Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker:

St. Joseph

St. Joseph

Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.

Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing
towards all.

Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.

When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.

(Note: This prayer was taken from the booklet “Devotions to Saint Joseph” by Brian Moore, S.J., printed and published by the Society of St. Paul.)

The prayer mentions taking “pride” in our work. Pride, in this sense, does not mean something bad. Instead of referring to the capital sin of pride, which means giving glory to ourselves when the credit is due to God, the word “pride” in this use means the feeling of joyful accomplishment and satisfaction that we can legitimately experience in a job well done. It is this sense of pride that we experience when we see our children growing up healthy and holy and beautiful — the way a parent feels, for example, when a son or daughter graduates from college.

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that it is wrong to be pleased with themselves when they accomplish something good. Of course all thanks should go to God, who has made us capable of accomplishing good things. But God has made us good. If we pretend that we are not capable of doing anything good, we do God an injustice and commit the sin of ingratitude.

When someone praises us, do we say, “Oh, it was really nothing. I didn’t really do anything that great.” If that is our response, we may be guilty of a false humility that smacks more of pride than anything else, really.

A better response would be: “Thank you! I’m so glad it worked out well!” etc.

Humility does not necessarily mean seeing ourselves as sinful, miserable creatures. Humility means acknowledging the truth about ourselves: we can do and be nothing without God. But we are NOT without God! And so we can accomplish great things! Therefore, true humility demands gratitude.

Bad pride is when we thank ONLY ourselves for the good we accomplish.

Posted by: Laura Berry | July 15, 2010

Working Moms

A couple years ago, ABC’s “Good Morning America” program set out to explore the question, “Are stay-at-home moms a threat to civilization?” The program contended that women who stay home to take care of children are tying themselves down to a life no educated or competent person should desire. This program is typical, sadly, of a widespread attitude today. Many feminists quite seriously deny that motherhood could ever be worthwhile, especially not with so many “higher careers” available outside the home.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, what career could be better than parenthood?

Even the noblest of careers, like being a priest or a doctor or a missionary or any kind of HERO you can think of … what is more fulfilling and more joyous than being a parent?

I consider myself a feminist. Following in the tradition of Susan B. Anthony, I am pro-life and pro-woman. I believe in a woman’s right to vote. That is important. But women’s true rights in no way conflict with the even more important right of a person to live. I am a Feminist for Life, and proud of it.

As a feminist, I agree that if a woman wants to work, she should be able to, by all means. No career should be barred to anyone because of gender discrimination. So please don’t get the wrong idea and think I’m saying that all women should cook, clean and have babies and that that’s all we’re made for. That’s certainly not true.

What I AM saying is that being a mother is nothing to scoff at. And if women are lucky enough to have the economic freedom to stay home with their children instead of working, ah then! That is quite beautiful indeed. The children will benefit from the loving attention of their mother and the mother will, I hope, delight in the company of her children (stressful as it undoubtedly is at times).

Many paths exist in life that are good and fulfilling and worthy uses of our time, energy and skills. But what could be better than parenthood?

Cardinal Mindszenty, a Hungarian hero who suffered a living martyrdom at the hands of the communists, put it quite beautifully. He wrote:

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral — a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body … The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to heaven. Only a human mother can.  Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation … What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?”

Of course, not everyone is blessed with a financial situation that makes it possible for mom — or dad — to stay home with the kids instead of working. My cousins grew up staying with Gramma and Grampa from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every week day because both of their parents had to work. But the family was lucky that the grandparents lived so nearby that they didn’t have to pay for a babysitter or daycare service! Sometimes one spouse works days, and the other works all night, but that must be so difficult!

I heard about a family where the husband worked full-time and the wife got little jobs on the side, like freelance writing for a magazine and hosting Pampered Chef parties. The husband paid most of the bills, but the wife paid for all the groceries!

Our society and economy make it necessary for both spouses to work most of the time, because too many of our companies do not pay their employees a FAMILY LIVING WAGE, as set out in Catholic social teaching.

I don’t know about you, but working 37.5 hours a week to write newspaper articles that I know are going to end up in the dog’s crate or the bird cage or just out in the recycling pile a week later is NOT as fulfilling as being a parent …

Posted by: Laura Berry | July 11, 2010

The Evil of Pornography

In my workplace, I hear numerous inappropriate jokes nearly every day. This is quite frustrating, of course, and makes it difficult to work where I’m working. The other day, two men who work in my office were “joking” (it doesn’t seem write to use that word for a topic so devoid of any real humor) about pornography.

Porn is an epidemic, and a terrible addiction.

I respect and admire one of my best friends so much, because even though he was addicted to porn when he was a teenager, he broke free of it, conquered his addiction and is living a chaste life now. Hats off to him and other men and women who have broken the chains!

Click to read an interesting article by our friends at Salvo Magazine:

“SLAVE MASTER: How pornography drugs and changes your brain”

SLAVE MASTER, cover article of Salvo issue 13

SLAVE MASTER, cover article of Salvo issue 13


Does being charitable mean never saying anything unpleasant to anybody? Many people think so. I don’t. Many times in the Gospel, Jesus Christ tells people what they need to hear, even if it makes His hearers feel extremely uncomfortable.

This post is from Salvo Blog and is the property of its authors.

