Today I had a fun birthday gathering with traditional Catholics. One of the fathers asked me how he could grow spiritually as a good Catholic. First it is such a joy to actually talk with families, and especially husbands, who would like to grow in holiness. Here is what I replied:
1) Get rid of the Television. It is getting worse and worse in it shows and it’s advertisements. Don’t forget the only reason for TV is to sell you things you do not need. Here at St. Catherine of Siena, Phoenix Arizona the Latin Mass families help out in so many ways around the parish. Why do they help and the other parishioners not? Because they are not watching TV. When you are trying hard to be holy and traditional, you avoid many things that take up you time. Here are some examples. Since you do not party you will not waste time being sick from a hang overs. Since you work on your marriage, you do not waste time fighting with your spouse. Since God has become the center of your life you are full and do not need to spend a lot of time shopping to fill up your emptiness. Because you are trying to live a holy life you are not wasting time being unfaithful to your spouse or looking at pornography. Living a life of sin and drama is very draining and time consuming. And while I am at it, do not let our kids waste time on all the games on the computer and cell phones. Get them to help around the house, do their homework, or play outside.
2) Get away from friends and family that lead you to sin. Some of us are very gullible, weak and can be easily influenced by friends and family members. Find new friends that will encourage you in being a better christian.
3) Have a healthy prayer life. That means taking time everyday to be quiet with God. Go to the Latin Mass as often as possible during the week. Pray the Holy Rosary as a family everyday after dinner. If you can, spend at least an hour adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Spend your day as you go about your duties offering up what you do to God.
4) Study the Bible. Reading the Bible can be a joy if you take a small amount of time to sit and read it. The Bible is very interesting once you get into the habit of reading it. Ideally it would be good to be in a Bible Study for men and for women. I recommend the Douay-Rheims Version of the Holy Bible. Get a concordance of the Bible. A concordance is a book where you can look any word that is in the Bible and find the passage you may want to find. Say you do not know where in the Bible is says “the love of money is the root of all evil”. So you can look up the word, love or money or root or evil and it will give you the passage to look up. It helps if you know if it is in the Old or New Testament. It even helps more if you have an idea what book or Gospel it is in. Reading the Bible helps encourage us to do what it tells us to do. It is a grace that keeps our eyes on God and His teachings.
5) If you have the time, read the spiritual classics like: “The Story of a Soul” by St. Therese , “The Soul of the Apostolate”, “Practicing the Presence of God” Br Lawrence, “The Imitation of Christ” Kempis, “Interior Castles” by St.Theresa of Avila, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius”, “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross”, “The Classics of Catholic Spirituality”, “Spiritual Advice from the Saints”. Many of these classics can be obtained from Tan Books or St. Benedict Press. Phone 800 437-5876
6) Read the writings of the saints or their biographies. If you can, get a Martyrolgy which tells about the way the martyrs died.
7) Go to Confession every month. But when you go, really be sorry for the sins you have committed and really promise you are not going to repeat this sin again.
8) Study the history of the Catholic Church and in particular Luther’s Revolution (otherwise known as the protestant reformation), the French Revolution (a great book on this is “For Altar and Throne” by Michael Davis and the Cristeros counter revolution in Mexico (1926-29).
9) Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have faith that when you are trying to grow in holiness, God and Mary will be helping you. We do our part and we also trust God will do his part. Never let the devil discourage you.
10) Pray to know God’s will and try to put it into your life plans. God wills us to be happy. Anything that goes against God’s will, will not make us happy. Sin is absolutely not God’s will or in the plan for our life. Through prayer and holy friends we can discover God’s will for our lives. Husbands and wives can pray and talk together to try to discern God’s will. Even asking the children is helpful. Once we are pretty sure (and I do not think we can ever be absolutely sure what God’s will is) we need to act on it. This will take a lot of faith in trying to make the changes that God wants us to make in our lives. Trust God, because He made us and loves us.
Here is a story by Don Mondell “The Devil’s Yard Sale”.
“One day, the devil laid out his gleaming, razor-edged tools upon a worn and ancient wooden table. He announced a “fire” sale and carefully marked the price upon each tool:
Anger: $100, Resentment: $400, Hatred: $600, etc.
Each tool sold almost as quickly as it was placed upon the table. Toward the end of the day, a crooked old man in tattered rags approached. The man eyed the tools that remained, but was taken by a certain tool at the end of the table. The tool resembled the tow long and bowed fangs of a viper. Its chrome-like pointy tusks caught the sun and sent flashes of blinding light everywhere. With on hand, the old man blocked his eyes from the glare and with the other, he reached for the tool. As he grabbed hold, the tool’s steely, needle tips nearly pierced his hand. This seemed to please the old man. He snatched up the tool and held it to his chest. With a glint in his eye, the man asked the devil, “How much for this one?” “I’m sorry, that tool is not for sale,” the devil replied. Without hesitation, the man said, “But I’ll pay double. I know how valuable it is.”
The devil narrowed his eyes and hissed, “Sir, I’ve told you, that tool is not for sale, nor will I ever sell it. It is the most useful tool I own and without it, I wouldn’t be half as effective in my work. With that tool alone, I can accomplish my every task. Now good day sir.” Dejected, the man look once more at the shinny tool, then slowly placed it on the table. With almost a whisper, he said to the Devil, “If I can not buy it, would you, at least tell me its name?” A slow and wicked grin grew across the devil’s face. “Of course, old man, its name is…… Discouragement.”
It is so healthy, satisfying and wonderful being a traditional Catholic.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.