It is the beginning of a new year. It is a time to reflect and look back on the previous year (both the good and the bad), give thanks and to also improve ourselves for the year ahead.
The ultimate destination for us is heaven. Only Saints are in heaven. This is why we are here. This is our destiny.
So if we want to improve ourselves then we must become a Saint – we must train (I recommend the article “Comfort Catholicism Must Go!” by Fr. Richard Heilman). We must train both spiritually and physically (both are connected, we are incarnate beings, the spiritual manifests in the physcial). If we are physically unfit it is a good sign that we too might also be spiritually unfit. We must discipline ourselves in developing good habbits, saintly habbits.
Confession is the first and best place to start. Through the Sacrament of Reconcilitation our relationship with God is restored and the flow of Grace is re-established.
Grace is what will get us through our sin but we also need to do our part in cooperating with God’s Grace. This is why it is important to be disciplined. In the Bible it says, “They die for lack of discipline, and because of their great folly they are lost.” (Proberbs 5:23) This is huge! This is also very difficult since today we have grown to be comfortable in our hedonistic society that we can have what we want when we want it and we want it now – discipline is a character trait that is severely lacking. It is lacking not just in our society, where you have more and more people expecting the government to look after them and the rates of obesity in kids and adults continue to hit new records every year. But it is also important to have spiritual discipline. As a Church we have become spiritually lax in our faith to the point now where many people don’t show up any more since there is little to no difference with what the church is demanding and what the world is demanding.
Now I am not saying this out of judgement but out of concern and we are seeing the words in Proverbs “They die for lack of discipline” coming true to God’s people in the Old Testament but also today in places that were traditionally part of Christendom.
You might be saying to yourself “But, doesn’t Christ meet us where we are?” “Doesn’t God accept me for who I am?”. The answer is “Yes” BUT Christ does not want to leave you where you are, He wants to take you further! Christ always met the person where they are but He never kept them there. He always told them to “sin no more” and/or to follow Him. God the Father accepts you for who you are but like any good father, the father pushes his children since he knows and sees the potiential in his children that the children are either not aware of or lack the motivation to achieve their fullest potiential.
As Christians, we train and prepare for eternal rewards. As St. Paul says, ““Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
That prize is heaven. Only Saints are in heaven.
The question is what are you going to do with your time? Are you training for the prize of being with Our Lord in heaven?
What drives you? Living a holy life is a lot of small things done well trying to do the will of God- day after day, prayer after prayer, sacrifice after sacrifice, temptation after temptation, day after day.
This year, lets strive to become the person God created us to be – a Saint. Become disciplined.Let’s discipline our spiritual and physcial lives this year of 2017. I know for me I have a lot of work to do.
With the 100th anniversary of Fatima coming up this year perhaps it is even more prudent…
Best chance of success is get yourself an accountability partner. If you need more motivation then write a cheque to an organization that you cannot stand, give it to your accountability partner and if you do not meet your goal by the target date then they are to mail off the cheque.
- Go to Confession at least once a month or when a mortal sin is committed (which ever comes first)
- No Bible no breakfast, no bible no bed.
- Pray the Rosary daily. Best times to pray would be on your commute to work or while you are running/jogging.
- Try to go to Mass one extra day a week. Usually Saturday morning Mass is the easiest for those who cannot make it during the work week.
- Exercise: workout, jog, etc.
- Practice temprerance. Every meal make a small sacrifice for the Lord. (i.e. instead of 2 scoops of food maybe 1, or skip the salt, or no alcohol except on Sundays, etc.)
- Always be active. Walk, take the stairs, bike, etc. where ever you can. Just keep moving.
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