Discerning our vocation means following Jesus Christ. By following Jesus, He will reveal or make known our vocation. Each person is called to grow in holiness, rejecting sin and growing in virtue. How do we know if we are following Jesus Christ? We must have a good relationship with Him.
Growing in Holiness with Christ
10 Pillars of Holiness to put into practice
Begin each day by making a Morning Offering
“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of the Holy Father and for the intention of (your intentions).”
Take a couple of minutes around the middle of the day to stop and talk to God
Jesus care about every detail of our life. From our joys and sufferings, failures and victories, He want us to share everything with Him. Take five minuets in the middle of the day to have a chat with Him about your day.
Examination of Conscience each night
Before you go to bed, make an examination of conscience, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as to how you have loved today.
Then pray the Act of Contrition:
“My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.”
Find some time during the day to pray at least one decade of the Rosary.
Never miss Sunday Mass and go to Daily Mass whenever you can.
Make a good confession once a month
- Before entering the confessional, pray to God the Holy Spirit for His light and His grace.
- Examine your conscience.
- Be sorry for your sins; try to have the perfect sorrow of love.
- Make a firm resolution not to sin again, to avoid the near occasions of sin.
- In the confessional, make the sign of the cross with the priest.
- Say to the priest: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been _________ weeks/months/years since my last confession and these are my sins.”
- Confess your sins openly and candidly. Make sure you mention all mortal sins and, as best you can, the number of times each was committed. When you are through, say “I am sorry for these sins, and all the sins I cannot now remember.”
- Listen to the advice of the priest. Feel free to ask him any questions about the faith that you are not sure about, such as whether or not something is a sin. The priest will then give you a penance.
- Say the Act of Contrition when the priest asks you to.
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Confession
“Merciful Lord, with a pure heart I thank you for taking away my sins. Let your Holy Spirit guide my life so that my soul may bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Renew my desire to be your faithful friend and servant, increase my loving dependence on you. And grant me that joy and peace of heart which comes from doing your holy will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Final Prayer after Reconciliation
“Thank you God for once again proving to me Your endless generosity in forgiving my many sins and offenses. I rely on Your grace to heal and strengthen my weak human nature, so that I may serve you more faithfully from this day on. I am determined that my life shall reflect the increase of grace You have given me by this Sacrament. Accept my sorrow, and my renewed love for You in reparation also for the offenses of all my loved ones, my friends, and those of all men. Through the saving grace of our Redeemer, may we all place ourselves totally at Your service. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.”
Make a weekly Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
Set aside 10-15 minutes for meditation on Holy Scripture, doing Lectio Divina
A VERY ANCIENT art, practiced at one time by all Christians, is the technique known as lectio divina – a slow, contemplative praying of the Scriptures which enables the Bible, the Word of God, to become a means of union with God.
Follow the four steps below and use suggested scripture passages:
Reading in the monastic tradition involved placing the divine word on the lips. It was a focusing and centering device. One would gently read a selection from the Bible, and when a thought, line, or word stood out and captured the reader’s attention, he or she would stop there and dwell on that text, carefully repeating it over and over. At each distraction one would simply return to this repetition. He or she would stay with that same text until it dried up, and would then move on with the reading until finding another engaging text.
Once the word of God is on the lips and in the mouth, one begins to bite and chew it; one begins to meditate on it. To meditate means to ruminate, to chew the word, dwelling at leisure on a morsel to extract the meaning of the text. Every word of Scripture has meaning for you. Every text speaks of Christ and His relationship to the one praying. One does not work hard at this prayer, but simply keeps listening to the words being repeated, letting them suggest their own images, reflections, intuitive thoughts. One ponders and perceives the hidden lessons in the word of God in such a way that wisdom for life is learned. Meditation seeks to acquire the mind of Christ. One slowly begins to see what the scriptures are saying.
“Oration” or prayer is the response of the heart to the word of God we have heard addressing us through the Scriptures. It is petition, it is affective conversation with sentiments of love, it is resolution to grow in the virtues of Christ, it is compunction of heart for one’s sins, it is silent company-keeping, it is the loving gaze.
Here God takes the soul’s thirst and feeds its hunger. God lifts the one praying above the normal meditative self into the sphere of experienced transcendence. Here the Spirit prays in the human spirit. The love of God is no longer abstract, but concretely poured into the receiving self. One can see oneself being loved and loving in return. We are speaking of pure gift at this point.
The Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
The holiest and most necessary practice in the spiritual life is that of the presence of God. It consists in taking delight in and becoming accustomed to His divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with Him all the time, at every moment, without rule or measure; especially in times of temptation, suffering, aridity, weariness, even infidelity and sin. We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts.
During our work and other activities, even during our reading and writing, no matter how spiritual – and, I emphasize, even during our religious exercises and vocal prayers – we must stop for a moment, as often as possible, to adore God in the depths of our hearts, to savor him, even though in passing and stealthily. Since you are aware that God is present to you during your actions, that he is in the depths and center of your heart, stop your activities and even your vocal prayers, at least from time to time, to adore him within, to praise him, to ask his help, to offer him your heart, and to thank him. Nothing is more pleasing to God than to turn away from all creatures many times throughout the day to withdraw and adore him present within. Moreover, this turning inward imperceptibly destroys the self-love found only among creatures. In the end, we can offer God no greater evidence of our fidelity than by frequently renouncing and scorning creatures in order to enjoy their Creator for a moment. This exercise gradually destroys the self-love only found among creatures. Turning to God frequently rids us of self-love without our even realizing it.
This presence of God is the soul’s life and nourishment, which can be acquired by the Lord’s grace. Here are the means: a great fidelity to the practice of his presence and to the fostering of this awareness of God within, which must always be carried out gently, humbly, and lovingly, without giving in to any disturbance. We must take special care that this inner awareness precedes our activities somewhat, that it accompanies them from time to time. We must not get discouraged when we forget this holy practice, for all that is needed is to calmly take it up again; once the habit is formed we will find contentment in everything.
This practice of the presence of God is very helpful for mental prayer, for it will be easier to remain calm during mental prayer when the mind, not allowed to take flight during the day, is kept faithfully in God’s presence.
Since all of life is full of dangers and hazards, it is impossible to avoid them without God’s constant help. We cannot ask him for this help if we are not with him. We cannot be with him unless we think of him often. We cannot think of him often except by a holy habit of keeping ourselves in his presence, asking him for the graces we need at every moment.
Nothing can comfort us more in life’s trials and sufferings than this intimate conversation with God. Practiced faithfully, all physical illnesses will be easy to bear. God often permits us to suffer in order to purify our souls and to make us remain with him. Practiced faithfully, all physical illnesses will be easy to bear. If we are with God, and want him alone, we are incapable of suffering. We must therefore adore him in our infirmities, offering him our sufferings from time to time, asking him lovingly, as a child does his father, to be conformed to his holy will, and for the help of his grace. These short prayers are very appropriate for the sick and are an excellent remedy for pain.
We do not always have to be in church to be with God. We can make of our hearts an oratory where we can withdraw from time to time to converse with him there. Everyone is capable of these familiar conversations with God. A brief lifting up of the heart is enough, a brief remembrance of God, an act of inner adoration, even though on the run. These prayers, short as they may be, are very pleasing to God.
Do at least one work of charity and mercy each day
Do something kind for another person. Jesus commands us to do acts of love for other, for what we do and what we fail to do for our brothers and sisters we do or fail to do for Jesus (See Matthew 25:40). Do one selfless act, in which your only reward is loving in the name of Jesus Christ.