The Happy Priest on Making a Good Lent and Finding the New You
Many Americans live their lives without any reference to God the creator.
Who am I? This is the most fundamental question that you need to ask yourself during this time of Lent. If we take the time to ask ourselves this essential question, we are confronted with two realities; reality number one: there is a God. Number two: I am not him. I am a creature and I cannot be doing my own deal. The insanity of our times is caused by the fact that many Americans are not listening
There are a lot of great spiritual books out there to help us to change and to grow, but I thought that something simple and practical, something that addresses the challenges that we all face was needed. So, I decided to write a book that would serve as a guide or even a manual on the basics of the spiritual life. Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics is practical, inspirational and easy to follow.
My new book begins with a challenge. Before we can even begin to develop a serious spiritual life, we need to know we are. We need to cut through all of the confusion.
Who am I?
This is the most fundamental question that you need to ask yourself during this time of Lent.
If we take the time to ask ourselves this essential question, we are confronted with two realities; reality number one: there is a God. Number two: I am not him. I am a creature and I cannot be doing my own deal.
The insanity of our times is caused by the fact that many Americans are not listening. Many Americans are doing their own deal and many Americans have been spoiled rotten by an affluent society. Furthermore, many Americans live their lives without any reference to God the creator.
Why did God make me? God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be happy with him in eternal life. Within these simple but profound words we find the purpose and meaning of our lives.
Before you can understand who you are as a Catholic, you need to understand who you are as a human being. You are not a monkey and you do not come from some blob of endless matter in the middle of outer space.
Who are you in the Church of God?
As a lay person, your mom and dad asked your parish priest to baptize you soon after you were born. When your priest poured the waters of baptism over your little head and said, "I baptize you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," you became a member of what Saint Peter calls "the common priesthood of the faithful" (1 Peter 2: 9-10).
As a member of the common priesthood of the faithful, you have certain rights and duties. Within these rights and duties, you have two fundamental tasks.
First of all, you are called by God to be holy. Everyone has the possibility of becoming a saint.
This does not mean that you are going to have beams of light shooting out from your forehead.
Holiness means that you are going to live in union with God through prayer and the seven sacraments. It means that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going to be your way of living out your life within the circumstances of your daily life.
Secondly, your task is to sanctify what the Church calls "the temporal order." The "temporal order" is everything outside of your parish campus. As soon as you leave Mass and pull out into the street, you are in the temporal order.
Your home, your neighborhood, your place of work, your school, the supermarket, the restaurant, the ball field and the movie theater are all part of the temporal order.
You sanctify the temporal order by the way you live out your Christian way of life. However, not only are you to be a witness, you are also called to be active in the vineyard of the Lord. You have limitless possibilities of spreading the Gospel. You have countless opportunities to bring many people to God.
Armed with a clear understanding of your identity, you can begin to be who you are supposed to be and to understand what you are supposed to do. You can't begin to develop a serious spiritual life until you first figure out who you really are in the Catholic Church.
In my next Lenten article, we will explore the second step of my new book Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics
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