Skip to main content


The Seven Daily Habits of Holy Apostolic People

6/14/2002 - 12:00 PM PST

Advertisment

By Father John McCloskey Pastor of Souls

April 08, 2002

A good priest gives good advice on developing good habits!

Catholic Way - You are reading this because you are interested in taking your spiritual life more seriously from this point on. You heartily assent to one of the key points of the Second Vatican Council: the importance of the doctrine of the universal call to holiness. You also know that Jesus is the one way to holiness, "I am the way, the truth and the life." The secret of holiness is constant prayer which could be defined as continual contact with the Holy Trinity, "Pray always and do not lose heart" (Luke 18:1).

There are various ways to come to know Jesus. We are going to speak briefly about some of them in this article. You want to come to know, love and serve Jesus the same way you learn to love and stay in love with anybody: your spouse, family members, and close friends, i.e. by spending a considerable amount of time with him on a regular and, in this case, daily basis. The payoff, if you will, is the only true happiness in this life and the vision of God in the next. There are no easy substitutes. Sanctification is a work of a lifetime and it requires our determined effort to cooperate with God's sanctifying grace coming through the sacraments.

The seven daily habits that I propose to you are the morning offering, spiritual reading (New Testament and a spiritual book suggested to you by your spiritual advisor), the Holy Rosary, Holy Mass and Communion, at least fifteen minutes of mental prayer, the recitation of the Angelus at noon, and a brief examination of conscience at night.

These are the principal means to achieve holiness. If you are a person who wants to bring Christ to others through your friendship, these are the instruments by which you store up the spiritual energy that will enable you to so. Apostolic action without the sacraments and a deep solid interior life will in the long run be ineffective. You can be sure that all the saints incorporated in one way or another all of these habits into their daily routine. Your goal is to be like them, contemplatives in the middle of the world.

I want to stress several points before examining the habits.

One, remember that growing in these daily habits, just like taking on a diet or a physical exercise program, is a gradual work in progress. Don't expect to insert all seven or even two or three of these in your daily schedule immediately, any more than you would attempt a 5K race after not having run regularly, or attempting to play Liszt after your third piano lesson. This haste would be inviting failure and God wants you to succeed at both your pace and His. You should work closely with your spiritual advisor, and gradually and fruitfully incorporate the habits into your life over a period of time in a way that fits your particular situation. It may even be that your life circumstances require a modification of the seven habits.

Second, at the same time you must make a firm commitment with the help of the Holy Spirit and your special intercessors, to make them the priority of your life -- more important than meals, sleep, work and recreation. I want to make it clear that these habits cannot be acquired on the run. That is not the way we want to deal with people we love. They must be done when we are most alert, during the day, in a place that is silent and without distractions, where it is easy to put ourselves in God's presence and address him. After all, is not eternal life more important than our temporal life? All that will remain at the time of your particular judgement will be the amount of the love of God in your heart.

Third, I want to point out that living the seven daily habits is not a zero sum game. You are not losing time but rather, in reality, gaining it. I have never met a person who lived them on a daily basis who became a less productive worker as a result, or a worse spouse, or who had less time for his friends, or could no longer grow in his cultural life. Quite the contrary, God always rewards those who put him first. Our Lord will multiply our time amazingly as he did with those few loaves and fishes that fed the multitude with plenty left over. You can be sure that Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, or St. Maximilian Kolbe pray, or prayed, a lot more than the one and one-half hours that is required for the seven daily habits spread throughout the day.

The first habit is the morning offering, when you kneel down and using your own words, or a formula, you briefly offer up all the day ahead for God's glory. What is not so simple is what has to happen before the offering. As the founder of Opus Dei put it "Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer ...

1 | 2  Next Page

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:2-12
You have surely heard the way in which God entrusted me with ... Read More

Psalm, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Look, he is the God of my salvation: I shall have faith and not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:39-48
You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 22 Saint of the Day

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 ... Read More