I often find myself encouraging people, especially young people, to be intentional about seeking holiness though spiritual growth. Whether we want to run a marathon or grow a business, we have a plan for most of our goals in life, especially the ones we’re actually successful at. Yet, in our spiritual lives, few of us even consider developing a plan to grow in holiness. Like most of the things worth doing in life, the task is not easy, but the plan is not complicated. I recommend three things:
- Daily Prayer – This means quiet time for just you and the Lord. The Dynamic Catholic Institute has a great Prayer Process. I recommend it often, as so many people simply don’t know how to pray. I do recommend adding one step: silence. We hear in the gospel, “What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.” Matt 10:27 If you want to hear the voice of G_d, you have to listen in silence.
- The Sacraments – Recieve the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist as often as necessary and possible, respectively. People often tell me it is hard to get to Reconciliation, especially. I usually suggest asking a priest if he can hear a confession after Mass. Except in rare circumstances, they are usually willing. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once per month is a good goal. As for the Eucharist, find time to go to daily Mass, if not every day, at least regularly. The Eucharist provides incredible grace, not only drawing is closer the to Father, but it is also, quite literally, food for the journey, giving us strength to resist the temptation of sin, furthering our journey towards holiness.
- Spiritual Reading – Spiritual Reading provides outstanding opportunity to grow in our faith and understanding of the Lord. Even just a few minutes, or pages, per day can make a significant difference. Try fifteen minutes or five pages. I recommend starting with The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly, which is available from the Dynamic Catholic Institue for free, but there are a whole host of books available.
Like most plans, the execution is the difficult part. Setting aside time every day to do these three things is challenging. And the prince of lies does what he does best, using our own fears, uncertainties, and doubts against us, convincing us of things like, “I’m too busy.” Or, “I just don’t have time for that.” Fifteen minutes for prayer and fifteen minutes for reading are possible. We just have to want them. Daily Mass is usually about thirty minutes and is often available early in the morning, before work or for some, over the lunch hour or in the evening.
Make some time to grow in holiness and give this simple, if challenging, plan a try.