You a drifter? You... one of the crowd? You, who were born to be a leader! There is no room among us for the lukewarm. Humble yourself and Christ will set you aflame again with the fire of Love. (St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 16)It’s gut check time. A few months have passed since the end of Lent. Still more time has elapsed since we made our January resolutions. As the summer heat wears us down, we have a tendency to slow down and slide back into our old habits.
The past week, I began reading Father Larry Richards' book, Be a Man!, which I hope to review on this blog once I have completed it. The experience of reading the book has been like a mini-retreat. It got me thinking about the state of my own walk and my adherence to my spiritual plan of life. As I was praying about this, my eyes turned to our logo (it’s my screensaver) and I realized that we can use the Joe Catholic logo to reflect on where we are in our daily walk.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The CCC or the “big green book” reminds us to study our faith. We can’t share what we don’t know. We have to know our faith, so we can live it, share it and defend it. Spiritual reading must be a component of our daily spiritual plan. This site has a number of good links to books to read. Additionally, almost every post has at least one book recommendation. St. Josemaria said that “one hour of study is an hour of prayer” when offered to our Lord.
We must be men of the Word of God who became incarnate in Jesus Christ our Lord. We do this by going over the daily readings or some other organized reflection on scripture. I’m not saying we have to have scriptures memorized (although that may be useful at times), but generally know where important points are located. For example, we should all know that John 6 contains significant references to our Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist. St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
We must be men of prayer. Prayer is the conversation we have with God. Without this communication we cannot have the intimate relationship he desires to have with each and every one of us. St. Teresa de Avila said, “Mental prayer is nothing else than an intimate friendship, a frequent heart-to-heart conversation with Him by whom we know ourselves to be loved.”
Think of the toolbox as representing our daily work lives. Reflecting on our work, we can ask ourselves whether we are "blossoming where we have been planted." In other words, do we approach our work as a means for sanctification or do we treat it like a grueling necessity or even as punishment? Our work lives and our spiritual lives are not intended to be separate. I’m not talking about being bible thumpers, but living our faith in the little things: being kind, doing good work, offering it up and even praying at meals. St. Josemaría said, “Work is man's original vocation. It is a blessing from God, and those who consider it a punishment are sadly mistaken. The Lord, who is the best of fathers, placed the first man in Paradise ut operaretur, so that he would work.” (Furrow, 482)
Hammer and Rule
Reminds of our role model, St. Joseph the original Joe Catholic. Call on him as a powerful intercessor. He is not only the patron of our little group, but of fathers, workers and the universal church. St. Bernard teaches us “there are some saints who have the power of protecting in certain specific circumstances; but Saint Joseph has been granted the power to help us in every kind of need, and to defend all who have recourse to him with pious dispositions."