We get it. You already have a to-do list that is long. This list isn’t meant to guilt you into an impossible regimen on top of your already crammed day.
The goal is to start incorporating one or two of these things into your day and then keep working until these actions become a natural part of who you are. Make them essential healthy habits – like brushing your teeth – so that you don’t even have to think twice about getting them done.
Below is a powerful talk in which Fr. Larry Richards speaks about eternity. He uses a word picture to help us put our minds around the amount of time we will spend there. Please, please take a moment to listen to this clip. If you’re in a hurry, fast forward to the 1:50 point to start and stop at 3:30. Take a few minutes out of your day now to inspire you to live for eternity.
After hearing that talk, I’ve been more inspired to align my days here on Earth to match what I want my days in eternity to look like. In light of eternity, a few things on my to-do list don’t seem quite so important. Let your lifestyle reflect your hope of spending eternity with God the Father.
8 Things Catholics Should Do Every Day
1. Start the day with prayer, your Bible, and a talk with your Mother.
It sounds so simple, yet I don’t understand why some days I can’t seem to “fit” in prayer. Our days need to be centered around this habit. Make a date of it. Set your cell phone alarm to a time when you can pray and don’t leave God stranded. Mornings are best, but if it doesn’t work for you find a time that does. Pull out your Bible and read a line or two. The daily Mass readings are a great place to start. A goal for every Catholic is to say the rosary every day, but some of us are in a season of life when this isn’t possible. If you can’t do a rosary, start with at least a Hail Mary and work up to a decade or a chaplet.
“Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.” – St. John Vianney
2. Smile. Use your manners. Be kind. Give out hugs.
Have you heard the old Hymn, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…”? It’s not necessarily true today. Christians have become just as rude and inconsiderate as everyone else, sometimes even more so! Let’s reclaim our Christian love by smiling, letting others go first in line or helping old ladies cross the street.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Blessed Mother Teresa
3. Go on Social Media (i.e., communicate!), call a friend, visit a friend.
Yes, I know we have a bunch of posts about how social media is overused, but go ahead, use it! However, use it in a way that glorifies God. Share a scripture verse with a friend. Check-in on an old classmate. Daily connect with people to build relationships. (Don’t stop there though, make it a weekly goal to get together in person with a friend or family member.)
“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
4. Tell someone you love them and why.
I don’t know anyone who has ever gotten tired of hearing they are loved. It’s even better when they are given a list of reasons why! Whether it is your parents, siblings, or your own children, make it a daily habit to tell at least one person in your life how much you love them.
“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.” -St. Francis de Sales
5. Talk about God.
Make God a part of your whole day, not just your prayer time. Bring Him into conversations with friends, family, even co-workers if you can. We talk about things we love – movies, restaurants, people… but we often fail to talk about God in the same way.
“But this does not mean that we should postpone the evangelizing mission; rather, each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are. All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives.” – Pope Francis
6. Sacrifice something.
It’s so important that we learn to make daily sacrifices and offer them up to the Lord. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Eat bread with no butter. Turn off the radio and drive in silence. It’s the little things that cultivate our holiness and help us to overcome our attachment to things of the world.
“There is no place for selfishness—and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.” – Saint Pope John Paul II
7. Serve in some way.
Look for a way to serve someone every day. Again, this doesn’t have to be something major like heading to Africa on a service trip. It can be doing the dishes for your mom, paying for a stranger’s coffee, or picking up garbage as you walk down the street. Don’t let a day go by in which you did not do something for someone else.
“You know that our Lord does not look at the greatness or difficulty of our action, but at the love with which you do it. What, then, have you to fear?” – St. Therese of the Child Jesus
8. Reflect on your day.
At the end of every day, take a few minutes to think back over the day. An examination of conscience is a great way to do this. Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone you need to seek forgiveness from? Think about the ways in which the Lord provided for you and be thankful for His many blessings. Thank Him! Ask yourself, did I move closer to or further from God through my actions today? How can I do better tomorrow? There is even an app for this created by a priest.
“You must strive with all possible care to please God in such a manner as neither to do nor behold anything, without first consulting Him, and in everything to seek Him alone and His glory.” – St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
For your weekly and monthly planning:
– go to Mass on Sunday (and more frequently if you can through the week)
– go to Adoration
– meet with a friend in person and/or go on a date with your spouse
– go to Confession
– do some type of ministry (help with a youth group, serve in a soup kitchen, etc)
– meet with a spiritual mentor
– Go on a Retreat
These things are just a starting point. What else can and should we be doing to live a life of holiness here on earth? Add your suggestions in the comments below!