We offer you ten short counsels to help you in your daily battle to arrive at spiritual maturity and eventually in the loving embrace of your Heavenly Father. Prayerfully meditate upon these ten fiery arrows that if used well, launched at the proper time and place can serve to raise you up on high.
1. Heaven! I was brought into this world by the loving hands of God to end up forever in the loving Heart of God for all eternity. Every day I should spend at least a few moments reflecting on who God is, why He created me and how to draw closer to my eternal destiny: heaven!
2. Refuges in the storms of life. In the spiritual life there are moments of calm, but also many storms. Jesus frequently reminded St. Faustina to prepare for battles. In the midst of the storms and battles of life, we must find some secure places to seek refuge. There are two: the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May our constant prayer be: “Jesus I trust in you; sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation.”
3. Kryptonite to Your Life. Be constantly vigilant in your spiritual life. The devil is out on the prowl, seeking to attack and kill. St. Peter says that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour; resist him solid in the faith.” Do you know your kryptonite, your major weak point? Ask the Holy Spirit as well as your Confessor or spiritual director to point it out to you! Ignorance of our weak point enhances the work of the devil!
4. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. This is the excellent advice of the Apostle Saint James. Pope Francis reminds us time and time again to avoid all forms of gossip and sins of the tongue which can kill. Read and meditate on Saint James chapter three—one of the best chapters in the Bible highlighting the damage that a loose tongue can cause!
5. Charity begins at home. It can be very easy at times to manifest patience, kindness and even exquisite charity to strangers or work companions or associates. However, once at home, we can be transformed into devils! Never forget: charity begins at home with the members of the family. Every day try to do an act of kindness to some family member.
6. Mercy in one of three ways. Jesus insisted in the Diary of St. Faustina in living out charity, encouraging us to carry out at least one act of mercy every day. Jesus outlines three ways that charity can be manifested: 1) Words of kindness; 2) deeds of kindness; 3) Prayer for somebody. Why not start today to be a messenger of God’s love and mercy?
7. Never Give Up. The Bible reminds us that even the just man falls seven times a day. We were born sinners, are sinners and will die as sinners. Despite our human fragility and weakness we should never give up or lose hope, but rather upon falling, humbly admit our fall, repent and start again. Remember the consoling words of the Psalm: “God is slow to anger but rich in kindness.” We tend to be quick to anger and slow to forgiveness. God is the opposite. As soon as we repent and turn our hearts to God, our merciful God forgives in a heartbeat, a blink of the eye, a split second. How great our God is! We can either be like play dough that falls and remains glued to the ground; or we can be like a super-ball that hits the ground and bounces even higher. What are you like: super ball or play dough? It is your choice!
8. Permanent Formation. Get into the habit of good spiritual reading. The human mind is like a field, better yet, a garden! A field or garden that is never cultivated will eventually be filled with weeds which eventually choke out the plants and flowers. The habit of a solid, methodical and constant spiritual reading nourishes the mind with holy and noble thoughts, which in turn leads to noble affections of the heart and finally culminates in noble actions that we can call virtues! This in turn will set us on the highway to holiness and the final result will be eternal beatitude in heaven. There is a saying, “You are what you eat.” There is truth to this! But even more we can say we are what we think! Jesus said that we should love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength!
9. Live in the presence of God. Brother Lawrence insisted in his masterpiece “Live in the Presence of God” that holiness could be achieved by living out this one concept—being aware of and living constantly in the presence of God. Before carrying out a questionable action, why not ask God if this would be pleasing to Him? St Teresa of Avila, woman Doctor of the Church, asserts that one of the primary reasons why we give in to sin is because we become oblivious to or simply forget the presence of God! St. Paul, in his discourse to the Athenians, quotes a Greek poet: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” God is never far from us, but we often distance ourselves from Him.
10. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. Recently there has been a growing interest and trust in Mary under this somewhat surprising title: “Our Lady undoer of knots”. Our life can prove to be a complicated, messy, dirty, bumpy, valley of tears! We may find ourselves in economic, social, psychological, or moral situations—that are so complicated and knotted up—that it might seem literally impossible to find a solution! Why not turn to Mary? The first Miracle that Jesus accomplished was in the context of a very knotty and uncertain occasion—a wedding couple must have miscalculated the number of guests—but they unfortunately ran out of wine. Our Lady gently turned to Jesus saying: “There is no more wine… then do whatever He tells you!” Jesus heard His Mother’s request and untied the wedding knot! He turned water into wine and the best of wine! Today why not give Mary your knots so that she can undo them and give you freedom, the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!