Holiness in Ordinary Life
Mary's life seemed humdrum but the way she lived it showed holiness par excellence. Whether praying or working, she did so with full attention, supernatural outlook, and presence of God. But she also knew how to celebrate life and friendship, had great practical sense, and was ever so quick to discern the needs of others. In the wedding feast at Cana, she was the first to notice that the wine was running out. She put the matter in her Son’s hand, gently persuading him to work his first public miracle and saving the day for the bride and bridegroom. Her readiness to fulfill the divine will and her habitual union with God in mind and heart in her ordinary life turned her into an efficacious channel of graces for herself and for everyone else she prayed for.
In her simplicity and selflessness, Mary gives us an example we can follow. Like Mary, we can convert our day and the fulfillment of our duties into a continual encounter and dialogue with God. The not-so-secret formula lies in having a plan of life built around specific norms of piety that we can habitually and faithfully fulfill. For example, every day we can set aside time for mental prayer, Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Holy Rosary, spiritual reading, and examination of conscience. We can have regular recourse to sacramental confession and attend monthly recollections and yearly retreats. We can also say aspirations and spiritual communions many times during the day to keep presence of God.
In addition, we can make it a point to find time for deepening our Catholic doctrinal formation through appropriate readings or by attending classes on catechism, philosophy, or theology. This way, we get to know the truths of our faith better and are thus able to explain them well to others, while at the same time strengthening our moral principles and sharpen our moral judgment, as well as growing in supernatural outlook and in our conviction that we are children of God.
An equally helpful practice is going to spiritual direction with a priest who can encourage us to live the human and Christian virtues necessary for sanctifying our work, family life, and social relations.
In all this, our goal is to be more and more like Christ, thinking with his mind and loving with his heart.
Life is often hard sledding, especially if we take our family, professional, and social responsibilities seriously and even more so if we seek holiness in our ordinary life. Sanctifying our daily work and duties calls for good use of time and doing what needs to be done as well as one can, with upright intention, true spirit of service, and the desire to please God and do his will. It also calls for continuing professional, intellectual, and cultural formation, without which it will be difficult to do one’s work with competence, prudence, and consciousness of the common good. It is likewise necessary to practice detachment from material goods and grow in the Christian spirit of sacrifice, without neglecting one’s health and duty to rest. God will reward our generosity in all these things with a deep sense of joy and peace and often with temporal or material blessings as well, making us realize that heaven begins here on earth when we seek holiness in our daily life.
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