Monday, December 08, 2008

Law, life and other miscellany

I've been considering a change lately.
Last week marked my sixth year with the small but somewhat pretentious law firm that I've labored in since my abortive attempt at soloing.
I'm looking to make a change for a variety of reasons, but in short, they would center around a desire to have more control over my practice and a desire to support my family by making more money in the process.
I've long represented indigent clients -- mostly in the field of consumer bankruptcy, but other debtor-creditor matters including foreclosure and indebtedness defense as well. I like the work; it appeals to my desire to make a difference and be Christ to those I meet.
Which brings up my Catholicism and the particular expression of it that my life has followed.
Last summer I became a postulant with a third order Franciscan group known (then) as the Tertiary Franciscans of the Primitive Observance -- a third order closely associated with the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance (or TFPO and FPO, respectively). Since that time, the third order has been somewhat reformulated, and is now known as the Tau Maria (not a particularly eponymous handle, but hey -- I didn't pick it.)
What's all that have to do with my law practice?
Well, quite a bit. As I said, my practice is an extension of my faith. Okay, maybe I didn't actually say that, but I implied it.
It seems to me that we all live lives which are meant to be lived for some particular purpose. Of course there's the overriding purpose we learn (or for some, learned -- past-tense) in the Baltimore Catechism: "to know and love God in this life, and to serve Him in the next" (paraphrasing from a somewhat leaky 46 year old memory, here.) We all have that as a purpose.
But what I mean is an additional, more particular purpose.
Opus Dei has a wonderful take on this that I find particularly appealing, i.e., that we are called to sanctification through our vocational calling, whatever that may be. If you are called to be a surgeon, then you may attain holiness through the practice of surgery by offering your best "work" for God, as it were. If you are called to be a teacher, then by teaching for God. If you are called to work in a factory, etc., etc.
As a lawyer for the poor, I feel a certain calling to defend and counsel those who struggle with their finances. The importance of this work is or should be obvious in this consumption-driven culture, which upholds wealth as the greatest goal to be attained, and poverty as the worst evil to be avoided.
This may come as a shock to some people, but some believe that poverty is actually a virtue to be sought rather than an evil to be avoided at all costs. I know that the lawyer I ate lunch with a couple weeks ago certainly was (shocked, that it is.) I mentioned this in passing, and the reaction I got from him -- also a Catholic, and by all appearances a fine man -- was as if I'd calmly mentioned my being abducted by space aliens the night before. Incredulous wouldn't be far from the mark.
More at Part Two....

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for blessing us the names of souls to pray for.

    I was just looking at your blogging habits - my goodness, I don't think I've even seen a gap of three years.

    May Our Lord grant you wisdom in the choices you are making now and may Our Lady cover you with her motherly intercession.

    - - -
    P.S. I have subscribed to the rss just to see this story play out. :)

    And, may the dear Catholic brother lawyer seek Christ in his space alien friend.

    My Art
    My Catholic faith
    Our prayer initiative A Month for the Souls in Purgatory

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  2. I don't think I've ever seen a gap of three years.

    Hey! I'm working on it! ;^)

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, and more importantly, thank you for your prayers for the souls in purgatory. That is fantastic.

    Ben

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