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Make a fresh start at work without changing jobs.

How? A Metanoia.

In the quietness of this time of year, we are encouraged to reflect on our life and to make resolutions regarding areas we wish to change. These usually include losing weight, getting in shape, or making some other adjustment in our life we believe to be for our long-term benefit.

Our efforts however, seldom continue more than a few weeks at best. Perhaps this year we might consider a different set of issues for reflection and conversion. Yes, conversion, or metanoia, is more than an outward change, but rather a deep change of heart or attitude in our life. If we want to be closer to God in and through our work, we need to look no further than the circumstances, people and events God has placed before us.

And what, exactly, is our work, you ask? Well, as baptized Catholic Christians it is simply to imitate Christ and to live the Good News as He showed us. How are we to do that? For starters, we need only look at the beatitudes and reflect on, “Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek and humble, blessed are the peacemakers.” The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi speaks to the same points: “ ... where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy ... ”

Does this describe how you are living your life today at work? How are the poor in your workplace treated? Who are they? How willing are you to be humble and help others to succeed?  Do you help resolve conflicts, or are you the cause of many?

There obviously is no shortage of information or guidance on how to live our faith in our daily work. The challenge is to be willing to open our hearts each and everyday to live in the footsteps of Christ and to imitate Him in all our dealings – with each and every person we meet. No abstractions, no concepts, no ideals, just our willingness to be simple, humble and vulnerable with our friends, our enemies, our family, our colleagues and our world.

Our job is not to be more productive, efficient, global or systemic. It is to be more loving, compassionate, forgiving and fully present to the people and situations of our life. So how do we rearrange or reorder our life to be more present? We can start by living a life that is more fully human, more the life that God intended for us.

The following questions might help you assess areas of your life that have been set aside and perhaps need to be given a voice:

1  Physical: Do I get enough sleep, food, and exercise? Do I take care of my health or do I work myself ragged?

2  Social: Do I have others in my life I consider good friends in whom I can confide? Do I spend non-work time together with them on regular basis? Do I isolate myself and never have time to be a friend for others?

3  Emotional: Do I have healthy coping skills for dealing with life or do I get angry, depressed and short tempered more and more?

4  Mental: Do I keep exploring new things? Do I still have a sense of wonder and awe? Am I intellectually challenged enough? Do I have conversations and contact with people of all ages, or does everyone see the world the same as I?

5  Spiritual: Do I pray on a regular basis? Do I talk about my prayer life with anyone else? Has my relationship with God continued to deepen and mature? Do I feel accepted and part of a community of faith?