Tuesday, January 21, 2014

7 Habits of Highly Effective Catholics

Borrowing an idea from Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I have compiled the following:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Catholics

Habit #1 - Participate in the Sacraments Regularly.
Sunday Mass is a given. To be effective you must also participate in a regular habit of Confession (once a month is a good start) and regular daily Mass, when possible. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament can be tagged on to this as well.

**"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." -Acts 2:42

Habit #2 - Dive Deep into Prayer.
Prayer is the link between God and man. We cannot expect to be good Catholics if we aren't in a personal relationship with God. The foundation of this relationship is a personal daily prayer life.

**"Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thes 5:16-18

Habit #3 - Build Virtue and Root out Vice.
What virtues do we lack? These are what we need to focus on. Pick one virtue you need to improve and work on it. If we can improve in one virtue, then it generally helps raise up others. While doing this try to root out any vices you have, especially those that control you regularly.

**"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." -Phil 4: 8-9

Habit #4 - Know Scripture and Church Teachings.
The more we know about Christ and His Church, the more there is for us to love. The more we can apply to our lives concretely. But, it starts with educating ourselves and knowing what he really taught, not just what we think he taught. This is a life-long process.

**"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work." -2 Tim 3:16

Habit #5 - Practice Joy No Matter the Circumstance.
Easier said than done. Joy is a disposition, not a feeling. Don't confuse Joy with happiness, which comes and goes. We can practice joy through an act of the will and when strengthened by grace. How could Mother Teresa continue to serve the poorest of the poor even though she suffered in the depths of her soul? Joy.

**"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Phil 4:4-7

Habit #6 - Spiritual Direction.
We should live in a constant state of discernment, asking - what does God want from me now? This puts a high value on living in the moment with an eye on combining our will with God's. A good spiritual director is invaluable at helping accomplish this. They can be an objective observer of our lives and the movements of the Holy Spirit.

**"Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him." - Acts 8:30-31

Habit #7 - Share Your Faith.
To keep something as treasured as the truth, goodness, and beauty of Christ to yourself is a selfish attitude. Effective Catholics evangelize regularly through their words and deeds to all. Pope Paul VI said, the Church "exists in order to evangelize."

**"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." -Matt 28: 19-20

-There are certainly others that didn't make the list.
What did I miss?


Ben Trovato said...

Good habits indeed. But where and how does one find an appropriate Spiritual Director?

Deacon Tom Lang said...

#8 Read Deacon Greg Kandra's blog regularly!

rujuta said...

Amazing post... I am gonna share it with all and print it and keep it on my study table to view daily...

Thanks a lot!!!

Johnny said...

I'd like to add 'Love Unconditionally'

Many times during our lives we will face betrayal, rejection, or heart break. Yet, Jesus calls us to love each other as he loved us. We need to meditate on what this means and apply it to the difficult relationships in our lives.

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." John 15:12

Anna Elissa said...

"Joy is a disposition, not a feeling."

Now that got me thinking.

catholicsensibility said...

Matthew 25:31ff: practice works of mercy, corporal or spiritual.


kkollwitz said...

Time, Talent & Treasure.

Edward said...

"All with Peter to Jesus through Mary!" ... Sacramentals (eg, Rosary) and Devotions (eg, Litany), fidelity to the Magisterium ... add this as an eighth and your list is improved

Juanjo Romero said...

Thanks Marcel, I translate the post into Spanish:


SherryTex said...

Beautiful list! Thanks for creating it.

Brad said...

I'm happy to see you started right off the bat with Confession!

Christina said...

You missed that that last scripture passage is Matthew 28:19-20. :)

Marcel said...

Christina - Thanks for pointing that out. It was from memory and I knew that, but must have had a brain freeze at the time. Changed it.

April said...

Thank you, a great list. Joy is a disposititon is like love that is a choice, not a feeling. I am grateful for this clarification in this post!

Ben, there's a great blogsite for answers on Spiritual Direction,
In the meantime, a great book to substitute for a live spiritual director is by St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life.

petrus said...

I'll echo Johnny: Love, without which everything else is just an empty list, a nothing.

If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; (1 Cor 13:1-5)

Marcel said...

Charity is a virtue. Virtue is on the list.

Joel Peddle said...

Great. I like Lorenzo Scupoli's Spiritual Combat. It is all about obtaining virtue via repeated acts with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is key, cause as with Plato's Charioteer, Reason needs petrol, energy.

I teach this stuff at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

I am glad to see about the great Aggie Church Militant!