A Decalogue for a Happy Spiritual Life
10 Tips for a Happy Spiritual Life for Students and Young Adults:
1. In my life I am faced with this choice: Do I follow the “I” or God? If I want to follow God, I will need to seek his guidance every day about everything in my life, knowing that He is my Father.
Suggestion: Set aside some time every day for mental prayer—a conversation with God.
2. Do I want to be honest, to do what is right, following my conscience? If so, then I need to understand what is good and what is bad for me and for others. I want to have a well-formed conscience that helps me make the right decisions. Christian morality places Christ in the center of our moral decision-making. Our conscience should be formed based on the teachings and life of Christ.
Suggestion: Become familiar with the moral teachings of the Church. Do a simple examination of conscience (3 minutes) at the end of the day.
3. Do I really want to be myself? If I do, I cannot pretend to be something or someone I’m not, just to fit in and be accepted by others. So I always want to be sincere and truthful and live with integrity, even if doing so requires making a big sacrifice—I have to renounce many things, big and small to be true to myself.
Suggestion: Make 2 or 3 personal resolutions that will help you to live the courage to be sincere and say always the truth.
4. Do I want to discover the plan of God for me? If so, I will need the help of the Holy Spirit to discover what God is calling me to do and what is His mission for me in my life.
Suggestion: Meet with a spiritual director for guidance twice a month.
5. Do I want to make good use of the gifts and talents God has given me in order to serve Him and give Him glory? If so, I need to organize my time and efforts.
Suggestion: Set specific goals for the next day, week, and year. Develop a lifestyle—good habits included—to help to achieve those goals.
6. Do I wish to be accountable by making my days and my work the best I can, out of love for God and others, thereby imitating the life of Jesus? If so, then I need to make a habit of familiarizing myself with Jesus’ life.
Suggestion: Read and reflect on the Gospels for 5 to 10 minutes a day.
7. Do I want to persevere in all the things I want to achieve for God? If so, then I need to be able to accept my own limitations and be patient with myself when I seem to fail. I need to be determined to begin again cheerfully, offering to God the efforts I have to make.
Suggestion: Go to Confession regularly, at least once a month, to receive the graces to be humble and to make changes in my life.
8. Do I want to make others happy and help them enjoy a good spiritual life? If so, then I should love and serve them and, as well, bring them closer to God by my example, by Works of Mercy, and by bringing them to the Sacrament of Confession.
Suggestion: Always ask God’s help at the beginning of the day, resolving to act with the intention of serving God and others, and making a point to do some corporal of spiritual work of mercy each day.
9. Do I want to live a life of priorities, avoiding laziness, and making decisions with freedom of spirit? If so, I need to simplify my life and give each activity its proper place—always keeping God first.
Suggestion: Make and keep a plan of life for every day of the week.
10. Do I want to receive the grace to keep my spiritual life in good shape? If so, I have to pray to the Holy Spirit every day, to accept challenges with a sporting spirit, care for others, and go to Mass frequently (and always on Sunday).
Suggestion: Offer the day to God through the Blessed Virgin Mary as soon as you wake up, and finish the day with 3 Hail Mary’s.
PRESENCE OF GOD
“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. 149
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.”
St. Josemaria Escriva
Friends of God, no. 149
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.