FROM THE TEMPTATION, FOR THE GRACE

This winter Wednesday The Thirteenth has got me feeling all the Wednesday Adams and Friday the thirteenth feels.

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Self-doubt has me in its clutches at my first week back to work.

When asked a question I didn’t know, I foolishly tried to play off as though I did, which made me question whether I truly knew anything at all.

Some of my co-workers have returned from studying abroad and they play catch-up, so understandably happy to be back with each other. But my close friend, my really good one with whom I was now venturing through college with after making it through high school together, and thanks to whom I got my dream job, was now thousands of miles away, taking the opportunity herself to study abroad in England, the land of accents and cute boys and of being way too far away across the pond. I was equal parts incredibly jealous of and missing her like crazy, and didn’t have my long-time chum to converse with throughout the work day.

I left work incredibly dejected and not even hungry (which is saying something for this Italian!). But Wednesdays mean evening Adoration at the local parish a couple of blocks from campus. I found myself bundled up in the pew in the beautiful but chilly marble and brick church, and the chill makes me feel even more lonely. As I listlessly flip through The Magnificat, I randomly come across the Litany to Sanctify Work. The  opening sentence explained the prayer’s point — “In a spirit of sacrifice we consecrate our work day to the Lord and pray …”, and a long list of petitions followed.

Today was the day when I felt most inferior in a job that my skill set — rather, my set of gifts and talents — were made for. Today was the day when I overanalyzed and questioned how our customers (the students seeking help on creating a digital presence online) viewed me, when really there is no possible way of ever knowing what someone else thinks, ever. And today was the day when, in a workplace full of incredibly friendly people I simply had to take steps towards making friends with,  I somehow managed to feel friendless and a bit like the odd woman out.

But today was also the day when I approached the Cross, and Christ filled the space of loneliness and uncertainty that had burrowed its way into my heart, giving me the exact prayer I needed to say:

“Lord, Protect Me: From the Temptation”

“… to be listless and lazy: Lord, protect me.”

“… to complain: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be critical of my boss: Lord, protect me.”

“… to cheat or be dishonest with others: Lord, protect me.”

“… to gossip: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be late: Lord, protect me.”

“… to waste time: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be judgmental of my co-workers: Lord, protect me.”

“… to procrastinate: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be envious of others: Lord, protect me.”

“… to indolence & lethargy: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be hyper-critical: Lord, protect me.”

“… to engage in idle conversation: Lord, protect me.”

“… to be quick to take offense: Lord, protect me.”

“… to shift my work onto others: Lord, protect me.”

“… to impatience: Lord, protect me.”

“… to cut corners or be sloppy: Lord, protect me.”

“… to give into weariness: Lord, protect me.”

When I prayed this for the first time, I heard two important truths:

Sometimes, the person I was hyper-critical of was myself. It is just as important to resist the temptation of being hyper-critical of myself at work as it is to be hyper-critical of the co-workers and superiors around me.

Additionally, “shifting my work onto others” was not the same thing as asking for help. In the tutoring capacity I serve in, there are some fundamental must-knows that we all need to know to assist students in taking the first steps towards cultivating their digital identity. But one of the (very few) things Management 301 taught me last semester was that no one person, even when they are considered an expert in their field, can possibly know everything, unless they are a robot. There is nothing wrong with asking my fellow tutors for help if someone comes up with a question that I am not quite sure how to answer. For the student to come to the best conclusion, it may require me asking them for help! On the other hand, my temptation to give up at my first sign of inner uncertainty and beg another tutor to take over the tutoring session is what I have to work to avoid. I found I need help from the Holy Spirit in both resisting the temptation to shift my work onto others and also confusing that for requesting help from others.

“Lord, Please Grant It: For the Grace”

“… to be a peacemaker: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to witness to you by word & example: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be energetic & committed: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to take initiative: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be compassionate and forgiving: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to offer up all tedium and drudgery: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be attentive to those in need: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be attentive to those in need: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be generous in sharing: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be prudent in dealings with others: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be kind: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be understanding: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be patient and persevering: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to put myself in others’ shoes: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be dedicated and undistracted: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be honest and forthright: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be hardworking: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be free of stress: Lord, please grant it.”

“… of insight to solve problems: Lord, please grant it.”

“… of industriousness: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to resolve conflicts and difficulties: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to put up with hardships: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to esteem the dignity of my co-workers: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to be thankful for the chance to work: Lord, please grant it.”

“… to spread the Good News of the Gospel: Lord, please grant it.”

How curious and awesome that there are more lines to the “For the Grace” part than there are to the “From the Temptation” part! I can’t help but consider that a sign showing just how great our God is.

Most days I don’t quite have the full ten minutes before work needed to pray the litany. But the prayer always remained close to the surface of my heart, quelling any uprising waves of self-doubt and unwarranted harshness. And I wrote the prayer down in the notes section of my planner so that, when they did, I could instantly remind myself through prayer in a slow moment of the work day that those feelings are not of God

In all work that we do, whether it be the kind that furthers our careers and helps us develop our talents, or the simple daily tasks we are called to perform for our family, friends, faith community and Father, may He protect us from the temptation to err in all those ways and more, granting us grace upon grace to get through each day efficiently and effectively.

And always remember, tomorrow is a fresh start.

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