“Get your priorities straight.” “Set measurable, attainable goals for yourself.” “Make a list of what is most important to you.” We’ve all heard them — phrases that are repeated over and over again, supposedly inspiring us to grow faithfully, scholastically, and professionally.
Making that list of priorities is easy. But sticking to it? Way harder! And how do we keep God at the center of our lives (and at the top of our priority list) when so many things are vying for our attention? Luckily, today’s prescription helps us to revamp those priorities — and offers support on how to keep them.
Number 1: Stop making God your first priority.
This advice from Christian author Gregory Coles offers a refreshing perspective, once the shock of his words dissipates. “If you were asked to make a list of your top priorities, faith, family, friends, and your job might make the list,” Coles writes. “Stop making God your first priority.” Wait, what? Isn’t God supposed to be my first priority at all times?
Coles looks at it a bit differently. “Don’t demote God to #2, or #3, or #67, between #66 (stylish wall decor) and #68 (organic breakfast cereals),” he insists. “I’m not saying that your life would be better off with less God in it. I’m saying that God is too important to be just your first priority.” In other words, when God is one check-box on your list of priorities, there are a million other things on that list which are simply distracting us from our relationship with him.
Well, if God isn’t number 1, 2, 3, or 67, where is he? Coles has the answer: “When God is your first priority, he might get 10 or 20 hours a week. But then real life kicks in, and you’re back . . . trying to take care of all those other priorities you neglected while giving God your best.” Referencing John 13:35 — “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another”—Coles urges us to make God the only priority we have. He should be the whole list, “the substance of every part, the logic behind every choice you make.”
Number 2: Make going to Mass a priority.
Going to Mass is an active, committed experience; it is probably the most direct expression of our faith. But since prescription number one is encouraging us to live our entire lives through Christ (not just compartmentalizing certain parts for him), shouldn’t going to Mass be unnecessary? Definitely not, says Pope Francis. “How can we carry out the Gospel without drawing the energy needed to do it, one Sunday after another, from the limitless source of the Eucharist?”
Living a moral life, showing love to others, is of paramount importance, but it is impossible to do that without the support of our time at Mass. We “need to take part in Sunday Mass because only with the grace of Jesus . . . can we put into place his commandment, [and] be his credible witnesses.”
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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