February 18, 2011. Will giving a year or two as
a coworker (or RC
Mission Corps volunteer) really make a difference in your life?
Former volunteer Nathan Stein answers that question in the following
I learned many valuable life lessons in my two
years as a coworker: a solid work ethic, a deeper
knowledge of God and myself, but most importantly what it
is to love. I just finished my first year back
in the “world” and have been thinking and reflecting a
lot lately on my time as a coworker. In this
testimony I would like to share some simple reflections and
advice about what exactly one is giving to God when
deciding to become a coworker.
As I said, I have been
out of the coworker program now for almost a year.
I am back in college and am trying my best
to finish up as quick as possible to marry the
most beautiful Catholic girl this side of the Mississippi! God
has blessed me enormously as he continues to lead me
in my journey.
|"It is that simple to be a coworker: pray and do whatever God asks of you."|
It all started about three and a half
years ago when I was a freshman in college. You
could say that I was Catholic, but definitely in name
only. I don’t know what it was that convinced me,
but in the weird yet profound ways of God I
found myself agreeing to attend a weekend silent retreat. To
make a very long story short, I made my first
good confession of my life and, unbeknownst to me, started
a new and crazy journey that would lead to two
years of full-time missionary work. I joined the Regnum Christi
Movement that weekend and began living my faith for the
first time in my life. A few months down the
road I was on Holy Week Missions in Chicago when
a Legionary priest, Fr. Edward Hopkins, asked me if I
had thought about giving some time to God. By the
time Easter Sunday rolled around I had decided and along
with about 20 other young men and women received a
blessing from the Archbishop of Chicago. I told my parents,
put school on hold, and then off I went on
the adventure of a lifetime.
I probably traveled more than
any other coworker in the history of coworking as I
spent time in almost every major city in the U.S.
The majority of my time however, was spent in L.A.,
Phoenix, and Atlanta. In my first nine months I spent
most of my time in L.A. working at a local
college Newman Club with Fr. John Bullock. After L.A. I
was sent to Phoenix to work with Fr. Michael Goodyear
on Holy Week Missions for about three months. Finally, I
ended up in Atlanta where I spent my second year
of coworking. I worked with one of the greatest priests
in the world, Fr. Dominic Pham, who taught me so
much about life and what it is to be a
man. My time in Atlanta was a whirlwind, from fundraising
projects and missions to retreats and summer camps. Fr. Dominic
brought out the leader in me by taking a chance
at giving me the reins on so many projects that,
if I messed up, would be a flop. He forced
me to be responsible and strategic in my thinking and
this is one of the greatest gifts he could have
given me: the confidence to know I could do great
things for Christ.
This is what it is like to be
a coworker, now what is it to be a coworker?
A coworker is merely an instrument of God. It doesn’t
matter what your apostolate is; it doesn’t matter if you
complete huge projects for Christ. What matters is your obedience
and generosity in doing the will of the Father. It
doesn’t matter if you are giving retreats every weekend or
filing papers every day. What matters is that you have
said “yes” to doing whatever he asks of you, as
Jesus Christ said, “My food is to do the will
of the Father.”
My second piece of advice is this: pray.
If your apostolic work is not deeply rooted in prayer,
it is a waste. The most important thing you can
do as a coworker is pray. It is that simple
to be a coworker: pray and do whatever God asks
Lastly, strive to learn what it is to love.
Believe me, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn
how to love. Love is patient, love is kind, and
love is persevering. Hang in there when the going gets
tough. It is a huge adjustment to go from a
world where you make all the decisions about your life
to a world where you sacrifice many good things you
enjoy. The first year of coworking is where you get
the hang of things, the second is where you begin
to blossom. Always remember Christ’s one commandment: love. Love the
Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and
strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
You may go into
coworking thinking you are giving Christ your time, but really
it is he who is giving you his time. God
is never outdone in generosity.