Can Catholic business people survive out there in the modern world? Being Catholic in the business world is not an easy task. In truth, the setting is overflowing with enticements that can weaken and ultimately extinguish one’s faith. As a Catholic, I recognize that my existence is a gift from God. All of us are beneficiaries of the life of grace even if we do not deserve it. Instead of reciprocating in ways that would please the Giver, we falter under His watchful eyes.
Practice Makes Perfect
Our parish priest would repeatedly advise parishioners during the mass to practice the teachings of the church. He uses the word ‘practice’ instead of ‘live.’ Perhaps he’s being realistic. He’s suggesting that practice makes perfect. The minute we leave the church, our countenance changes.
The same thing happens when we are in the business or work environment. Most of the homily we heard during Sunday mass suddenly loses its meaning. The rules are different. Hence, a conflict between your faith and business practices develops.
In order to endure, you have to force yourself to play the game: how you play it often goes against the ethical principles the church advocates? There’s a tendency to lose sight of your moral standards. Misplaced devotion to worldly gains takes precedence over temporal duties. In effect, it’s disregarding our duties to God.
Obstacles to living the Catholic faith
I have to admit I am remiss too when it comes to applying my faith at work. As a female trying to survive in a male-dominated industry, the challenges are harder. There’s so much pressure to prove my worth. I needed to impress upon my superiors and peers that I am capable. And that I deserve the financial rewards for delivering results.
My ego sometimes gets into my head especially when I held a very high and sensitive position in the organization. You have power and influence over people and resources. I needed to be strong and be hard to my subordinates. People even feared my presence.
However, I came to the realization that my success is not purely on my own merits. There’s a greater spiritual power that is behind my accomplishments.
Use your God-given talent and practice Christian virtues
One thing I discovered in the course of my professional career is that my talent is God-given. When God endows you with talent, He wants you to use it the right way. That’s your tool for success and nothing else. There’s no need to set aside the concepts of your faith just to get ahead.
Regardless of the kind of work you do or business you operate, your talent will eventually be recognized. Also, integrating virtues at work or business will make you more effective. Focus on diligence, patience, humility, and kindness. Let these virtues govern your daily work. The fulfillment is unequaled and pleasing to the Almighty.
Evangelization in the business world
Generally, Catholics are not overly demonstrative to expose their faith in public. The workplace is also not the place where you convert people into the fold. I find it awkward when people use the workplace to openly evangelize.
Jesus Christ lost his temper when peddlers turned a place of worship into a marketplace. Inversely, using the workplace as the stage for religious conversion is not a pretty sight to behold. At least that’s from my point of view.
The best way to evangelize in the business setting is through your work. Your demeanor will reflect your Catholic orientation. You are certain to encounter people with different beliefs. I have no qualms dealing with people regardless of religious differences. For as long as my faith is firm, there’s nothing to worry about.
If you are able to inspire others through your work, then you’re sprinkling the atmosphere with blessings. It’s answering God’s call while glorifying Him at the same time.
There is no grey area
The business world is a place where temptations abound. Compromises are common that faith is sacrificed. Usually, the problem emanates where money or material gains are concerned. I admire those who have achieved success through talent and honest work. However, I dislike those who cut corners and bend the rules to advance their selfish agendas. You work for your success. Taking advantage of people’s weaknesses is not something to be proud of. There’s no real value when you achieve it at the expense of others.
In reality, money makes the business world flourish. Yet, it remains the root of all unsound business practices. Nonetheless, in keeping with the faith, there shouldn’t be any grey area. It’s only black or white, good or bad.
We rationalize and use it as an excuse to make a wrong seem right. It is difficult to reject an opportunity even if you know benefitting from it contradict your beliefs. A person without a link to God or has lost connection would not think twice.
I don’t want to feel shameful in the eyes of God as a consequence of my actions. Ask yourself, would you rather have peace of mind than grapple with a guilty conscience.
Praying for discernment and guidance
No one is exempt from the charms of the business world. I myself had a fair share of failures. I disappointed God on many occasions and overcame some. Consistency in practicing the faith was lacking. Every time I felt prepared to pass the test, a new situation arises. Then I realized I needed discernment.
What I’ve learned to cultivate is to seek discernment through prayers. In prayer, I am able to clear my mind of distractions. I seek His guidance in whatever situation. I needed protection. How can I glorify God when in every trial that comes, I fail?
Today, after years of struggle, I am more confident to meet the threats to my Catholic faith. The practices in the business world will never change. The tests of faith are ever present. What is important is to accept them as the realities of life. All I need to do is choose the high road. That is the only means to thank God for the giving me a life of grace.