From September 22 to 27, 2015, Pope Francis visited the United States. Based on his office, his personal popularity, and the media's fascination with spinning the free-speaking Pope's comments to seemingly counter orthodox Catholic teachings, his trip received mega-news coverage.
I don't often directly write about my Catholic faith here. I have, however, introduced spirituality as an occasional theme. Anything about faith I try to link to strategy, creativity, and innovation, all pillar topics for our work and the blog. These connections aren’t difficult to make, having discovered over the past decade that my Catholic faith positively and meaningfully influences every aspect of how I think and what I do, even in business.
In light of the Pope Francis’ US visit, I want to take this opportunity to share how faith can underpin and inform one’s life as a Catholic business person. I’ll share real-life examples that touch on strategy, creativity, innovation, and EVEN social media and content marketing.
Forming a Catholic Business Person through Daily Mass
Being a Catholic business person doesn't happen by accident.
For me, the foundation of growing and forming myself as a Catholic business person starts with attending a Catholic mass daily. In a typical week, I attend mass all seven days; my regular time at the local parish is 6:30 a.m. on workdays. I have worked up to this faith commitment starting back in November, 1998.
All this time spent in church during the heart of my business career has profoundly shaped my perspective and learning. In what ways, you might ask?
For me, attending mass daily . . .
1. Provides a definitive start each day
Making the shift from the structure a corporate job offers to entrepreneurship, it would have been easy to sleep in ANY DAY without an early meeting. That is rarely an option, however, when I want to be at 6:30 a.m. mass. Having a daily, very early commitment is a big positive since it creates the discipline to start the day early and in a positive way.
2. Creates external accountability
Headlines are full of business people who go astray ethically, morally, legally, and multiple other ways. I completely understand how this happens. There are many temptations out there to cut corners, take the easy but questionable way, or engage in behaviors that seem okay in secret but are clearly not okay when exposed in the light of day. Having daily accountability to God, and even to other people attending mass, continually grounds me in what is moral and what isn't. And when I slip, as we ALL do, the sacrament of penance is even available daily in one church I attend; this helps get back on the right path immediately and receive grace to improve in the future.
3. Provides the opportunity to engage with people daily
It’s easy to become a recluse if you aren’t in a traditional business office environment. Daily mass creates engagement with other people first thing. And beyond people I know locally through daily mass, seeking out a church whenever traveling creates opportunities to meet people all over the country. In the cities where I travel and attend mass regularly, wonderful people have opened themselves to welcome me into their communities, even if I’m only there a few times.
4. Grounds me in sacrifice and humility
Going before Christ in mass daily creates a unique opportunity to LISTEN to God's word and receive blessings through his real presence there. This creates humility, access to supernatural wisdom, and a profound sense of what is important and what isn't in this life . . . and beyond. There's an old story about how if you have a variety of rocks to fit into a container, the only way to get them all in the container is if the biggest rock is placed there first; then all the pebbles fit around it. Daily mass is for me the biggest and first rock every day. This creates focus to better handle times when things appear to not be going well.
5. Creates a visible demonstration of my Christianity
There's a popular rhetorical question about whether there would be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian if being a Christian were illegal. For me, being public about my commitment to attend daily mass is one piece of evidence. It also creates daily sacrifices in my life through giving up sleep, time, and freedom - all to be with Christ in the mass.
6. Offers a quiet, predictable time daily to reflect
We can all use more quiet in our lives. The opportunity for silence both before and after mass creates quiet time every day for prayer, reflection, and listening to what God is trying to say. This opportunity is coupled with the comforting predictability of mass. When life seems chaotic and random, there's tremendous value in participating in a service that's much the same every day. Even the Bible readings cycle through a structure that immerses attendees in the same readings annually or biennially (more on that later this week).
7. Puts everything in priority
These points simply scratch the surface on why I attend mass daily. The benefits are genuinely incalculable and eternal. There is no way to articulate them all. That’s why when people ask me about attending mass daily, I simply tell them it’s the most important thing I do every day! - Mike Brown
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