Summer Spiritual Growth Kit
A Plan of Life*
Here is a "top 10" list to help you live Jesus over the summer.
Choose one or two to add to your life!
1. The Heroic Minute. Begin the day with a victory! Get up when you have decided you need to. (This implies that you went to bed when you needed to – see #9!) Seize the day, don't be dragged into it. Here’s a prayer for getting out of bed: Sleep is the image of death, and rising the image of the resurrection! Amen.
2. Morning Offering. Make God your first thought. Give the day to God first thing. This will help you in at least two ways. First, you will have a good reason for doing everything well, even the most boring things, if you are giving them to God. Also, you will be less likely to do bad things, if you have the intention of doing all for God. Can you offer Him something bad? A sample morning offering:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings for all the intentions of Your most Sacred Heart in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in thanksgiving for Your favors, in reparation for my sins, for all the intentions of my friends and family, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.
3) Mental Prayer. Pray with your thoughts. It's that simple. Set aside 10 minutes of quiet time in a quiet place for God each day. Using a passage from the Gospels as a starting point, think about Jesus. Be with ... Him.
4) Holy Mass. Of course, go to Mass every Sunday. Prepare yourself before you go, and when you are there connect yourself to Jesus offering Himself to the Father. Go to Mass whenever possible. How about that church around the corner from where you live or the one you pass on the way to work? When do they have daily Mass? Any day during which you worthily assist at Mass is a perfect day, according to St. John Vianney.
5) Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Even if you do not or cannot go to daily Mass, try to make visits to Jesus in the tabernacle of any Catholic Church. He's there and happy to see you. This is the best place to do any of your praying or reading. Prayer for a visit to Jesus:
My Lord and My God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence. I beg pardon for my sins and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph my father and Lord, My Guardian Angel, intercede for me. Amen
6) Spiritual Reading. It's like summer reading, only better. How about Luke/Acts (They’re a package)? Maybe use this reading as the basis for your mental prayer. (See #3 – An integrated solution!) If you want more to read, I suggest the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales.
7) Devotion. Remind yourself of God throughout the day. Remember the Blessed Mother. You can squeeze in a Rosary or at least a decade lots of times -- in the car, walking to a meeting, waiting for an appointment, etc.
8) Apostolate. The word sounds unusual, but the reality isn't. Apostolate simply means that you intend to be with Jesus all the time. Since He is with you, anyone that you are with -- your family, friends, and co-workers – are with Him too, and He can influence them. Usually this does not involve anything explicit on our part (sometimes it does, such as praying before a meal in a restaurant), but it means that we want everyone we know to experience the peace and joy of being with Him. Simply intend for Him to be involved in everything you are involved in. Then you will serve.
9) End the Day Well. Get yourself ready for bed when you have decided you need to go to bed. Then do an examination of conscience. First, look for your sins of the day and tell God you are sorry. Also, thank God for the blessings of the day. Then go to bed. Don't waste time at night (See #1).
10) Regular Confession. Go to confession frequently, and you will know the peace and joy of God more and more. Confession gives you a conscience free of sin and the grace you need to avoid your sins in the future. Great deal! Maybe take a friend along (see #8).