Take, Lord, Receive, My Work and Career

Take, Lord, receive all my work and career. - words over computer-desk scene

I work in an office where the pace is breakneck speed. I pray during my morning commute, but pride kicks in as I park: “See you at noon, God. I’ve got things covered.”

Then I read the Suscipe. Uh, oh. Do I mean it?

I pray, “Take, Lord, receive, well, most of me. Can I hang on to this area—and that—while I ‘let you’ take care of the rest?”

So I’m taking an incremental approach to praying the Suscipe and meaning it. I’m starting with my high-stress work environment. When expectations of what’s possible are unrealistic, I pause and recommit to who my boss really is: I’m called to work for God—not human approval.

The Examen is a guide. At the end of the day, I think about how well I allowed Christ to lead me at the office, and where I exercised genuine self-surrender. It helps me to do this musically, so I’ve paraphrased the song “Take, Lord, Receive,” by John Foley, SJ (humming not included).

Take, Lord, receive all my work and career.
Relationships, interruptions, my strategic plans.

Give me only your love! You’re my boss. You’re enough for me.
Your love and your plans are enough for me.

Take, Lord, receive, multitasking and stress.
Have you given this to me? Can I return it?

Give me only your love and a cup of some fresh-brewed “Joe.”
On Mondays I know: You’re enough for me.

Take, Lord, receive, everything on my desk.
Dispose of it, wholly according to your will.

Give me only your love and a pace that leaves time for you.
My office: a place where your grace comes through.

After singing and while driving home, I ask myself:

  • When did I see Christ walk through my office door?
  • When during the workday did I feel closest to Christ?
  • How did I listen to the invitations to kindness, honesty, and integrity in work relationships and tasks?
  • Did I pause to ask God’s opinion before barreling ahead with an e-mail, a decision, or a comment to a coworker?
  • Did I live my desire to work for God, or was success my bottom line?
  • Was I forgetful of God? Did I check my faith at the door?

I make my resolutions for a better tomorrow. I’m grateful that God allows me the freedom to draw closer to Christ in increments.

And truth be told, after praying this way, I am much more at peace. Things seem to be going better in the office, or is it that I am changed?

I next turn to an aspect of my life that needs much more work (sung to the same tune):

Take, Lord, receive
All my time in the car.
The way I drive, my lane changes,
The entire road.

Refrain:
Give a blessing to all who will drive
Down this busy lane.
All day and all night, give us patience, Lord.

What parts of my life are easiest to give over to God’s complete control?

About Loretta Pehanich 28 Articles

Loretta Pehanich is a spiritual director and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. She is involved with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Sacramento and its program in giving the Spiritual Exercises. She has more than 20 years of experience in ministry, including retreat work and small group leadership. Loretta currently works as a fundraiser in Sacramento. She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.

12 Comments on Take, Lord, Receive, My Work and Career

  1. Thank you! I laughed out loud at a lot of this. “Take, Lord, receive, everything on my desk./Dispose of it, wholly according to your will.” I darned near cheered as I read that. AND, I will now take the Suscipe prayer far more seriously than I have in the past when I thought it was about “the big things,” and not the blinking voice mail light that taunts me.

  2. I LOVE this and wish I had seen it many years earlier! I am getting close to retirement and my workload is lightening but I sure could have used it as a spiritual guide in past years when the pace of my work was sometimes overwhelming. Thank you for a wonderful post that combines the secular work world with the spiritual. Well done!

  3. Thank you so much for this. Talk about God’s timely words to His children. I was just praying for/about this this morning before work! Thank you so much.

  4. Wonderful, really enjoyed it.Am I brave enough to do this? At present I have printed out Anima Christi instead and say it every time I see it ,usually every day.. I am 80yrs so maybe that fits me better for now. Keep up the good work.

  5. Loretta,
    Like you, I have a career in philanthropy. Such a gift to be able to work in support of value-based causes and the people who believe in them. Hours and hours of small steps designed to simply find and enable generous people at all levels to give expression to their personal values and gratitude for all they have received. Your canticle on the ‘Suscipe” has opened up for me a new and inspiring way to embrace such an intimidating and inviting prayer. Many thanks. Best wishes in your daily journey.

  6. Loretta,
    Thanks for sharing God in all aspects. I Came home from Mass and anointing the other day feeling high from the community experience, then proceeded to get a speeding ticket. It is great behavior modification.

  7. When we give God our all and take control of everything, we will have a fulfilled life. “My yoke is light” I am reminded of these words after reading your story. Examen plays the main role and I love it.
    Thanks for sharing and educating us!

  8. This spoke directly to me! I love the sincerity and the humor and I share that sense of sometimes saying “Take Lord and receive about 80% of me — I need to hang onto the other 20%!” Well, not really!
    Wonderful reflection, Loretta!

  9. i am almost 82 and enjoyed the memory of my days gone when I struggled to try to find God in all things. Now that I am still “on the go” despite being retired (thank God who blesses me with relatively good health) He is the Busy One who comes to show Himself in many ways to me and to those who come in contact with me.
    Blessed be Hins Name forever!

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