Sunday, February 14, 2016


Recently, I listened to a podcast on work by Fr. Mike Schmitz:

In it, Fr. Mike cited some statistics about work within our country.

First, we will work over 90,000 hours in our lives.

Second, only about 10% of the workforce feel engaged by their work. About 60% are not engaged by work. The final 30% are not only not engaged but they are openly hostile toward their work. 

Third, Fr. Mike presented a Catholic, biblical theology of work and how we were made for labor. In order for this labor to be a gift from God, though, a few criteria must be met:

1. Our work is connected to a goal. 
2. Our work has a meaningful purpose. 
3. Our work involves some sort of creative autonomy.

In light of these three criteria, I considered whether or not our work environment at ICS meets those three requirements in order for work to be worthwhile. Furthermore,  I reflected on how many of us would fall into the top tier of the breakdown of how employees view their work. 

While I don't doubt the accuracy of the study, I would imagine it inherently difficult to isolate the factors contributing to our self-assessment of our view of work. In some cases, we may lower our appreciation of work because of factors outside of the atmosphere of the working environment. 

But, in reflecting on these aspects of Catholic, biblical work, I would argue that ICS meets all three. Our mission is in the forefront of all that we do - keep with our tradition, inspire disciples of Christ, challenge life-long learners, and strive to serve. Furthermore, our goals of educating, catechizing and evangelizing could not be more noble or simple. Finally, opportunities to create within our work - lesson plans, activities, assessments, after school activities, extracurricular events - abound. 

So, if we meet these criteria, why might we fall into either the 60% or 30% of people in America that are either unengaged or hostile toward their work? Part of what I feel may hold one back is an unwillingness and/or inability to articulate an answer to the WHY do they do what they do to themselves and to their coworkers. Additionally and similarly, we may become righteous and bitter in feeling that not everyone is ascribing to the same motivations, purposes, and opportunities. We can fall into the trap of allowing our human weaknesses and frailty to distract us from our goals, mission, and freedom to create. "I'm not appreciated", "No one notices how hard I work", "I'm the only one who cares" are feelings that create bitterness, resentment and despair. These, in turn, can lead to hostility. 

Figure out your why and your how will be filled with new energy, passion and conviction.  

We have the awesome opportunity at ICS to not only co-create with God through our ministries but to also co-redeem. 

Our work is sacred because our Creator is a Worker. When we work in the way that He does - with others, for others and autonomously - we, too, become sacred. 

Our work is holy because our Savior desires for us to bring ourselves, our students, our families and each other closer to Him. 

Our work is redemptive because our Redeemer is establishing His kingdom on earth because of what we do at ICS.

Be inspired. Be blessed. Be bold. Be Catholic.

Fight for joy and for your work.

The time is now. 

Let us begin.