten told not to on multiple occasions. I still struggle with this idea, though, that what I’m currently doing isn’t enough. That until I am pursuing a certain kind of work, I am not doing enough to live out the truths of Catholicism. That I am not enough to serve God. Oh, how lovely it is that his thoughts are not our thoughts.
While our culture definitely doesn’t make bringing God into our work a simple thing, as Catholics, it can be difficult to realize that we can show our love for and to God in our work, whatever work that might be. It’s unfortunately easy to believe that there are only a few certain ways to be holy and to live in and to share the love God has for us. Most of the saints, especially the ladies, lived a specific kind of lifestyle and it is easy to take that lifestyle as a rule. But that’s not what God wants for us and that’s not what he designed us for. There is no one way to work for God’s kingdom, no one path to the holiness he desires for each one of us. There are as many ways of loving and serving him as there are people in the world.
"There is no one way to work for God’s kingdom, no one path to the holiness he desires for each one of us. There are as many ways of loving and serving him as there are people in the world."
So, my dear sisters, whether you have no degree or have the highest level of education, whether you have an office job, pursue a trade, or aren’t currently employed, I urge you to take God to work with you. Your career is not the source of holiness, it is a means by which you can become holy and I pray that you both see and live it as such. Even if doing so earns you mockery and grief, or even if it earns you the respect of everyone around you, or even if no one notices at all. Ultimately, living your faith in your work is not about what your coworkers or customers or supervisors say about you. It’s about when you enter the pearly gates and your Beloved One says “Well done, my good and faithful servant…enter the joy of your master” (Mt. 25:21).
God will prosper the work of your hands and your hearts. He knows how much you love him and how hard you try for him. Be not afraid.
Lots of love,
Get to know Elizabeth
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi there! My name is Elizabeth. I’m a single 24 year-old living in the wild, wonderful mountains of West Virginia. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English and theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. I work as a reference clerk at my local library. I’m also a writer, freelance photographer, and publication designer. It occurs to me now that I wear a lot of hats, career-wise. My Myers-Briggs type is INFJ but I could happily talk anyone’s ear off about theology, writing, dogs, ice skating, history, or books. My favorite film is David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, which I could also go on and on about. I have a silly tendency to both makeup words and burst into random song when I’m talking with my friends. Thank goodness they’re used to it and always sing along.