Life is hard. I mean rrreeeeeaaaaaallllyyyy hard at times. Would you agree? We live in a fast-paced, money-making, reputation-saving society and all this to “keep the peace” at any cost. We also live in the “culture of death” as the great St. Pope John Paul II rightfully deemed it.
Broken homes, broken marriages, broken people. We are all broken, you know? This is where we have a choice. This is where our God-given free will kicks into play.
Choose life, or choose death. (Deuteronomy 30:19). Is it really this simple? Yes!
Every minute of everyday, each of us is faced with choices of many kinds. It could be as simple as answering a phone call or having a small conversation with the person behind you in the checkout line; or it could be as difficult as forgiving an adulterous spouse or choosing life for your child instead of abortion. How about the choice to post that comment on social media or not? It could be making the decision not to have that drink that will lead to more. Whatever your vice or trial, God gives us that choice to make. Choose life, or choose death.
When we are intentional with our day and put Deuteronomy 30:19 into play, it becomes much more clear what Jesus would do. Another excellent tool is the Examination of Conscience. By prayerfully reflecting on our day, focusing on asking the Holy Spirit to guide us and pray that He reveals to us how we have offended God throughout that day, our veil is lifted and we begin to feel true contrition (remorse for our sins). We do not even realize how offensive we are to our Heavenly Father within the choices we make. Through creating this positive habit, we are able to choose life by loving God in all the things we say and do.
This is the path to sainthood….but we aren’t there just yet….
In our daily lives, it is easy to get caught up in this world (the horizontal). We need to focus on Christ (the vertical). How can each of us find the time to put this into practice and make a healthy habit? Here are some steps I’ve applied to my daily and weekly regimen. I hope they help you:
- Morning offering upon waking up. This could be as simple as saying, “Good morning Jesus, I love You and I want to please You today.” Or you can easily find traditional prayers online if you are interested in a more formal greeting.
- Setting reminders on the phone. I have a special prayer for every hour each day starting at 6am until 9pm. Some of these prayers are sentences I’ve created myself, others are from books or quotes from saints that I strive to imitate.
- Daily scripture with reflection. I highly recommend One Bread One Body, which I’ve used for many years. (For parents: please consider finding time in your day to read the daily scripture together as a family! It teaches them so much, and provides quality reading time for all!)
- Attending Mass EVERY Sunday, as well as attempting to go to daily Mass at least once a week. If you cannot attend a daily Mass, try to go to your church while it’s opened and just sit with Jesus in the Tabernacle and enjoy His peace and quiet. If your parish has an Adoration Chapel, I recommend spending an hour a week adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
- Pray the rosary EVERY DAY!! Our Blessed Mother has been calling us to this for centuries!
- Frequent Confession…my family goes to confess our sins once a month (even my 10 and 8 year old). Lately I’ve been trying to go every other week and it’s amazing how many venial sins are revealed through the Holy Spirit. With this, practice your Examination of Conscience.
- Turn off the tv, radio, and log off social media. This one is a struggle for me, but I have to remember that I am a work in progress and none of us are perfect!
- Read. I highly recommend taking a few minutes each day and read The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. It is a treasure for all Church Militants (that is, we living Catholics). Also, take time to learn about the saint of the day.
- Fasting. Choose a purpose for your fast. Are you struggling within your marriage? Fast and pray for your spouse. Want to pray for your child(ren) to find their vocation? Fast and pray. Use fasting and praying as a sacrifice for a particular purpose.
This may seem like too much for some. Start small! Make this your own. If you don’t pray much, start by praying for five minutes a day. Increase in time and before you know it, you’ll be praying two rosaries a day on top of going to daily Mass!
God extends our time the more time we offer to Him. Remember that God’s will is always for our salvation and the choices we make are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30).
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. ~ Deuteronomy 30:19