By Father Roch Kereszty
Special to the Texas Catholic
The two areas in which young adults face great challenges are professional life and family. Here I will focus on how career choices and your line of work may present great opportunities to grow in faith but often only at the price of making tough moral choices.
The most important truth in this regard is that God is as close to us as our conscience since He speaks to us in every moral choice we make. Of course, God speaks to us every day in ways other than through our conscience: through the beauty of a bright, cool autumn morning, through the loving voice of a wife or husband, through the exuberant joy of your child, but he speaks to us more forcefully through our conscience when he places us before hard moral choices.
Before you make a career choice, please clarify the goals you want to achieve. Do you want to be of service to other people or is your ultimate goal just the increase of wealth and social standing? If the latter, I strongly recommend that you watch the latest Woody Allen movie, “Blue Jasmine.” It is a dark film, for it presents in a very credible way the emptiness and tragic end of lives of empty show and pretense. You will still enjoy the movie, I believe, because it pulls off the veil from much meaningless and phony posturing with an eerie realism.
If you choose to be of service, you may have to give up a higher income but your faith will grow since you chose to follow God’s will. Many jobs can help you achieve your goal provided that your intention and your approach are right. Those who live and work in this way are much happier, more serene and more at peace than those for whom a service-oriented life reveals only laughable naiveté.
A story from real life might help to illustrate this point. It happened in Dallas during the recent economic downturn. The manager of an engineering firm had to lay off some of his engineers. One of the laid-off men approached the manager: “I would like to continue working here even if you cannot pay me, he said, because I enjoy so much the human touch and camaraderie in this company.” A simple story but it points to the deep humanity and Christian spirit of the manager. This is what Christian managers are called to do. Treat their employees as valuable human beings, as your brothers and sisters whom you respect and care about rather than using them as mere means for increasing the profit.
Another example shows that, at times, following your conscience requires risk-taking. One of my former students became part of a law firm with morally questionable practices. When he discovered that the firm wanted him to act against his conscience, he decided to quit and establish his own private practice. In doing so at a relatively young age, he took a considerable risk and struggled for a while. But even when he was unsure whether he would succeed on his own, he enjoyed a peace that he had not enjoyed before his decision.
Indeed, there is no greater peace than to know we are doing God’s will.