What is a Catholic Engineer?

“What is a Catholic engineer?” I found myself asking that question several times over the Christmas season. When thinking about the answer to that question, I kept finding it to be self-explanatory; a Catholic engineer is an engineer who is Catholic. However, I did not feel satisfied with that answer, something was lacking.

Why is that answer, “A Catholic engineer is an engineer who is Catholic,” so unsatisfactory? Because it separates two important parts of a person, their passion, and their faith, their profession, and their religion. We have been called to love God with all our hearts, to follow him with are entirety, but unfortunately, we see him instead as a chore, an obstacle to that work and leisure we deem ‘more important.’ Our grades are certainly important, our projects at work are important, and God wants us to rest and enjoy this world that He has created for us. But if we are to live fulfilling lives we cannot separate these things in our lives from Him. In Matthew 22:37 Christ calls us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The Catholic engineer does not restrict God to church, He invites God into each second of his or her life.

That is the first step of a Catholic engineer, inviting God into our daily lives. We might begin to worry about what to say, we may think our prayers aren’t perfect, or that we are not worthy. But that is okay, God is not a CEO judging our resume, but our greatest lover, eagerly waiting for us to say anything to Him. There are many ways to pray, and the Church provides many resources both online and in our parishes from which we can choose, but the important thing is that their hearts are sincere and genuine, as we should be with anyone that we love.

Good friends spend time together, happily married couples live together, and so with God, we should make time each day to be with Him. All relationships take time and effort, and a relationship with God is no different. Some days it may be easy, others it may be difficult, but we cannot give up on spending time with God just as we do not give up in reuniting with good friends. Indeed, it takes work, it takes perseverance, but it is that work that makes it all the more worthwhile, in that work we grow closer to God.

If we persist in prayer, it becomes easier to be with God throughout our daily lives. Everything we do, whether it is data input, coding, driving, cooking, washing dishes, reading, or even playing games, can be offered to God as a prayer. One of St. Theresa of Calcutta’s motto was, “Do small things with great love.” As engineers, we will find ourselves designing O-rings or designing rockets, sorting data or creating code, synthesizing materials or teaching students. The value of our work is not in the money we make or the extravagance of our work, rather, the value of our work is in what we work for and Who we work for. Are we working for money and fame, or are we working out of love for God and our families?
This question leads us to discernment. Here I do not necessarily mean the discernment between religious, single, and married life (although this may be the case), but a more general yet nonetheless important discernment of God’s will for our lives. When we think about doing God’s will, we can often fall into worry, thinking that what God wants for us will not satisfy us, or that if we follow God we will not be happy. We must remember that it is God who created us and that we will only find fulfillment, satisfaction, and true happiness when we surrender our lives over to God. Everything we do is best done when it is done in accordance with God’s will.

Surrendering our lives over to God at first may be scary. We can begin to worry about everything: our finances, new settings, different obligations, changing our habits. We may even wonder if we will see old friends and family again. Despite all these possible obstacles and challenges that we encounter when we choose to do God’s will, we cannot afford to let worry dwell in our hearts. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 show why it is best to abandon worry and keep trust in God, and as Pope Benedict said, “the world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

As we leave this Christmas season, we can reflect on how Christ’s Incarnation illustrates just how much He wants to be a part of our lives and share our experiences. The Catholic engineer is diligent in both study, work, and relationship. The Catholic engineer isn’t afraid of having his or her faith in all aspects of their lives, instead, they invite God into their lives, surrendering and offering their lives up to God.



Author- Eric Smoorenburg
Born in California and raised in Colorado, Eric Smoorenburg is a mechanical engineering student. He was a Totus Tuus teacher for the Archdiocese of Denver. He was Homeschooled through the Seton Home Study program and has an AS from the Community College of Aurora. Eric likes to write and go hiking in his free time.