The Happy Priest on Why We Need Discipline and How We Can Cultivate It
What is your decision?
Discipline and order are key components for a successful spiritual life. This first week of Lent is a perfect time to start.Grace does not work without human nature, it builds upon it. First a man; first a woman; and then the saint.
The most vital aspect of self-discipline is acquiring personal organization. That's right. You need to develop your own personal schedule.
Sit down and write out your schedule and stick to it. If you are single, find a friend who will hold you accountable. If you are married, make a schedule for the entire family. Work together with your spouse and your children as you help each other fulfill your daily schedule. Be accountable to each other.
As I wrote in my new book Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, both you and your children need to acquire the basic aspects of human formation. Clean rooms, well groomed hair, ironed clothes, polished shoes and personal hygiene all make up the fundamentals of what it means to be truly human.
Grace does not work without human nature, it builds upon it. First a man; first a woman; and then the saint.
Developing a family schedule will allow you to pray together as a family. Why not run your family like a domestic monastery? Ring a bell to let everyone know that it is time for breakfast, homework, rosary or a family outing. Remember, mom is not a short-order cook and the kitchen has to close at some moment in the day.
Homeschooling families have a privileged opportunity to make their homes into a true sanctuary of order. You can create your own schedule rather than be led by the schedule of a school.
Create a realistic family schedule. With infants and small children you will have to develop something appropriate to their ages. Print out your schedule and post it on a bulletin board where everyone can see it. Plug in Catholic feast days, national holidays, vacations, visits to your parents, the kids' activities and the activities of your parish family.
It is important that your children get to bed early. After a long day, you and your spouse need quiet time together.
When I was a little kid, there were many summer nights when I used to wonder why we were in bed while it was still light outside and our little friends were still playing out in the street. Years later, my mother confessed to us that when she had had enough, she used to push the arm on the kitchen clock an hour ahead so that we would all think that it was time to turn in.
Be sure to schedule in a "date night" with your spouse. This should take place once a week or every other week depending on your family circumstances. Have a quiet dinner together, alone. Go for a walk, alone. Plan weekend get-aways, alone. Plan an annual vacation, alone. Time away together, as a couple, without the children, is an important means to keep your relationship fresh.
For those of you who are married, it is very important that you keep it real simple. Your kids do not have to be involved in multiple sports nor do they need to play numerous musical instruments. One sport and one musical instrument is enough.
Honestly, in my view, organized sports, as they are understood today, are huge distractions from family life. They form a trap that only breaks down the family. I think that it is ludicrous to be travelling all over the state and even all over the country for a child's game. Whatever happened to kids just being kids? Whatever happened to kids playing in neighborhoods?
Mothers with children at home need to stay home and take care of them. Families with stay-home moms function much better. The home needs to be the priority. Not only do young children need a mother to be home, but high school kids need their mom as well.
A husband needs to be proactive, industrious, diligent and responsible by providing for the family without leaning on his wife financially. Too many mothers work all day only to come home to situations where they are expected to do everything. This causes the wife to lose respect for her husband and to lose patience with her children.
Moreover, not only is it essential to organize your time, it is also necessary to discipline the use of your income. Create a budget and stick to it. Live within your means and avoid unnecessary credit card debt. Financial discipline is critical to family life. If you commit to staying home with your children, be assured that God will provide. Besides, you might find that it is cheaper for mom to stay home with the kids rather than go to work.
This of course, is not to take away from amazing women who out of necessity may have to work in order that their families can survive. Computers allow women to create home-based businesses if extra-income is needed.
Over the years I have seen many hard working and creative parishioners find practical solutions that have worked well for their families. I have seen many heroic women who are single moms or who are divorced who heroically provide for their families.
Discipline and order are key components for a successful spiritual life. This first week of Lent is a perfect time to start.
What is your decision?
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled: That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- 4th Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
- 3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
- Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin
- Lent is almost over, but have YOU kept this Commandment?
- 5th Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
- Holy Thursday: Take Up the Basin and Towel. Love is a Verb.
- Holy Thursday: He Loves to the End
- 2nd Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
This Sorrowful pilgrimage now brings me here to this lonely hill. All the agony, the beatings and the bleeding have led me somewhere I do not want to go; somewhere I resist going with all my ...Continue Reading
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
I wonder if perhaps it was tempting for Jesus to just lie down on the dirt road and die right there. Completely sapped of strength and in agonizing pain, I wonder if He was tempted by the ...Continue Reading
Jennifer Hartline - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
Humiliation, in one form or another, is part of the package. It is only avoidable if we decide to deny Christ. WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - 3rd Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning ...Continue Reading
Michael Terheyden - Catholic Online, 4/18/2014
The Passion of Christ represents the most atrocious miscarriage of justice in all of human history. So when we come face to face with the crucified Christ on Good Friday, it is only natural for us to ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »