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What’s Your Game Plan?

September 25, 2013

What prayer and practices are part of your spiritual life?  A few years ago I was in the habit of confessing to a more senior (in years) Franciscan priest.    He told me that the reason that I was constantly falling into sin was that I had no game plan.  He asked me what my daily prayer life was like.  I had no answer.  “I pray sometimes when in need, I said.”

He told me that when he was younger he was a basketball player.  When preparing for a game the team made a game plan.  He rhetorically asked me if I would go into any basketball game without some kind of game plan.  “No?” “Then why would you think that you would think that you can make it to heaven without a spiritual game plan?”

From that day I decided that I would operate with a game plan.  A road map to help guide me to a closer relationship with our Lord.

GP

Over the years my plan has been modified.  Sometimes my revisions don’t work and I have to make a scratch or start over.  Needless to say that as life changes priorities change, and my game plan follows suit.  One person’s plan may not work for everyone.  For instance because of work obligations it isn’t always feasible for everyone to attend daily mass.

I’ve also drawn on the experience of several books.  I’ve written on my love of Midwest Theological Forum’s Handbook of Prayers and Daily Roman Missal.  These books contain the same section titled “Spiritual Game Plan” (I wonder if my confessor stole the name?).  Additionally Fr. Richard Heilman authored a book titled the Church Militant Field Manual.  Like the two books from MTF this book also contains a great plan for spiritual life that includes many prayers and practices to benefit your spiritual life.  There are many days when I don’t get to complete every devotion on this list, I’m not perfect nor do I pretend to be.  I figure that as long as I complete a good portion of this list than I’ve done my duty for the day.

I thought that today I’d share my daily plan of attack for daily life.

I’ll start with the sacrimentals that I keep on me at all times.  Daily I of course carry a rosary.  I have several rosaries and tend to rotate through them regularly.  In addition to the rosary I wear a cruciform or four way medal.  This medal combines four powerful medals.  The Sacred Heart Medal, Miraculous Medal, St. Joseph Medal, and St. Christopher Medals are all included.  Finally I wear a scapular.  I suggest that every Catholic be enrolled and wear a scapular.  Personally I wear the five-fold scapular.  This scapular contains the scapulars of five orders.

  • Red, Passion (Lazarists)
  • Blue, Immaculate Conception (Ursuline)
  • Brown, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Carmelite)
  • Black, Seven Dolores of Our Lady, (Servite)
  • White, Holy Trinity (Trinitarians)

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Next my plan includes liturgical life.  I pray three offices of the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer.   I also do my very best to attend daily mass when my work schedule allows.  I prefer and attend the extraordinary form on Sunday’s, but because of accessibility I attend the ordinary form on weekdays.

mass

Next we come to reading.  As an academic I am used to heavy reading loads.  I have made it a resolution to read a Catholic book of some kind for one half hour every day.  This allows enough time for the book to sink in.  For me at least, it takes about ten to fifteen minutes of reading to turn my mind off and amerce myself in what I am reading.

Finally we come to daily prayer.  In addition to liturgical prayers my day includes a number of traditional daily Catholic prayers.  In a typical day I try to include the following prayers.

  • Morning
    • Morning Offering
    • Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
    • Daily Consecration to Our Lady
    • Mental prayer (after mass)
    • Noon
      • Angelus
      • Throughout the day (Wherever I can fit them in)
        • Rosary & Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
        • Divine Mercy Chaplet
        • Devotional Meditation (My Daily Bread and Divine Intimacy are my favorites)
        • Examination of Conscience
        • Weekly
          • One Hour of Adoration
          • Confession

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Finally I’ve taken a cue from the good Father Heilman and his Church Militant Field Manual.  Fr. Heilman argues that physical health is important to a good spiritual life.  In this vein I’ve drastically cut down my soda and fast food intake.  I also started regular exercise.  Not to brag, but a few weeks ago I started the “100 Pushups” program along with its sister programs “200 Situps”, “150 Dips”, and “200 Squats”.  I’ve only been at it a couple of weeks, but I can already tell a drastic change in my physical shape.  I really can’t wait to get to week seven.

Now that I’ve shared mine, what is in your spiritual game plan?

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From → Everyday Faith

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