, cofounder of the popular Integrated Catholic Life e-magazine
, offers readers thought-provoking and encouraging advice on integrating their faith into their careers in his book The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work
. Integrity is a theme that runs throughout the book – remaining steadfast in faith, being authentic in our relationships with coworkers and clients, and letting our devotion to God permeate every aspect of our business decisions rather than remain confined to a separate “sphere” of our existence.
Hain’s interviews with a variety of Catholic colleagues form the structure of the book, as he takes on a different aspect of faith in the workplace with each chapter and each interview. The tension between our career path and our spiritual journey is addressed in various ways – with different perspectives on how ambition and a desire to advance professionally can be channeled in a way that does not allow our focus to become clouded with pride and selfishness. Contributor Alex Muñoz explains:
Work becomes another activity that I can do to show God how much I love and trust Him. It is another expression of my fidelity and gratitude for everything in my life as much as my being a good husband and father is and can be.
Hain includes practical, actionable suggestions – like deactivating the email “beep” that alerts us to a new message – that can help us make time for silence and reflection during the hectic workday. He also explores more abstract ideas such as what it means to base our workplace interactions in love for our brothers and sisters.
This book would be a great launching point for a discussion group that met regularly to focus on faith in the workplace. At times, I wished the author and interviewees had gone into more specifics about the ethical challenges one can face at work or the question of how to balance our drive for self-improvement and success with the humility required of us as Christians. Still, I would definitely recommend this book for readers in a wide variety of careers who wish to better incorporate their Catholic faith into their day-to-day living.