A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Growing in Holiness

Posted on: March 20, 2015

This week, I bought several e-books I’d been wanting to read. One was The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly, which looks at prayer, study, generosity and evangelism as four key elements in the lives of Catholics who are living out their faith.

As I read, this point caught my attention:

Life is about saying yes to the things that help you to grow in holiness (become the-best-version-of-yourself) and no to the things that don’t.

On the face of it, this seems obvious, but how many of us put this into practice?

We can look at our lives to see what we’re doing to grow in faith:

  • reading Christian fiction, lives of the saints, books on prayer and meditation
  • watching faith-based movies (such as Courageous, God’s Not Dead, or Bella) and tuning into Catholic television and radio programs
  • taking part in Bible study groups or other workshops and courses to learn more about the faith
  • giving time, treasure and talents to our parish and charitable groups
  • making time for daily prayer and Mass at least once a week

I recently started working through the Symbolon program online. And I know my prayer life is inconsistent and could only benefit if I planned to spend just a few minutes each day in prayer.

Could we add a few minutes of prayer time, study, or spiritual reading to our day and look at just how and where we spend our time and money and use our skills?

We can also look at the parish level:

  • Does our parish offer programs such as Symbolon or a library of Catholic books to help parishioners understand and live out the faith?
  • Do we have a rosary prayer group, Eucharistic adoration time, and Way of the Cross services?
  • Do we offer workshops on prayer methods? (The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic notes that many people don’t know how to pray, let alone pray regularly or have a routine when they do pray.)
  • Do we encourage parishioners to learn what the Church teaches by promoting reading of the Catechism and offering workshops on topics such as natural family planning?
  • Does our parish have groups such as the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League to give parishioners the chance to have fellowship and serve with others who share their faith?
  • Do we encourage parishioners to invite others to Mass or to parish events?

Last spring, my parish set up a small library using a rolling shelving unit emptied during our church cleanup and Catholic books donated by parishioners; some of the books came from sales held by the public library. And in the fall, the parish began offering the Symbolon program online and in workshops at the church.

What steps could our parish take to help Catholics grow in the faith?

I pray that we would take one small step this week to grow in holiness and think of one way our parish could help people grow in their faith.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

~ Philippians 4:8*

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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2 Responses to "Growing in Holiness"

Mathew Kelly’s books are great! As a family we read Rediscovering Catholicism and that was a fantastic read as well. I am now doing a bible study called Oremus by Fr. Mark Toups and that is really helping with increasing my time in prayer.

I haven’t read Rediscovering Catholicism, but I enjoyed The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, so I’ll check that one out.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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