Am I taking time each day for personal prayer? It can be a real challenge to maintain the discipline and consistency necessary for a fruitful prayer life. The demands of the world can easily usurp our time and daily prayer can look like a practice of the past. However, if our relationship with God is going to grow, daily personal prayer is an absolute necessity. Do I have a set time and place to come before the Lord each day?
Do I faithfully participate in the Sunday Eucharist? This isn’t a simple yes or no type of question. It requires a little dissection and evaluation. I want to be certain we are talking about full, conscious, and active participation. This isn’t just an attendance question. I am not inquiring as to whether or not you and I physically showed up in the church building. Were we there with full heart, mind, soul, and strength? Did we encounter the living God in our worship?
Have I been nurturing a spirit of gratitude and generosity? It can be quite easy to see what is wrong with the world and even with my own life. The struggles, the challenges, the flaws, the cares and concerns can all take a toll on one’s mental outlook. If we choose to live in a spirit of gratitude and generosity our mindsets will be profoundly impacted. It is a choice we make each and every day. In what state of mind will I live this day?
Am I willing to admit wrongdoing if I offend someone? It is not easy to admit when we’re wrong. (At least this is what I have been told—I have never personally been wrong so I am not sure about this.) Are we willing to seek forgiveness from those we injure? Are we willing to seek forgiveness from God? Is receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation a frequent practice for us? If we are only participating twice a year, Lent and Advent, are we able to bump that up a notch or two? If we haven’t participated in years, are we able to step out in faith and experience the power of forgiveness and reconciliation through this awesome sacrament again?
Am I able to forgive others? Grudges can be strong. If we choose to hold onto un-forgiveness our participation in praying the Lord’s Prayer is probably not a positive thing. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That is no small statement. We need to be careful what we pray for because we may get it.
Am I seeking opportunities for conversion? If I become content with just showing up for liturgy once a week and pursue nothing more, the likelihood of my conversion to a deeper spiritual walk with the Lord is minimal. Growing in union with our God requires a definitive response to the gift of grace that has been bestowed upon us. Do I seek out retreats, conferences, workshops, or prayer experiences which will enhance my spiritual journey?
Do I study and pray with the Sacred Scriptures? The Bible isn’t a book designed to sit on our coffee tables and collect dust. It is a book which has the potential to assist in transforming our lives. When was the last time we read a passage at home, sat quietly with the Word, and just waited for the Lord to speak to us within the depths of our being? If this isn’t a daily practice in our lives, can it be?
Do I act on my moral values? Has political correctness usurped moral integrity? I don’t want to push my beliefs on someone else even though I believe something is wrong. That may sound nice and “tolerant” but does it lead all of us on a path to hell? There is right and there is wrong. Relativism has become a scourge that is destroying our societal well-being.
Do I serve others willingly? Am I putting my faith into action? In the process of serving others do I demonstrate a respect for the sanctity of life? Abortion, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, pornography, human trafficking, and a multitude of other aberrant behaviors demonstrate a lack of respect for human life. What are we doing about it? Apathy and complacency won’t accomplish anything. Wringing our hands and complaining won’t accomplish anything. Do something! Get involved!
Finally, do I feel a personal responsibility to share my faith with those who don’t know Jesus? If we believe that Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, why are we reluctant to share the Good News of Salvation with other people? Are we hiding our light under a bushel basket? We may not feel a need to “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” but I hope we utilize every opportunity to whisper the message of Jesus Christ heart to heart. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be a blessing to someone who needs you to share the Gospel message with them. You will be amazed at the power and glory of God in your midst.