WALDPORT — I am highly flawed. I don’t have all the answers, and what I say might not apply to you. I can see, however, that there is a lot of pain in the world, both inside and outside the Catholic Church. It distresses me to see so many hurting, so I want to offer advice.

We should not be content with giving time to God in our later years, including on our deathbeds. We younger people have a responsibility to our families and jobs, but we can fulfill those responsibilities even better with God’s graces. Do you get a 30-minute lunch? A coffee break? Spend those times with God. Are you working a repetitive job that you feel a monkey could do? (I am speaking from personal experience here.) Instead of zoning out, spend that time with God and be grateful for this blessing.

Remember tithing, giving 10% to the Lord? Well, total up just the breaks and you already have given God an hour and 36 minutes in a 16-hour day. See how easy it is to find time to spend with God? Ponder how being with God, being humble, and allowing God to work in you, to build you up, might affect your day.

The average commute time in the United States is 26.6 minutes. What are you doing with that time? Sure, we have to be safe on the road. However, you have a radio, right? If you aren’t lucky enough to live within the broadcast radius of a Catholic radio station, there are plenty of Catholic podcasts on many platforms. Even a cheap smartphone on a prepaid plan can download episodes for the road.

Do your coworkers know you’re Catholic? Would somebody sitting behind you in traffic know you’re Catholic? The Second Vatican Council called lay believers to be the front line of the church. You don’t just belong to the church, you are the church. After a few hundred years in the United States, we Catholics now can consider ourselves fully integrated into society and no longer the outsiders we were when our ancestors immigrated. I think it’s time we stood out a little more in a society where everyone is trying to be more individualistic; we should stand out as an interdependent community.

We are independent, yet we still rely on one another in our Catholic community for strength and building up. A subtle way to make a difference at work might be to dangle a pocket rosary from your belt loop. A bonus is that the constant tapping of the beads should remind you to take a moment, when things get out of control, to pray a decade. If you have no dress code at work, wear a T-shirt of St. Michael the Archangel, or of your favorite saint. If you do have a dress code at work, make sure you do it with class; don’t just settle for the minimum, wear a suit and pin a cross of Jerusalem to your lapel.

Got a desk? How about placing a small statue of your patron saint? I am certain that if we all took a little more time to think about it, we could all find ways to bring God into our lives, living the faith even at work.

While you are on the front line, you are the face of the church. I implore you to remember to temper yourselves with Christ’s mercy. Whether in person or on social media, you must strive to be a reflection of Christ’s love. I urge Catholics who disagree with one another, to remember the conversion of Jane Roe of Roe v Wade. It was the ugliness she saw in the way the pro-abortion groups treated women that turned her heart. And we definitely will not win anyone over by attacking them for their stances and acting equally as ugly.

Remember Christ’s mercy and forgiveness. Ask yourself, “How merciful would I want him to be for me in my life?” Remember to turn the other cheek and don’t let the devil divide God’s church.

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “The encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and, in this way, opens our eyes so that later, from this experience, we take the criteria for judgment and can correctly evaluate the arguments.” Nothing can be more beautiful than reflecting Christ’s love and mercy. The side effect? You’re going to find it easier to express his patience and mercy at home if you practice with others first.

I know what some of you are thinking, “Jesus wasn’t tolerant. Jesus chased out the money changers in the temple, whipping them.” We also know that Jesus is God. He is one of the Holy Trinity. This is God’s domain. He is the one who judges, and he is the one who will, in the end, dish out punishments. Can you find an example in Scripture where Jesus asks one of his apostles or disciples to go out and stone somebody, kill them, or rebuke them with their wrath?

Look at the way the Church “punishes.” She gives many chances, repeatedly, and once she takes drastic action, she doesn’t stone but, instead, cuts them off from the Body, while also leaving open the opportunity of redemption and forgiveness, even in her most extreme measures. When we seek to use Jesus’ wrath as justification for our own, we take away the domain that belongs solely to God, placing ourselves in the position to replace God and the authority he established. It is not our place to be his wrath; it is our place to love God and to love our neighbors.

Don’t do today, with action or inaction, what you may have to confess and be absolved of in the future.

Thaler is a Portland native and Army veteran. He was baptized in April at St. Anthony Church in Waldport.