Vocations Part II - Social Sin
As I mentioned in a post last week, I've been very unhappy with my job recently. But on a deeper level, I've felt rather unhappy with my job for years. Working as a corporate cog in a machine whose purpose is to sell more widgets and make more money for corporate bigwigs is very soul sucking. I don't feel like I'm making a difference in the world. I felt this way before I even became Catholic.
But lately the weight of my job has been hanging heavily on my shoulders. My bitterness towards the situations at work has even affected my prayer life. I was listening to Fr. Corapi on EWTN Radio this morning on the way to work, and he made a couple of seriously impacting statements. The first one was about vocations. He said that the problem is that people want to do what they want to do instead of praying about what they are supposed to be doing. This doesn't just apply to people who are discerning the priesthood or religious life. This applies to all people who feel they need to adjust their life to be doing God's will. I know this is going to sound stupid, but I've been praying for my religious life quite a bit lately, but it never occurred to me to pray about work. I've been praying to make my work bearable, but not praying to discern my true vocation. I am definitely going to be doing this a lot from now on.
The second thing that he mentioned is the part in the Our Father where they talk about forgiveness. He said that forgivness was essential in staying close to God. He said that harboring resentment will inhibit your prayer life. I was doing very good in my prayer life, all the way from the time I decided to explore the Catholic church until the beginning of Lent. But last week, work was so stressful for me. I began harboring resentments because I wasn't getting the things I felt I needed to do my job correctly, and the bitterness was eating away at me. When I heard Fr. Corapi talk about this bitterness, I realized the reason I had not been reading and praying and spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament the way I should this past week is because I was spending the energy I had to hold these resentments.
So by thinking about the resentments, and thinking that I need to pray for discernment on my true vocation, the burden of these resentments has been lifted. I have no doubt that this is not the true vocation that I have been called to do. Having a clear realization that this is just a temporary stop towards my true vocation is very calming to me, and a great relief. Now I just have to pray and hope I hear the right answer to where God wants me. Doing what I can do, doing what I want to do, and doing what God wants me to do are three different things.
Looking at my job in that light gives me so many options. I've been considering going back to school to get my MBA, but I could focus my MBA studies with the goal of working for a non-profit company when I get my degree. Or I could consider using my Bachelor's degree in Special Education to teach in the Catholic schools in Dallas. There's a little school about a mile from my house who specializes in teaching Special Ed kids. I could also maybe just volunteer there or help there with activities, and focus my efforts on another vocation that gives me the money to be able to donate generously to causes.
But I'd really rather feel like I was doing the will of God. And I don't know quite what that is yet. I know I have the skills to do more in this world than to tell the Big German Company that I work for how many widgets they've sold this year. It's scary, but I know I need to do something to change my life so that I am serving people who need me. I feel in my heart that by participating in a soul-sucking Corporate vocation rather than a vocation where I serve and help those who need me that I am committing a social sin that could be avoided.
I want to serve my fellow man. That's why I got a Special Education degree - I wanted to help people with developmental disabilities. I'm not sure exactly what it is that God wants me to do, but I hope that he guides me and points me to where I need to go vocationally. And I thank God that I had the sense to listen to EWTN Radio on the way to work today. (If you don't have a Sirius radio in your car, go get one RIGHT NOW and listen to EWTN when you can!)