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Working with others as God watches us

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Nothing is more imperative today than effective, fruitful collaboration... we still have a debt to our communities, to find a way to work together in our daily endeavors or work.

Father Eugene
Hemrick

Nothing is more imperative today than effective, fruitful collaboration. We live in a time when we possess the power to destroy our ecological balance, as well as weapons to destroy humanity.

But even when we're not dealing with issues that involve the future of the human race, we still have a debt to our communities, to find a way to work together in our daily endeavors or work.

This past summer, I attended a seminar for vocation directors that touched on the topic of collaboration. The keynote speaker was Father Frank Donio, who is the director of the Catholic Apostolate Center, and he explored the essence of collaboration.

Father Donio began by posing the question: What does Christ want when we engage in collaboration?

For some, in some cultures, working with others comes from one perspective: How will I profit from it? Will it promote my career, or satisfy my constituents?

But by starting with the idea that Christ is looking over our shoulder, work can be taken from the mundane to its ultimate meaning and God's purpose replaces our purpose.

Too often we rush into "doing" without first reflecting on what our "doing" is about. We don't connect what we are "doing" with God's purpose, what does God want and how does what we do fulfill a heavenly agenda?

One of our parishioners in Washington is a retired senator. One day he told me he went to a Caribbean country to work on better cooperation between that nation and the U.S. He then said, "I started our meeting by asking for a moment of prayer in order to have God's blessing on our endeavors."

We must wonder how much better the world would be if there were more gatherings like this, when we stop to think about collaboration and with God looking over our work.

Also important in collaboration, Father Donio mentioned, is that it's important to not expect monolithic unity.

For this, take a look at the work of the bishops in the U.S. and their work with a variety of ethnic populations. Although languages and traditions differ, within those communities there is richness, the ultimate glue for uniting us into one Church. Making use of all these different traditions can bring about more fruitful and collaborative work that can help us carry out what God wants from us.

FATHER HEMRICK IS A COLUMNIST WITH THE CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE.

FatherEugene Hemrick is a columnist for Catholic News Service

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