These are my general recommendations for living a Catholic life in a sinful world.
Prayer is an exercise of the theological virtues of love, faith, and hope. Always pray much more for others than for yourself. Consider people you know, who may be in need. Also pray for groups of persons in need more generally. Express your love for God and neighbor in your prayers.
Pray at least several times a day for at least 10 to 20 minutes each time. Pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Of course, you should also be talking to God at various times throughout the day in spontaneous conversation.
If you don’t have enough time to pray, give up other time-consuming and less important activities. Cut back on TV-watching. Use the internet less (he said while typing a post for the internet). Take a break from whatever you are doing, and spend 10 to 20 minutes in prayer.
You can also pray while doing other activities, as long as those activities do not require too much mental concentration and are not too distracting. Pray the Rosary or the DMC while driving, or while doing simple household tasks or work tasks.
Practice self-denial in all things. As the Blessed Virgin Mary said at Medjugorje: “Offer sacrifices wherein you feel most bound.” Practice self-denial in food, even when you are not fasting or abstaining. Practice self-denial with entertainment, talking, shopping, and self-indulgent thoughts.
The continual practice of self-denial will give you the strength and light to avoid many sins, especially grave sin. If you find yourself unable to break away from some type of grave sin, it is because you do not pray enough and do not practice self-denial in all things.
To live a holy life in a sinful world, you must pray and practice self-denial in all things. Prayer and self-denial build humility. When times are difficult in the Church, you will be able to remain faithful if you are a person who places prayer and self-denial above all temporal goods.
Works of Mercy
Our Lord praised the Good Samaritan because he showed his love of God and neighbor by helping those in need. Along with prayer and self-denial, you must do works of mercy toward those in need. Consider the spiritual and corporal works of mercy detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also consider whether anyone you know — family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, others — may have some specific need. You can always help by praying. But you should also seek ways to help others in material need. For your neighbor, whom you love, is a whole human person with body and soul, not a soul only. (Speaking of those with souls and no bodies, make certain that you pray frequently for the holy souls in Purgatory, especially those whose lives have touched yours.)
Mass and Communion and Confession
The Church has the authority to decide the rules for liturgical form, who may receive Communion, and much more. However, my general recommendation is that every Catholic go to Confession at least once a month. If you have not made a good Confession in more than two months, I would advise you to refrain from Communion until you have confessed.
You should not be receiving Communion if you have committed any grave sins, including abortion, contraception, all the various grave sexual sins (including unnatural sexual acts in marriage), and any acts of full malice or real hatred toward anyone. You should not receive Communion if you are conscious of any grave sin. If so, repent and make an act of perfect contrition. Then go to Confession before receiving Communion (as a general recommendation).
The Company you keep
Avoid accepting anyone as a friend who might lead you into grave sin. Also avoid friendship with anyone who is immersed in the sinfulness of this world. Your friends should be persons who love God and neighbor. If anyone is nice to you, but malicious to others, draw away from that person.
You can’t choose your family members. But in your entire extended family, there are most likely more than a few good persons. And concerning those who are lost, you should pray for them daily and be kind whenever you have opportunity. Forebear their faults and offenses, praying for them to repent. Forgive all small offenses, even if the other person seems unrepentant.
Love your enemies. Do good to those who treat you badly, and pray for all those who despise or harm you. Treat others the way that you would like to be treated. You know the Gospel teaching, or if you do not, read it in the Bible (e.g. Matthew chapters 5 through 7).
Every faithful Catholic should have read the New Testament several times, and the Old Testament at least once or twice in full. When you are seeking guidance, your knowledge of Scripture and of Church teaching will be an invaluable guide. If you have not read the whole Bible, especially the New Testament, get started. If you have read it, read it again.
Also read the teachings of the Church and the writings of the Saints. Pick a favorite Saint or two, and read their writings. Let them teach you and pray for their intercession.
Believe the teachings of the Church and practice the Catholic Faith. Do not behave like the hypocritical Catholics of today, who use theology as a way to rationalize their sins. Do not be like the hypocrites who treat rules like dogmas, and dogmas like political platforms or personal opinions. You are required to believe what the Church teaches.
If you have difficulty with a teaching, read and pray. Do not listen to anonymous teachers of doctrinal error on the internet. They are leading many souls into grave sin and grave harm. Accept the teachings of each Pope, whether he is liberal or conservative, whether he is likeable or not. He is the shepherd chosen by God to teach and correct you.
The Great Apostasy
I tell you all that the great apostasy is about to begin. It begins on October 4th of 2015, at the start of the Bishop’s Synod. Over the course of weeks and months, there will be much confusion in the Church. Many Catholics will not know what to believe.
To endure the great apostasy without losing faith and without losing heart, you must pray much and practice self-denial in all things. Only by prayer, self-sacrifice, and humility will you be able to remain faithful to Jesus and His Church during this time of confusion and controversy.
The arrogant, who pray little and are self-indulgent, will reject Pope Francis and depart from the Church. You will need much detachment from self and the strength of prayer to refrain from joining them in word and deed.
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