Entrepreneurship and Vocation
Excerpted from Seminarian Casual: An interview with Andreas Widmer, Entrepreneurship Professor: Catholic University of America(Image credit: Catholic University of America)
Interviewer: Many in our parishes serve the local and global communities as businesspeople. You articulate an intimate connection between the vocation of business life and our baptismal call to holiness, the way in which work fulfills us as human beings. How does one begin to integrate the faith with his business life, connecting career and mission?
AW: In terms of business as a vocation, what Iíd like businesspeople to realize is that when we work, we donít just make more, we become more Ė more fully human. When we work, we turn thoughts into physical realities. That is something spiritual; itís a participation in Godís creative power. This creative participation, together with discipline, patience, exercise of skill, and learning to cooperate with others: all these things make us grow. This growth in virtue and perfection makes us more like God. Itís a path to holiness. That is why we can say business is a vocation.
Interviewer: You have compared the entrepreneur to ďa person who sees an additional color,Ē one who has the ďtalent of seeing patterns where other people see chaos.Ē In what ways can parishes cultivate this kind of skill and creativity in the work of evangelization?
AW: Entrepreneurship in the setting of evangelization is, of course, different than it is in business. In evangelization we are not focused on producing a product or service. We are trying to help create an environment for people to fall in love with God. In order to do that, we aim to have the people we meet experience our love for them first. I think thatís the core of evangelization. It is to a large extent the work of the Holy Spirit, not ours. But just as in other work, we can become collaborators with God. That is where the entrepreneurial spirit comes into play: we can think of ever new ways to reach out to people, to create opportunities for them to experience being loved, experience their dignity. Entrepreneurs are dreamers at a certain level; they imagine how things could be better, they donít settle into the status quo. So to the extent that a parish forms its members to have zeal, to be constantly looking for ways to reach people, attentive to notice what they need, then thatís where entrepreneurship and innovation can play a role.
But in my experience, it is critical to remember that our effort is more than matched by the Holy Spirit, so itís key to not try to ďoutdoĒ God and getóin a senseótoo innovative. The key to evangelization is for us to hear the Word of God and to experience His love. (Read more of this interview here.)