Keeping good company with God
When we truly recognize the presence of God at all times and in all situations, then prayer becomes natural to the places of our daily lives, just as it is natural to pray when we enter a church. St. Josemaría wrote:
…Each moment becomes an opportunity to be with the one who made us and loves us. This is not daydreaming or living some flight of fancy. It is the concrete realization that God is always with us and He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.
St. Josemaria developed a “Plan of Life” – practical guidelines to help us win the battle for holiness.
…It includes daily, weekly, monthly, and other regular activities [for] a recognition of the presence of God at all times. St. Josemaria says:
…It must begin in the first moments of the day … the “heroic minute”…Get up, on the dot! Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and…up!…The heroic minute is followed by a morning offering, in which one offers the entire day – joys, sorrows, gifts and challenges – for the glory of God…By starting the day declaring Serviam! – I will serve! – we place all our activities at God’s feet, acknowledging that none of them should be for our glory, but for His.
…If the heroic minute and the morning offering are the beginnings of one’s daily plan, the Mass is its central activity.
St. Josemaria – like all the saints – had an abiding devotion to the Mass, and he frequently counseled that people try to attend daily if possible.
…Holy Mass brings us face to face with one of the central mysteries of our faith, because it is a gift of the Blessed Trinity to the Church … [it is] the center and source of a Christian’s spiritual life (Christ Is Passing By, 87).
Spiritual reading. The primary way we know about the Lord is through the Bible…take at least five to ten minutes daily to reflect on some [biblical] scene, picturing oneself in that scene in order to meditate on Christ’s actions more deeply…
Practicing mortifications throughout the day – those activities that help control sinful impulses and desires … denying a second helping…allowing others to speak first …choosing the longer line at checkout – is essential to the spiritual life.
At the close of each day, make an examination of conscience …to gauge progress …and beg for forgiveness for the times we fell. [Regular Confession and adoration are encouraged as well.]
It is also of vital importance to recharge our spiritual batteries annually and take stock of where we are … an annual spiritual retreat to … reflect …and listen to the Lord.
This excerpt reprinted from Chapter Six (“Be a Contemplative In the Midst of the World”) of the book Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá ©Eric Sammons (Published by Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. www.osv.com). Used by permission.
ERIC SAMMONS is a husband and father of seven, a convert to Catholicism, writer and editor of several books, guest contributor to several Catholic magazines and online portals, and also a software engineer. He also holds a Master in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville
Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart: “We must remember God more often than we draw breath.” But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2697