Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Called to be Holy


Here is the key to our spiritual growth: a faithful, personal, loving relationship with Jesus. To know Jesus, to hear Jesus, to love Jesus, to trust Jesus, to obey Jesus, to share his life in the deepest fiber of our being, and then to serve him — this is our goal.

How do we grow in holiness? How? That, of course, is our spiritual program, isn't it, the stewardship of the spirit, "the regimen of the soul bringing about the reign of God," to quote servant of the poor Charles de Foucauld. I propose to you a spiritual regimen, a stewardship of the spirit coming not from me, but from centuries of practice and learning.

1. Daily Prayer
Patient, persevering, persistent prayer, every day, is number one. Here I am not speaking of the Mass — such as the Eucharist — but of silent, personal, private prayer, a daily period of quiet communion with the Lord, conscious of his presence, accepting of his love, and returning it with praise, petition, and thanksgiving.

2. Daily Mass
From this daily Eucharistic meal will come, for all celebrate the Eucharist as the essential moment in their day, a reverential awe for the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and a desire to spend time before him there in visits and prayer.

3. Daily Fidelity to the Liturgy of the Hours
This ancient prayer of the Church is mostly associated with those in Holy Orders. It is also intended to be the prayer of the laity, who “are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1175).

4. Daily Spiritual Reading
Lectio divina, daily reverent meditation upon Sacred Scripture, is first and foremost, of course, but I also speak of daily spiritual reading of the enduring books of our Catholic tradition, as well as interest in the burgeoning contemporary literature on the interior life. Nor should we forget attention to the documents of the magisterium, the words of our Holy Father, the documents of the Apostolic See, the messages and pastorals of our own bishops, all vehicles of the Holy Spirit for fostering our growth in sanctity.

5. Spiritual Direction
An honest, trusting, fruitful, consistent relationship with a spiritual director is, in some ways, the linchpin of all the rest, for this is where integration and interiorization begin to take place. The danger we all face is a life of formalism, where we passively do things just to get by, not allowing the values of formation to sink in and become part of us. Spiritual direction can promote this interiorization, this integration.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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