Our Sunday message series that we’re calling, Bold Moves, is laying the groundwork for us to take the next step in obedience to God’s desire for our lives. This week’s message underscores the power of constructing a spiritual infrastructure that will support and sustain whatever bold move you end up making for God.
While a spiritual foundation is essential for Christian discipleship, there are many ways to ground your faith. Here are a just four basic but bold steps that will provide a strong foothold for your spiritual life.
1. Set Priorities
Children often stall at bedtime because they don’t want to miss anything. As our society becomes increasingly frantic, insisting that happiness ensues from taking part in every possible activity, setting priorities for ourselves and our children is the only proper adult response. While prioritizing may sound simple, it’s far from painless. It requires discipline to jettison extraneous pursuits. When it comes to strengthening your spiritual life, less actually is more. Sit down with your family and create a time budget. Set in stone the truly important things like prayer, quiet time, and Sunday Mass. Then fill in the blanks.
2. Establish a Spiritual Rhythm
For centuries, monks and nuns have regulated their lives according to the hours of the day and a careful measurement of time. The sounding of church bells at regular hours established a predictable pattern and pace of prayer, work, and communal activities. To develop a spiritual rhythm in your life, consider marking time. Set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to stop and pray at certain times of the day. Give pride of place to morning and evening by waking with gratitude and examining your day before going to bed. Whatever you do, make it a habit.
3. Choose One Spiritual Activity
The desire to achieve spiritual perfection can thwart even the best laid plans. Know your limits. Trying to do too much actually can result in spiritual laziness, called acedia, or even paralysis. While dabbling in and switching up a well-established routine of pious practices can reinvigorate a tired spirituality, it’s usually best to adhere to just a few activities. Devotional prayers like the rosary, journaling, walking in nature, daily Mass, adoration, and spiritual reading all are good candidates. Start by choosing just one and sticking to it every day.
4. Make Sundays Matter
Liturgy is both “the source” of our spiritual growth and “the summit” towards which our daily religious habits are directed (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 10, 14). Sundays therefore should be the high point of the week. A spiritual life without Sunday Mass will wither and die, just as Sunday Mass without a private spiritual life will always seem hollow and pointless. Cap off the week by making Sundays matter. Every time.
Start your spiritual infrastructure today and then get ready for your bold move.
Father Roger Gustafson