Eight Habits of Highly Effective Catholics

Fr Lawrence Lew OP

The keys to peace on earth and joy in heaven.

My dear friends, Cardinal Van Thuan understood that evil exists, but he also understood that no matter what happens to him, God would always be with him in a very powerful way. In prison, he was able to love his enemies, minister to other prisoners and even convert his jailers. 

Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan lived out the words from this Sunday’s second reading: 

… but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that afflication produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Rom. 5:4-5). 

Habit #2 – They accept the reality of death

People who have focused their lives on heaven, think in terms of eternity, not in terms of days, months and years. They see life as a mission and they are driven by that mission. They do all that they can to get to heaven and to bring as many people as possible with them. 

Eternity is not an escape from their duties here on earth. Instead, they develop the talents and gifts that God has given to them and they strive to make this world a better place for everyone. 

Therefore, while we are warned that it profits a man nothing if he gain the whole world and loses himself, the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. For here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the new age (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium  et spes, 39).

Habit #3 – They pray daily

Anyone who has a radical trust in God spends at least one or two hours a day with the living God in whom they trust. They are always in love with God, with others, with life and with all of their endeavors. They are never bored and their time with God launches them into enthusiastically donating themselves to all those around them. They are radiant Christians.

Habit #4 – During their time of prayer, they listen

Always acknowledging their own inner poverty, highly effective Catholics recognize their need for God. They trust God and therefore they sit with him quietly, lovingly remaining in his presence. They are convinced of the words of Jesus: “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt. 6:8).

Habit #5 – They avoid distractions

Because they see life as a mission, highly effective Cahtolics use technology correctly. They understand that time is a gift. They have a realistic view about life, and they understand true leisure. They rest on Sundays, enjoy the company of their family and friends, and take vacations. They do not waste endless hours on Facebook or watching television. 

Habit #6 – They seek counsel and spiritual direction

Highly effective Catholics are spiritually in tune with God and they notice that God often speaks to them through the counsel and direction of a good priest, a good deacon, a religious sister or a well formed lay leader. They do not avoid them, but instead, have regular meetings with them. Before making a major decision, they talk things over with their spiritual guide. Moreover, they have a regular confessor and make use of frequent confession.

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