Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sanctifying Work

The practice of our faith does not end at home but must be part of our whole life.  Often when we go to our work we feel separated from our faith and subjected to a different set of rules.  There is some truth to this as each organization has its values which are encoded into their systems and procedures and norms of workplace behavior. So we may find that we bring into our work a different value system based on our Orthodox faith. Even if it is different we must bring it through our presence and witness to our faith.

We sanctify our work thorough our way of life and our prayers. It is by our inner state that our work becomes sanctified. It is ideal when our employer also has a desire to sanctify the workplace because he or she will then have concern about each employee's spiritual growth. We cannot count on this however.

Here is what Elder paisios has to say,
Every profession can be sanctified. For example, a doctor mustn't forget that what helps the most in medicine is the Grace of God. This is why he should strive to become a vessel of Divine Grace. A doctor who is a good Orthodox Christain, along with being a good scientist, helps the sick with his kindness and his faith, because he encourages them to face their illness with faith. He can say to someone who suffers from a very serious illness: "This is as far as medicine has progressed. From this point on however, there is also God Who works miracles."
In our work, as we perfect our inner being to become centered in God at all times, we will find many ways to glorify God through our actions.  It may be a kind word to a fellow employee, an act of kindness to a customer, or spiritual advice we are able to give to another person we interact with. It's not always what we say but how we are. It all depends on our ability to love others no matter what their value system is. When we do this we will discern the right things to say to others that will glorify God in His love for all mankind.

We can include icons in our work space to help keep us focused. We can take a few breaks during the day for silent prayer to keep us centered. And when we are idle we can recite the Jesus prayer over and over. And at all time we must be ever watchful for those ugly passion that can rear their ugly head at any time. 

But all this assumes we are living the Orthodox way of life. This is a life of repentance, of daily prayer coupled with fasting according to the guidelines of the Church or our spiritual father. It assumes we regularly participate in the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Confession.  It means we must be students of the Holy Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers. When we live a sanctified life based on our love for God and our deep faith we are led along a path of inner purification. As our inner being is purified we can become more effective in sanctifying our work place. As we sanctify ourselves we can sanctify the places we work.

Reference:Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, pp 185-186

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