How to be a Good CatholicHow to be a good Catholic
How to Be a Better Catholic: it May be Simpler Than You Think
Do you wonder sometimes how to be a better Catholic or even just a good Catholic?
When you gaze upon Jesus crucified and contemplate His suffering and death do you sometimes feel unworthy? Inadequate? Or unsure about how to live your life well and faithfully?
You know you want to live each day for God, but in the midst of changing diapers, bills to pay, and teenage attitudes, how do you do it?
Living well one day at a time is how to become a better Catholic. God calls you to Him every day.
How will you answer? How you respond to Him is up to you.
1. Live one day at a time.
This sounds simple.
All you have is today, this very moment. You do not know if you will have next year or even tomorrow. You have the opportunity each day to choose God or to turn away from Him.
Our days are made up of many choices. What time should I get up today? Do I yell at the person who just cut me off as I drove out of the church parking lot or not? Should I watch TV, read my Bible, clean, or sleep (or try to do all four!) while my toddler is napping?
Each day is a new opportunity, a clean slate. If you made some choices yesterday that you didn’t like, learn from them and make different choices today. You can make the decision to do that.
To get your day off to a good start, think about God and offer your day to Him. You may want to pray a Morning Offering each day before you get out of bed. You can pray this short prayer or use your own words to offer your day to God.
The focus of a Morning Offering is to offer your day to God as a gift-all your thoughts, words, and actions. When you do this you are more mindful of God and your thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day.
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2. Learn more about God and your Catholic faith.
Think for a moment about when you and your husband first started to get to know each other. Did you want to spend all of your spare moments together? Did you talk often to each other when you were not together? When you love someone, we want to know all you can about him.
You love Jesus. Spend more time with Him. Get to know Him better. It will help you to love Him more and it will be easier to follow HIm.
“Learn more about God” is not very specific. How can we do that? Here are some ways:
Talk to God. Take the time to listen, too; don’t let your communication be one-sided. (I can raise my hand about this one!)
Set aside short time periods in your day to pray if planning one long block of time to pray (and with kids, long can be 10 minutes!) is not realistic for you. Or you can try both ways to pray and see what works best for you.
In the Bible, St.Paul tells us to pray always. To pray always does not mean to be on your knees in prayer all day. It means to be mindful of God and invite Him into your day.
When you offer your day to God in a Morning Offering, you are offering Him your thoughts, words, joys, and sufferings of the day. Therefore, all of these parts of your day have now become a prayer offered to God. It is then a matter of remembering this as you go about your day.
Try different ways of incorporating prayer into your life to find out which is best for you. Remember, too, that what works best now may change as your kids grow and your life changes. Your prayer life will change and grow over time. Be flexible and do what works for you right now in your life.
? Read the Bible.
This is a great way to learn more about God. We learn about the love of God the Father for His people in the Old Testament and we get to know Jesus in the New Testament.
Are you unsure how to begin reading your Bible more? Here are some ideas to help you out.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and read your Bible.
- Read one chapter a day.
- Read the Mass readings of the day.
There are many ways you can read your Bible each day. Pick one and just dive in!
Are you looking for a good Catholic Bible?
The Catholic Journaling Bible (the NAB-RE version) has wide margins so you can write your notes or draw right in your Bible.
New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (RSVCE), and Good News Translation (Today’s English Version, Second Edition), American Bible Society are each approved Catholic editions. Source: USCCB’s website
? Receive Jesus in the Sacraments.
The Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession are available to us frequently. You can receive the Eucharist by going to Mass on another day in addition to Sunday. You can choose a day to go to Confession in the months between the penance services your church holds once or twice a year.
Jesus gives us grace in the Sacraments. We can all use a bit more, can’t we?! When we have grace (God’s life) in our souls, we have an extra supernatural power inside of us. God works in us to help us to live our lives as He calls us to.
Receiving the Sacraments more often not only gives us this grace, but also lead us to examine how we are living our lives and draw us into prayer. This helps us to understand more how God works in us, to get to know and understand Him better, and to know how to live our lives are more closely united to Him.
? Study the Catholic faith.
