A Decalogue for a Happy Spiritual Life
By Fr. James Socias
10 Tips for a Happy Spiritual Life for Students and Young Adults
1. I want a strong relationship with God. I will talk to him every day about everything in my life, knowing that he is my Father.
Suggestion: Set aside some time every day for mental prayer.
2. I want to understand what is good and what is bad for me and for others, since I want to have a well-formed conscience that helps me make the right decisions.
Suggestion: Be familiar with the moral teachings of the Church. Do a simple examination of conscience (3 minutes) at the end of the day.
3. I want to be true to myself, not pretending to be something or someone I’m not just to fit in and be accepted by others. I always want to be honest and truthful and live with integrity, even if doing so requires making a big sacrifice.
Suggestion: Make 2 or 3 personal resolutions that will help you to live fortitude.
4. I need the Holy Spirit’s help to understand what mission God wants me to fulfill.
Suggestion: Meet with a spiritual director for guidance twice per month.
5. I want to make good use of the gifts and talents God has given me. I really want to develop them so that I can use them to serve Him and bring Him glory.
Suggestion: Set goals for the next day, week, and year, and develop a lifestyle that helps me to achieve these goals.
6. I want to be successful and even competitive in my chosen profession, living in imitation of Jesus Christ and being a witness of Him to others. To accomplish this, I will meditate on His life in the Holy Bible every day.
Suggestion: Read and reflect on the Gospels for 10 minutes every day.
7. I need the grace to accept my own limitations and to be patient with myself. When I seem to fail, I want to begin again cheerfully, offering my challenges to God.
Suggestion: Go to Confession regularly, at least once per month, to receive the graces I need to be humble and to make changes in my life.
8. I want to make others happy by loving and serving them. I will bring them closer to God through my example, the Sacrament of Confession and the Works of Mercy. I also want to help others enjoy a good spiritual life and be happy with God. I will always ask God for help.
Suggestion: Always act with the intention of serving God and others. Make a point of doing some corporal or spiritual work(s) of mercy every day.
9. I will prioritize my life, avoiding laziness and making decisions with freedom of spirit. I want to simplify my life and give each thing its proper place—always keeping God first.
Suggestion: Make and keep a plan of life for every day of the week.
10. I will ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to keep my spiritual life in good shape. I will pray every day, accept challenges, care for others and go to Mass often (and always on Sundays). I entrust all of these goals to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Suggestion: Offer the day to the Blessed Virgin Mary as soon as you wake up and finish the day with 3 Hail Mary’s.
About the Plan of Life
“….Our Lord is quite happy if we offer him little tokens of love any moment of the day.
“Try to commit yourself to a plan of life and to keep to it: a few minutes of mental prayer, Holy Mass — daily, if you can manage it — and frequent Communion; regular recourse to the Holy Sacrament of Forgiveness — even though your conscience does not accuse you of mortal sin; visiting Jesus in the tabernacle; praying and contemplating the mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and so many other marvelous devotions you know or can learn.
“You should not let them become rigid rules, or water-tight compartments. They should be flexible, to help you on your journey you who live in the middle of the world, with a life of hard professional work and social ties and obligations which you should not neglect, because in them your conversation with God still continues. Your plan of life ought to be like a rubber glove which fits the hand perfectly.
“Please don’t forget that the important thing does not lie in doing many things; limit yourself, generously, to those you can fulfill each day, whether or not you happen to feel like doing them. These pious practices will lead you, almost without your realizing it, to contemplative prayer. Your soul will pour forth more acts of love, aspirations, acts of thanksgiving, acts of atonement, spiritual communions. And this will happen while you go about your ordinary duties, when you answer the telephone, get on to a bus, open or close a door, pass in front of a church, when you begin a new task, during it and when you have finished it: you will find yourself referring everything you do to your Father God.”
St. Josemaria Escriva
Friends of God, no. 14
Rev. James Socias, a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1939. He received a doctorate in naval engineering from the University of Madrid. After having worked as an engineer for thirteen years, he was ordained a priest in Spain in 1978 and obtained his doctorate in canon law from the University of Navarre. As a priest, he has developed his pastoral work among professionals, university faculty, campus ministry, seminarians, and priests. Fr Socias currently serves as Vice President of Midwest Theological Forum and President of the St. Josemaria Institute.
The content is published by the St Josemaria Institute for the free use of readers and may not be copied or reproduced without permission from its author © Fr. James Socias, 2014.