Recently, I’ve been changing the way I live my life. I’m trying to do things that are more fulfilling than just watching Netflix. One of these changes has been reading the book Rediscover Catholicism. One of the biggest parts of the book is the author’s 7 pillars of Catholicism. These 7 pillars are things that should be apart of any Catholic’s daily life.
- Confession.When I was struggling the most with anxiety attacks and feeling comfortable in my environment, going to confession helped me to look at my life differently. I started realizing that uncomfortable feeling I had around certain people was because I was more tempted to sin around them.I started to change who I surrounded myself with and noticed a change almost immediately. I also realized that day that the only opinion of myself that matters is God’s because it’ll never change from one of love. Confession is really hard for me though because I always feel like I’m being judged when I go. If it’s not by the priest or God or other people there, it’s by myself. Sometimes I think that to pick out things to say at confession, I have to judge everything I’ve done. This is not true. Confession is about noticing the sins we make in our daily lives. Recognition is always the first step. Then we’re there to ask for help on changing these habits. Confession is a great place to start new habits.
- Daily Prayer. The hardest thing about daily prayer is keeping it with me all day long. I can pray every morning and take half an hour out of my day to go pray; however, once I leave that moment, it all leaves with me. I often forget to hold on to it throughout the day. I’ve recently started taking one thing away from my prayers and trying to remember that one thing all day long. There aren’t many successes yet, but you have to start somewhere.
- Mass. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten everything out of mass that I can get. Sometimes, I have a really hard time staying focused. This has a little bit to do with I don’t understand the point of everything. What does it mean when we say the creed? What is the priest doing/saying when he’s bent over the host? Simple things that as a cradle born Catholic, I take for granted. I’ve started looking into different parts of the mass and looking at the different prayers and readings more closely. Something I’ve taken from the book, Rediscover Catholicism, is to ask God to show me one way to become a better version of myself during the mass. Keeping this idea in mind helps me stay focused on what’s happening in front of me so I can catch that one thing I can do better during the upcoming week. I’ve also looked into going to daily mass more. I often hit the middle of the week and start losing momentum. Going to daily mass on Wednesday or Thursday helps give me a little boost to make it till Sunday.
- The Bible. I’ve always wanted to read the bible, but always had an issue with where to start and with keeping up the habit. In regard with where to start, I’ve been given lots of suggestions. This most recent attempt of mine is starting with the gospel of Luke. I think the gospels are a great place to start as they directly involve Jesus and His word. The next step is creating and keeping the habit of reading everyday. In the past, I’ve usually made goals like read an entire chapter every day or read an entire book in so many days. I’m now trying a different approach suggested by Rediscover Catholicism. I’m reading parts of chapter at a time, one little story, and I’m picking out one part of that story to really focus on for the rest of the day. This helps me not to be overwhelmed and to guarantee that I’m getting something from my reading and not just doing it because I’m told to.
- Spiritual Reading. This is something I really believe is beneficial for everybody. Reading about other people’s lives and seeing how they made it through can not only inspire ideas to make it through our own lives but also can encourage us that everything will be alright.
- Fasting. I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of fasting never seems like a good one. I always come up with excuses not to follow this fundamental idea of Catholicism. In Rediscover Catholicism, fasting is viewed as a way of taking control of our lives instead of letting our body’s urgings control us. It was also brought across that this doesn’t always have to involve food. For me, there are many other things, Netflix, that control me more than than should. I suggest trying to take one day to put aside one thing you can’t think you can live without. You might discover you can live without it.
- Rosary. This is another part of tradition that I’ve always just taken at its base value and never looked deeper. While the general idea is an Our Father than 10 Hail Marys and doing that until you run out of beads, there is so much more to it. One way to pray the rosary is to focus on the words of the prayers and really try to let them become apart of who you are. Another way is to focus on the story in the mystery. Really imagine yourself there feeling what the characters felt and let the strengthen your relationship with God. You can also pick a person and/or virtue to focus on during each decade and let that guide your prayers.
Looking at all of these different traditions of Catholicism has made me want to make them into habits. Every time I think about these habits, the song “Start a Fire” pops into my head. The only way I’m going to be able to make these new habits consistent is with God’s help. I have a fire in my soul now I just need to keep it burning.