Five Ways to be an Effective Catholic

Here are five simple ways we have learned to make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us:
1.Knowing what is necessary for spiritual growth. We will not grow in our faith without daily prayer. We have to make prayer time a priority and stop making excuses. “The first rule for prayer, the most important first step, is not about how to do it, but to just do it; not to perfect and complete it but to begin it. Once the car is moving, it’s easy to steer it in the right direction, but it’s much harder to start it up when it’s stalled. And prayer is stalled in our world.” (Dr. Peter Kreeft, from the essay Time)
2.Remember we are called to lead lives of holiness. As unpopular and out of step with our modern culture as this may be, we are all called to become saints. “The call to holiness is rooted in baptism and proposed anew in the other sacraments, principally in the Eucharist. Since Christians are reclothed in Christ Jesus and re­freshed by his spirit, they are ‘holy.’ They therefore have the ability to manifest this holiness and the responsibility to bear witness to it in all that they do. The Apostle Paul never tires of admonishing all Christians to live ‘as is fitting among saints’ (Ephesians 5:3).” (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, Apostolic Exhortation, 16)
3.Live as a Catholic; speak as a Catholic. We can’t be cafeteria or cultural Catholics. We are called to live authentic Catholic lives and be true to our beautiful faith. “To acknowledge God before men is to be a living witness to his life and to his words. We want to fulfill our daily tasks, to carry out everything we do, according to the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and we should be disposed to make our faith transparent in every one of our family and professional obligations. Let us stop and think for a moment of our work, of our colleagues, of our friendships: are we seen as people whose lives are totally consistent with our faith?” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Vol. 1, p.44)
4.We can’t serve God AND the world. We can’t have it both ways. There is no way to pursue a life of holiness and worry about chasing illusory pleasures and the things of this world that don’t matter. We can’t serve God and the world at the same time.
5.Be a light for Christ to others. One of the most profound ways to affect others is to radiate joy and let people see Christ at work in us. Our personal example can be the catalyst that helps lead someone into the Church. “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Philippians 2:14–16).

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