Have you ever been asked by someone, “Why do Catholics do ______?” and you didn’t know how to respond? It is important for all Catholics to know their faith. Since our Catholic faith is so rich and has a long history (over 2,000 years!) there is a lot to know. Start with the basics, like: What do Catholics believe? What are the sacraments and why do we have them?
Here are some resources if you are looking for ideas to get started:
Buy a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a YouCat (which is the Catechism geared to teens) to have as a reference and to read. The Catechisms explain the Catholic faith and what the Church believes in and stands for.
Read the writings of Catholic apologist Dr. Scott Hahn. He was a protestant minister who converted (with his wife and family) to the Catholic faith after much study and prayer. He has videos, resources, and information about his many books on his website. Check your local library for his books.
Kelly Wahlquist is a Catholic speaker and evangelist to check out. Her website has posts written by her and links to other articles she has written.
Ascension Press has many resources available for sale to help you learn more about and grow in your faith.
Check out the Resources page here at Blessed Catholic Mom for more lists of great books to help you grow in your faith.
? Think about God and the life of Jesus.
Make time to think about God and the life of Jesus can help you to understand Him better.
One way to do this is to ask Him to walk with you as you go about your day. You can think about Him and what His life was like or think about the recent Gospel you heard at Mass. You may want to think of Jesus as a child as you tuck your little ones into bed.
Opportunities to think about God and the life of Jesus are all around us!
? Think about Jesus’ great sacrifice for you.
This can be a tough one for some. It can be easier to see the joys Jesus experienced and miracles He performed rather than contemplate His suffering and death on the cross. Yet, in His sacrifice, His great love for you is revealed.
Thinking of Jesus’ suffering and death is a way to better understand and accept His great love for you. If this is difficult for you to do, ask Him to help you. He will.
? Think about how much God loves you.
God is amazing. He created the world and all that is in it. He created all of us. Jesus became a man (the Word incarnate), suffered, and died for the sake of your salvation. Now that is LOVE! He chose to do this for you, so you can have eternal happiness with Him in Heaven.
Ask Him to help you to understand how much He loves you.
3. Teach your children about God.
We learn more when we teach. Teaching our children about God and bringing them up in our Catholic faith is part of our responsibility as parents.
- Read them catechism books, children’s Bibles, and biographies of saints.
- Download free coloring pages and craft projects at Catholic Icing to do with your kids.
- Pray with them each day.
- Teach them the prayers of our Catholic faith.
- Share your life with them and talk with them about your own faith. Remember, kids love stories and enjoy hearing about when their parents were growing up!
4. Learn more about the saints.
In our Church, each day is the feast day of a saint. There are so many wonderful saints in our Church!
If you have a favorite saint, learn more about her or him. Perhaps there is a saint you have heard of and have always wanted to learn more about. Spend some time learning more about this saint.
If you don’t know where to begin, Franciscan Media is a very helpful website. You can read about the saint of the day or find out about a different saint that interests you.
5. Trust in God.
This simple statement is not always easy to do! When you trust in God, you show Him that you are willing to let go of the hold you have on your life and place your life in His hands. When you do this, you show Him that you do love and trust in Him.
If this is difficult for you to do, pray about it. Ask God to help you to trust fully in Him.
6. Invite God into your life.
God gives us free will. He does not force Himself into your life. He waits for you to invite Him in. He loves you so much that He died for you. He wants to be involved in your life with you, working together as a team.
As you read the Bible and pray, you learn more about God. Tell Him about yourself, too. Yes, He already knows all about you, but He wants to have a relationship with you, so take some time to talk to Him about yourself, too.
To invite God into your life more, you can ask Him for advice, share your joys with Him, tell Him your sorrows, ask Him for help in your struggles, and just spend time with Him in prayer or adoration before the Blessed Sacrament at church.
God is waiting for you. How will you answer? Invite Him in.
Is working to become a better Catholic simpler than you think?
Becoming a better Catholic comes down to knowing your Catholic faith, spending time with Jesus Christ in prayer, and trying your best each day to live as He calls you to live-even while you are in the midst of diapers, paying bills, and dealing as best you can with teenage attitudes. One day at a time is all He asks of us.