Practical tips for every day
1. Devote one hour of each day to prayer and reading.
The time-challenged among us are silently screaming: “no way”! But, I am telling you it is absolutely achievable. Would we ever consider not giving our loved ones an hour a day? Doesn’t God deserve at least an hour of our time as well? Here are some easy ways to achieve an hour of combined prayer and faith-based reading each day.
•Try getting up fifteen minutes earlier each morning to read Scripture or some other great Catholic book or resource which follows the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
•Pray the Morning Offering before leaving the house each morning.
•Pray the Angelus throughout the day.
•Pray the Rosary or five decades of it on the way to work or during exercise.
•Do the Jesuit Daily Examen which I have written about before. The Examen requires you to stop, reflect, and pray five times a day for just a few minutes. Put it on your calendar and make it part of your routine.
•Say a blessing over every meal, regardless of our companions.
•Pray with our families at bedtime.
•Pray a family Rosary or at least a few decades of it if you have young children.
•Read a few pages of Scripture or a Catholic spiritual work before going to sleep. Let’s make good use of the calendars on our smart phones, or whatever calendar works best, but prayer and reading will only happen if we make time for them.
Consider this thought from Dr. Peter Kreeft from his essay, Time: “The first rule for prayer, the most important first step, is not about how to do it, but to just do it; not to perfect and complete it but to begin it. Once the car is moving, it’s easy to steer it in the right direction, but it’s much harder to start it up when it’s stalled. And prayer is stalled in our world.”
2. Devote more time to the Eucharist.
Do we want to fully experience Christ and be closer to Him during the work day? Know what parishes are on our way to work or near our office. Seek out the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in daily Mass when possible, and spend quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration every week. Masstimes.org is very helpful in finding the nearest churches for Mass and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. We Catholics have a wonderful gift in the Eucharist and we should seek Him out at every opportunity.
3. Be a light for Christ.
What does being a light for Christ mean? How can it be manifested in us? Francis Fernandez shares this observation from In Conversation with God: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the light of the world.’ The light of the disciple is the light of the Master himself. In the absence of this light of Christ, society becomes engulfed in the most impenetrable darkness. Christians are to illuminate the environment in which they live and work. A follower of Christ necessarily gives light. The very witness of a Christian life, and good works done in a supernatural spirit, are effective in drawing men to the faith and to God. Let us ask ourselves today about our effect on those who live side by side with us, those who have dealings with us for professional or social reasons. Do they see this light which illuminates the way that leads to God? Do these same people feel themselves moved, by their contact with us, to lead better lives?” (Vol. 5, 69–70).
4. Let love drive our actions.
Agape, the Greek word for selfless love, is the magic elixir that should drive our daily work activities. It is by acting in a selfless and charitable way towards others and putting their needs before our own that people will truly begin to see Jesus at work in us. It is so easy to focus on our own desires and needs, but take up the challenge to make today about serving others. Even the little acts of selfless kindness will have a dramatic impact on the people around us.
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