There is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14.6). The secret to holiness is prayer, constant prayer. Each of us has to resolve to be holy and that it is possible to be Holy. In our own way none of us can be good. St Luke says, “Pray always and do not lose heart”.
Loving God is no different from loving your spouse, family member, close friends or children. The key is spending time with them. The same principle applies to God. We must develop a daily habit of doing things which are going to bring us closer to God. It is the same routine as training for sport, going on a diet or playing music. You have to know what you want and then you have to train yourself to do it.
You must make a firm commitment, almost with no exceptions. Here it is good to call on the Holy Spirit to help. Developing good spiritual habits is not easy, sometimes you have to make choices and set priorities. You have to seek a place with no distractions.
You should not consider the duration of prayer as a loss of time but as a productive use of time. Listed are some necessary good habits:
1 Each morning just as you get up, using your own words, say your prayers. Thank God for a new day, a new life, ask for blessings for everything that must be done this day. This is the traditional way Ukrainian Catholics have started their day throughout history.
2 During the day start with at least 15 minutes of mental prayer. Prayer is a one-way conversation with Jesus. Say what is on your mind and in your heart. Remember also to listen in silence. Jesus said that without Him you can do nothing.
3 Do some reading daily on spiritual topics – the Church and Life newspaper has articles, search the internet and there are all types of good books. Read about Christ, the meaning of the things we do, how to live properly etc. 15 minutes a day is not too much.
4 Going to the Liturgy and receiving Holy Communion each week is very important. The Holy Eucharist is the fuel for all good things we do in life.
5 Pray before meals. This is very common inUkraineand in a lot of homes in our Eparchy. Everything we have and use is a gift from God and we have to acknowledge that.
6 Use prayer beads (Chotku) or the Rosary, daily. It does not take long and is an excellent form of contemplative prayer.
7 While we are saying our prayers at night just before bed, it is very important that we examine our conscience. In other words, try to recall all the failings we have had during the day. It is of utmost importance that we do not go to sleep without telling God that we are sorry for all the sins we have committed that day and then say a prayer of contrition. In this way we tell God that we are sorry for having done wrong and ask Him to forgive us.
As we go to sleep we should also thank God for taking care of us that day. It is also a good time to say a prayer for all those whom we love and are in need of prayer.
Holiness is not hard; we just have to make a habit of it.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian