5 tips for practical Catholic living

Holy Ghost Fire

Let’s use marriage as an example. With marital love comes certain obligations and responsibilities—some more serious, others maybe not so serious. If we were to compile these individual acts of love into a list, we would end up with a very long list. This list contains obligations that we must follow if we want to preserve our love and want it to grow.

When marital love grows dull, this list seems suffocating.  So, too, in our relationship with Jesus. If our love is allowed to wane, then the Church’s teachings seem too hard. Thus, the problem is not rooted in obeying rules, but in not recognizing that the rules are more than arbitrary. Rather, they are the way to live and grow according to the law of love.

To avoid this apparent restrictive and joyless life for the Catholic, I would like to offer the following points for practical and personal application:

1.) Receive the Eucharist as often as you can. This is the very love of God poured forth into our hearts promised by Jesus. Even more astounding, it is Jesus, body, blood, soul, and Divinity, offered to us mysteriously under the appearance of bread and wine.

2.) Receive Him in a state of grace. That means to practice the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least monthly, or any time we are aware that we have willfully committed a grave sin. After all, one does not give sustenance to a corpse. We must be spiritually able to receive divine sustenance in order to benefit from this grace.

3.) Practice daily mediation. Pick up the Gospels and read a little and then stop when something strikes you. Put the book down, and let that point sink in. When you get overcome with distractions, pick up the Gospels and continue reading until the next thing strikes you. Repeat this process. This approach to prayer was encouraged by St. Theresa of Avila to her community. I have profited much from it myself, so I know that it works.

4.) When you are finished with your 20 minutes or more of spiritual reading,   make a daily resolution. A resolution is a promise we make to God to respond to His grace by seeking to uproot some predominant fault that our spiritual reading has just uncovered. You can keep the same resolution daily, or change it up, depending on how the Holy Spirit moves you.

One note on this: the best way to uproot a fault is to work on the opposite virtue. As we develop the virtue, doing the good becomes easier, more joyful, and we act towards it more promptly. Thus, the life of repressing the evil inclination is replaced by a life of doing the good.

5.) Lastly, examine yourself at the end of the day and see how well you tended to your resolution. Thank the Lord for your days’ blessings, challenges, and benefits. Tell Him that you are sorry for offending Him by not keeping your resolution firmly if that is the case, and promise to put more effort into keeping your resolution tomorrow.

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2 Comments

  1. Let’s use marriage as an example.

    OK.

    “Take my wife…please!”

    Seriously: good stuff, above.

  2. 1) is good.
    2) is Ok try to think of what it means. Contrite Oh my God always before going to the altar will suffice for daily activity.
    3) Sounds Protestant! LOL and as my mum would have got very annoyed with you it is TERESA of Avila. Its a Spanish thing!
    4) Back to bells around cats necks . . .Probably a good idea, maybe a good intention but unless you live in a monastery/convent etc not totally practical? Try to be good to yourself and just thank God as and when you recall him but don’t be down on yourself if you collapse in a chair at the end of the day and nod into sleep!
    5) Very much like (4) and try to avoid thinking about how good/bad you have been. Bosco disliked to think about “chastity” because he knew that opposites attract and the trouble is that if you “think” too much about this virtue or that one the opposite may become suggested. . .and as Wilde noted I can resist anything except temptation! 🙂


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