Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"How to Be a Better Catholic"

Eucharistic Adoration this Friday will be from 7:30-8:30 pm in the SAA Church.
The following comes from “How to Be a Better Catholic” in the Daily Roman Missal (6th Edition, 2003).

Spiritual Game Plan

- Get up at a fixed time, as early as possible. Eight hours of sleep should be enough. More than this or less than seven hours of sleep is usually not healthy.
- Offer your day to God through the intercession of our Lady.
- Work with order and intensity during the day as a way of serving God. Set goals and establish priorities in order to develop a practical schedule. Sanctifying ordinary work is the goal of our life.
- Try to attend Mass, receiving holy Communion, as often as possible. This is the best sacrifice we can offer to God. Prepare yourself for the Mass by spending some time in prayer.
- Spend some time in mental prayer before the Blessed Sacrament (15 minutes, if possible).
- Pray the Angelus at noontime (During Eastertime, say the Regina Caeli instead).
- Pray the Rosary – if possible with your family – offering each decade for a specific intention.
- Do some spiritual reading, Start with the New Testament or some well-known spiritual book. Ten to fifteen minutes is sufficient.
- Make a short examination of conscience at the end of the day before going to bed. Two or three minutes is enough. Follow these steps: Humble yourself in the presence of God. Tell him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”. Ask for light to acknowledge your defects and virtues and to see the dangers and opportunities of the day. Ask for repentance, amendment, and encouragement.

- Center all activities around the holy Mass on Sunday, the Lord’s day. It is also a family day – for rest and spiritual growth.
- If you do not receive holy Communion every day, receive at least on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
- Saturday is traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Honor her and some special prayer, such as the Hail Holy Queen.

- Go to Confession at least once a month. It is a sacrament of joy. Pope John Paul II says, “God is always the one who is principally offended by sin – ‘tibi soli peccavi’ (‘Against you only have I sinned’) – and God alone can forgive.” He does so through the ministry of the priest in the sacrament of Penance, which “is the ordinary way of obtaining forgiveness and remission of mortal sins committed after Baptism.” “every serious sin must always be stated with its determining circumstances, in an individual confession.” (Reconciliation and Penance, 33).
- Seek and follow the spiritual guidance of a wise, prudent, and knowledgeable priest.
- Spend a few hours in recollection, best done before the Blessed Sacrament. Consider how you are directing your life toward God.

- Spend two or three days each year in silence, speaking with God only. A few days of retreat are necessary for the soul in the same way that the body needs a vacation. It is a yearly opportunity for conversion.

- Stay in the presence of God: be aware that he is always close to you. Try to please him in everything as a child tries to please his/her parents.
- Thank God for the graces that he constantly gives you.
- Do everything for love of God: this is purity of intention. Always purify your intention. Make acts of contrition and atonement for your sins and sins of others.
- Try to live as you would like to die. We shall die as we have lived.


At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I got to the end of the daily routine part of a spiritual game plan, where it says, “two or three minutes is enough”, in terms of time needed to examine one’s conscience, my flash thought was of Christian Comedian Anita Renfroe’s “24 hours of being a mom” (youtube.com).

Ms. Renfroe’s sense of humor does a great job at portraying the pace I often feel today’s world commands. When thoughts of, “yeah right, will I ever get to the point where I feel relaxed enough to remember, yet alone reflect, on my day in two to three minutes?” and “how am I going to find the time to do one more thing on my ‘honey do’ list?” come to mind, I know I’m doing something wrong. Worse yet, I don’t think I’m alone with thoughts of, “I’ve got a lot to do and not enough time to do it all, maybe I’ll start my game plan tomorrow.”

Seeing the spiritual game plan in a simple and concise format made me realize how much more I can do to deepen my faith. I have a lot of refocusing and reprioritizing to do, but, I have a lifetime over which to do it. For this, I need to spend a few minutes in reflection, with thanks for what I have, and hope that I can achieve more. The post is a good reminder.

Thanks FG, for taking the time to keep this blog site fresh and interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever walked away without learning or thinking about something, both of which I enjoy. Hopefully, our responses offered or questions posed enlighten you as well.

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

Maybe I have this wrong..

"Do everything for love of God: this is purity of intention. Always purify your intention. Make acts of contrition and atonement for your sins and sins of others."