Salvo Magazine

Some recent covers of Salvo Magazine

by Julie Grisolano

Over the course of the past few months, the Signs of the Times blog has featured numerous comments from readers and writers debating the point as to how far is too far in calling out the bad philosophies, the atrocious lies, and unruly behavior of our fellow citizens.   While some readers love the fake ads in the magazine that poke fun at some of the ridiculous ideas permeating our culture, others have found that they cross the line into the realm of being “uncharitable.”  Does the idea of  “Christian/brotherly love” mean never having to say someone else is wrong?  Since someone here passed me the conch, I’m going to weigh in.

Charity or Christian love, or whatever you choose to call it, doesn’t mean that one has to turn a blind eye to what I will refer to here as immoral behavior.  There’s a saying that goes something like, “Love the sinner, not the sin.”  This phrase gets twisted and misused quite a lot.   A few years ago I remember a friend telling me that she attended a rally in Chicago defending traditional marriage, and opposing protesters shouted at her screaming, “but the Bible says, ‘Judge Not Lest You be Judged.’”

Yep, the Bible says that.  In fact, Christ said it.  But as any good English major knows, you’ve got to read the whole paragraph and contextualize the phrase in order to understand the full meaning of what the author intended.  And the lines following say, “You’re sins are forgiven.  Go out and sin no more.”

When non-Christians, or Christians, bandy about Christian doctrine to defend their immoral behavior, they usually revert to the line above and also the concept of Christian love.  This usually means that people want to take Christ’s words, and use them as a blank check to get away with bad behavior, because, well, God loves them no matter what, so therefore anything goes.

People reading this blog come from various faith traditions.  Some come from no traditions at all, so I can’t speak for everyone, but my understanding of mere Christianity is that yes, Christ loves everyone, and yes, we all sin and we all fall short, but He continues to love us anyway—even though we don’t really deserve it and we sometimes choose not to love Him back.  But like most parents, He doesn’t always like what we do, nor does He think that our choices are the best ones, or, since I’ve been speaking about morality here, He doesn’t think our choices are the “right” ones.  How do I know this?  Well, we have a book that Christians base their faith off, and although there are numerous interpretations, it’s pretty clear about certain things.  Like in the phrase mentioned in the paragraph above.  Christ admonishes people from judging the sinner, but then He turns to the sinner, tells her He forgives the fact that she sinned, but likewise, admonishes HER by telling her not to do it again.   It’s sort of like a  parent who steps in when the siblings are arguing, breaks it up, tells the victimized sibling that all will be ok, but boy kid, don’t purposefully go out and do stuff like that anymore.

Although some of Salvo‘s critics like to call us a Christian rag, we don’t proselytize.  (It would be fairly difficult to do since our writers come from a myriad of Christian traditions.)  But we do believe that there is an ultimate truth—an absolute Truth.  And this truth can be found.

So if we believe that, and believe that there is a right and wrong, then it’s really a duty to call out the wrong and point people to the right.  If we didn’t, then we’d be cowards.

There’s a great line in Emma, a Jane Austen book, that I think applies to situations like this.  The main character, Emma, has denigrated an old lady friend who is a silly, poor, spinster—to their entire party of picnic revelers.  Emma did wrong and her best friend and neighbor, Mr. Knightley, pulls her aside and chastises her:

This is not pleasant to you, Emma–and it is very far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,–I will tell you truths while I can; satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful counsel…

Real friendship…real love, means you point people to the truth—you don’t let them wander around in the darkness.  And sometimes you do it with a little humor too.

______________________________________________________________________________________

But it is difficult to tell people what they need to hear without being prideful. How do we maintain a balance between fraternal correction and being judgmental?

Posted by: Laura Berry | July 9, 2010

Encouragement from a co-worker

Today one of the other reporters in my newsroom told me that I should consider submitting one of the articles I’m working on to a journalism contest this year! He said it had a chance of winning an award for pieces of journalism that have benefited the community!

His comments came as quite a surprise to me, and made me feel better…

Tell me about a time an employer or co-worker encouraged you, or you encouraged a co-worker!

Posted by: Laura Berry | July 4, 2010

Need a job?

Everyone is looking for work, these days.

Looking for a Catholic job? Try this website:

http://www.catholicjobs.com/

If, like me, you want to work in the media, a great place to find job openings is:

http://www.journalismjobs.com/

Posted by: Laura Berry | July 4, 2010

Welcome

I’m beginning my fourth week of working full-time in the media.  In the newsroom where I work, I hear inappropriate jokes and lots of cynicism every day. I’m not the only Catholic working in the office, though — a woman around my age is also Catholic and I’ve seen a rosary on the desk of one of the older ladies who works across the room. But the majority of the people around me are probably not practicing any religion.

Two weeks ago, I was working on an article that involved a Catholic parish. My editor told me: “They probably won’t want to tell you anything. Catholics are very secretive.” I just smiled and thanked him for the advice. People have many misperceptions about us.

On my second day of work, one of the other reporters asked me what my religion was. I told her that I was Roman Catholic, and she said “Oh, that’s unusual!” I just laughed. I’m not ashamed of my beliefs and I’ll stand up for them anytime.

But it can be difficult to keep a positive attitude when everyone around me is sarcastic, bitter, and cynical. I’m sure my work environment is not unique to the media.

This blog is for working Catholics to encourage each other, seek and give advice, share humorous anecdotes, and keep our chins up!

Anyone who shares our Judeo-Christian tradition is welcome to participate.

If you have questions about the Catholic faith, please visit the Catholic Answers forum.

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