Since I finished my formal professional training at the age of 21 I have worked, and have loved working in an office. It's something I have done full-time for almost 30 years, working as a PA to a variety of successful executives in both the public and private sector. At 50, I retired, only to start all over again studying charity management, and doing office work on a part-time basis so as to have enough spare time to devote to voluntary work, my home and family.
Secretarial skills run in my blood and I love being in the office environment, typing, taking shorthand, organizing, planning, communicating, TIDYING!, making other people's work go smoothly whether you are assisting a Managing Director, switchboard operator or cleaner. I very much enjoy working in an ordered environment and it helps me to work efficiently.
However, where does Our Lord come into all this?
Throughout my career, I really believe that God has put me in the places where he wanted me to be. This is something I believe very strongly and feel that I can find Him at work, and that in the working environment he is calling me to help my work colleagues to find Him.
Every day I pray for my colleagues at work as I pray for my family, because in a way, for many hours a week, they are my family – I talk to them, eat with them, discuss and argue with them. At times, I tell some of them off, but mainly listen to them.
One prayer I find which really helps to provide opportunities to begin a conversation about God and spiritual realities is praying to a colleague's Guardian Angel each day. I find that most people really want to speak about God but are afraid to. They fear that I and their peers will label them as religious maniacs if they do open us in this way. These days you only have to admit going to Mass every Sunday to be labelled as ‘religious'.
I've found that the Golden Rule is to treat each person as an individual. First and foremost you need to be a friend to them. They need you to love them as friends really and truly. I've found that by starting at the level of true friendship, along the way, opportunities arise where you can open up and discuss spiritual stuff without fear of you mocking them, or they you. However, for this to happen, you have, at times to be willing to take risks, like mentioning that you went to confession last month. I find that most people are very interested in that, but you do get the odd “mockers”.
In my working life, I try to make use of any opportunity the Holy Spirit sends my way to share my faith. For example, if a girl I know (whom I also know to be a Catholic), tells me that she is living with her boyfriend I can not say “Tut tut”, but I can simply ask her, “Oh, and how does that sit with your faith?”. This way, you have already put the conversation on an important level, with room for discussion and dialogue.
Only two days ago at a work party, over drinks, a girl I was introduced to told me that she and her fiancé were getting married next July and “AS NEITHER OF US BELIEVE ANYTHING”, this wedding was going to be in the Registry Office. “Gosh!”, I said (and I really meant it) “How does it feel, not to believe in ANYTHING?” I paused for a reply from her, but none was forthcoming. “My faith gives me such joy”, I said. After a moment she replied, “I am really jealous of that.” This laid the foundation for further discussion.
You see, instances like that have taught me, that it is easy to mix the human and sublime as Our Lord does and is. That is why it is so important to learn from his example through the Gospels. This is good advice I received from the writings of Saint Josemaría, the Founder of Opus Dei.