Have you found that the daily quest for holiness called for in our Faith from the time of our Baptism is inextricably linked to our human search for happiness? Are you therefore searching for a practical way to live holy Faith in daily life — to be happy here and in Heaven?
Or do you perhaps have an interest in/attraction to certain devotions (Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Fatima, etc.) or spiritualities (Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican, Ignatian, etc.), but find yourself overwhelmed by the possibilities? Maybe this post may be of use to you.
As I began my professional life after college, I gradually realized that I had to fan the spark of my love of the Faith into a fire of living the Faith in daily life. But, I soon discovered that one cannot dedicate herself to even a fraction of the absolute plethora of useful devotions and spiritual practices that the Church has gifted us with in the last 2,000 years. So, I set about selecting what would be most helpful for my spiritual life and growth in holiness. It’s still a matter of trial and error, but I have a mostly workable Plan of Life (a daily/regular spiritual regimen), which I will likely post on at length. It would help to have a wise spiritual director (such as a gifted priest or sister) to guide me, but like many others, I have not yet found one who is available. So, I pray and search.
Enter, again, our reliable guide, Fr. John McCloskey, this time providing us with:
Fr. McCloskey notes that integrating these habits into one’s life is a gradual process that may require some modifications, but at the same time a priority overriding lesser things/timewasters. He estimates that the habits as he describes them will take about an hour-and-a-half per day, but will yield unexpected benefits.
- morning offering (Rise promptly to offer your day to God, in your own words or with a formula.)
- meditation for 15 minutes (Please see the next post, “Meditation.”)
- spiritual reading for 15 minutes (Please see the previous post, “On Drowning by the Page.”)
- daily Mass (If you cannot attend daily Mass, perhaps consider spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament or at home prayerfully reading the Mass readings and praying a spiritual communion (asking to receive Our Lord spiritually since you cannot receive His Body and Blood at Mass). The Mass readings, in text or in audio with a homily, can be found at EWTN.
- examination of conscience (Before bed: give thanks to God; ask His grace to know your sins; examine your thoughts, words and deeds in each part of your day, especially in light of the previous day’s resolutions; pray an act of contrition; make specific resolutions to avoid these sins in the coming day; and pray an Our Father. This is a summary of the method of St. Ignatius.)
I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend here the greatest work of one of the greatest spiritual directors who ever lived, the Gentle Saint, bishop St. Francis de Sales. His Introduction to the Devout Life is very readable and practical, several hundred years after his death.
Finally, in creating this post, I am greatly indebted to one of the foremost sites on the Web and TV for authentic Catholic spirituality, which I highly recommend: Mother Angelica’s EWTN. Among the exhaustive resources there, you will find schedules, live feeds, and videos/podcasts of their excellent programming, including daily Mass and numerous spiritual shows. You will also find a very large library of texts, audio and video, and a religious catalog.