Plan of Life
St. Thomas says that if we take care of order, order will take care of us. Having a plan of life means allowing prayer to enlighten our mind, order our affections, and set us on our way to fulfilling our obligations. It is directed to helping us love God above all, serve the others as Christ taught us, and reach our heavenly home. The plan of life is made up of traditional Catholic practices that people from all walks of life can practice daily to keep a constant dialogue with God.
The morning offering is the prayer we offer as soon as we get up in the morning. In it we offer to God everything that we are, have, and will do for God and for the good of all souls.
We devote one hour to mental prayer, divided in two half-hours. One part takes place in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The practice of mental prayer engages the mind, strengthens faith, converts the heart, and fortifies the will.
The graces that flow from attending Holy Mass and receiving Holy Communion are essential if we want to live a holy life in the middle of the world. As a detail or refinement, we stay for 10 minutes after Holy Mass in thanksgiving and in deference for the moments in which the Sacred Host is still largely whole within us.
Devoting 15 minutes to spiritual reading will expand our knowledge of God, man, and the world. We need this knowledge to inspire the mind and inflame the heart in our lifelong battle for holiness. This time can be divided between reading the New Testament and some suitable spiritual book recommended in spiritual direction.
We honor Mary and her Son in saying the Holy Rosary, an indispensable help in our battle for holiness and apostolate. We recite the Angelus to celebrate with Mary and contemplate with her the mystery of the Incarnation; in the Easter season, we recite the Regina Coeli instead and share in Mary’s joy over her Son’s Resurrection. Both are expressions of our gratitude to the Blessed Trinity for the gift of Our Savior and of Mary. Before we retire at night, we also recite three Hail Marys, asking for the grace of holy purity for ourselves and for all.
During the day, we make it a point to visit the Blessed Sacrament in a church or chapel where it is kept, going out of our way if needed, to give Jesus a bit of company, as well as express thanksgiving, reparation, and adoration.
The particular examination of conscience consists first in identifying a virtue we want to develop or strengthen and then spending a few moments in the middle of the day to check our progress. It is helpful to get some insights regarding this matter in spiritual direction. The general examination of conscience takes place at the end of the day. We spend a few minutes reviewing the day under God's loving gaze and then making an act of contrition, formulating a simple resolution or two, and giving thanks for everything that happened during the day.
In-between these norms, we have the always norms. Through them, we briefly express our adoration, petition, contrition, and thanksgiving through loving awareness of and a brief prayer to God, Our Lady, St. Joseph, our guardian angel, the souls in purgatory, or some saint.
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