I’d always thought of doing acts for others as a means of doing something for the love of God. It has been (although, honestly- not always) a driving force in my life. The part of this, however, that doesn’t make sense to me is the part about making acts of contrition and atonement for the sins of others. Is this intended to follow the, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do?” Are we called to ask for forgiveness on another’s’ behalf and make atonement for them too? Are we to be a go-between for others in their relationships with God? That’s a pretty large call.

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our interreligious dialogue may also help us "Be a Better Catholic."

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a statement released at the conclusion of the sixth colloquium between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Center for Interreligious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.
The colloquium began Monday and ended today.
* * *
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (Vatican) and the Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation (Tehran, Iran) held their sixth Colloquium in Rome from 28 - 30 April 2008...

The participants, with the help of six papers presented by three scholars from each side, examined the theme Faith and Reason in Christianity and Islam, which was developed through three subthemes from the point of view of Catholics and Shi'a Muslims: 1) Faith and reason: Which relation? 2) Theology/Kalam as inquiry into the rationality of faith; 3) Faith and reason confronted with the phenomenon of violence.

And the end of the meeting the participants agreed upon the following:
1. Faith and reason are both gifts of God to mankind.
2. Faith and reason do not contradict each other, but faith might in some cases be above reason, but never against it.
3. Faith and reason are intrinsically non-violent. Neither reason nor faith should be used for violence; unfortunately, both of them have been sometimes misused to perpetrate violence. In any case, these events cannot question either reason or faith.
4. Both sides agreed to further co-operate in order to promote genuine religiosity, in particular spirituality, to encourage respect for symbols considered to be sacred and to promote moral values.
5. Christians and Muslims should go beyond tolerance, accepting differences, while remaining aware of commonalities and thanking God for them. They are called to mutual respect, thereby condemning derision of religious beliefs.
6. Generalization should be avoided when speaking of religions. Differences of confessions within Christianity and Islam, diversity of historical contexts are important factors to be considered.

7. Religious traditions cannot be judged on the basis of a single verse or a passage present in their respective holy Books. A holistic vision as well as an adequate hermeneutical method is necessary for a fair understanding of them.
The participants expressed their satisfaction with the level of the presentations and the debates as well as the open and friendly atmosphere during the colloquium.
The participants were honoured and pleased to be received at the end of the colloquium by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who was particularly satisfied with the choice of the theme and the venue of the meeting.
The next colloquium will be held in Tehran within two years, preceded by a preparatory meeting.

Christ is our Hope. Let us pray that Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, is also Hope.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger fran said...

"Center all activities around the Holy Mass, on Sunday, the Lord's day. It is also a family day...."

Here are some excerpts from a pamphlet titled "How to Celebrate Sunday as a Catholic." You can find a copy, on the table, with the Sunday bulletin and other materials, in the entry to the church.

"Whoever enters into God's reat, rests from his own works as God did from his." - Heb. 4:10

When we observe Sunday as a day of rest, it offers us physical renewal, but it also gives our souls a chance to catch up with our busy lives. Sunday offers us the opportunity to reflect on the spiritual side of our existence, to appreciate our blessings, and to draw closer to God.

When we set aside time for God, we begin to see everything from a different persepctive. Our lives no longer spin out of control, because we know in the depths of our being that God is in charge. We can let go of our own agendas. We can look forward to Sunday as a holy day because we begin to see that, ultimately, everything rests with God.

If you are going to reclaim the Lord's Day, you have to make it a priority. Imagine what your Sunday would be like if you and your family decided to "Keep Sunday Holy."

+ What kinds of things would yo do?

+ What kinds of things would you refrain from doing?

+ Are there any new traditions you might start?

+ Are there any old family traditions that you might resurrect?

The best advice for modern-day Catholics who want to reclaim Sunday as a day of rest is to start slowly. Remember, there are no mechanisms in today's society to support your decision to make Sunday a holy day.

Think of one thing that you will stop doing on Sunday and replace that one thing with something spiritual or restful that puts God into your Sunday in a special way. Once this becomes a normal part of your Sunday, drop something else and replace it with another new activity that will help you to make Sunday holy.

"The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings." - Pope John Paul II


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