As a result of Original Sin we all experience disorder in our lives. Emotional disorders, dysfunctional families or family disorder, mental disorder, social disorders, economic disorders, personal disorders, work disorders, and finally the most serious of all disorders are moral and spiritual disorders which springs from Original Sin and personal or actual sin.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises invites us through prayer, meditation, contemplation and Examination of Conscience to work on overcoming the disorder in our life so as to know God’s will and to carry it out faithfully. This will give us great peace of heart, mind, and soul. For this reason the Augustinian definition for peace hits the mark: “Peace is the tranquility of order.” That is to say a prerequisite for peace is interior and even exterior order—a well-ordered life.
The Holy Spirit, being the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, is a God of order. He wants to help us to order our lives. Now is the time! When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego in Mexico Dec. 12th, 1531, she told him to climb the hill and to cut and gather the roses and then to put them in his tilma. Obedient to her, she beckoned Juan Diego to come close to her and with her own hands she ordered the roses that were simply cast in a disarrayed fashion in his tilma. Devotion and prayer to Our Lady can be a sure and efficacious means to overcoming the moral disorders in our lives and experiencing a deep peace of soul.
This presentation will suggest ten specific areas in our personal, family and professional life that we can examine closely and honestly and see if we can make some modification so as to order and improve our lives. If done well and offered as a gift in prayer to Jesus through the hands of Mary, this plan can be a powerful motivation to grow in our spiritual lives and pursue a pathway that leads to sanctity. Jesus commands us: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”
These then will be ten areas in our lives that we can look at, examine and see what we can do to improve, so as to order the disordered and thereby achieve true peace of heart, mind and soul.
1. “It is necessary to pray always without giving up,” (Lk. 18:1). Examine your prayer life with objectivity. Now, it’s a good time to write down at least one concrete way that you can improve your prayer life after each point.
2. “Unless you do penance you will perish,” (Lk. 13: 5). For an eagle to soar to the heights of the highest mountains, he must have two strong and health wings. For a follower of Jesus to be faithful he needs the two wings: prayer and penance, which will give power, patience, perseverance and ultimate peace of presence in a painfully morally poor planet!
3. “Be reconciled to God,” (II Cor. 5:20). Confession! We are all sinners and have fallen short of the honor and glory of God. Thanks be to God that Jesus instituted a Sacrament in which we can always filled with hope start again—that is the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. Make better confessions and work on a better preparation.
4. “I am the Bread of life. Whoever eats the bread I give will have everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day,” (Jn. 6: 22- 71—The Bread of Life discourse). Make better Holy Communions. Starting now, receive Holy Communion as if it were your first, last, only and on which you will be judged for all eternity.
5. “Love one another as I have loved you,”(Jn. 13:34). Rewind the film on your social relations. Maybe some relations are harmful more than they are helpful. Get the axe and cut. Sometimes better to sever rather than cultivate. True friends should help us to get closer to God.
6. “Be slow to quick to listen and slow to speak.” (Read entire chapter of James 3) The saints teach us this principal with respect to speech, speak on three occasions:
- 1) to praise God
- 2) to accuse yourself (of your own shortcomings)
- 3) to edify your neighbor—using words to build up rather than tear down
7. “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men so that by seeing your works they may give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (Mt 5: 13-16—Sermon on the Mount). Permanent Formation. It is incumbent upon all followers of Christ, who is the Light of the world, to work assiduously and constantly on their own permanent formation in the faith. The more we fill ourselves with the knowledge and love of Christ the more we can give to others.
8. “I have come to cast fire on the earth and I am not at peace until that fire be enkindled,” (Lk. 12:49). Apostolic Zeal. If we love Jesus then we should have His same interests and loves at heart. More than anything else on earth Jesus longs for the salvation of immortal souls; that is the reason for which He shed His Precious Blood on Calvary that 1st Friday that we call “Good.” For the love of Jesus I should yearns for and strive to save souls.
9. “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the bigger things,”(Lk. 16:10). God has given us all a vocation—single, married, Religious Life, or the Priesthood. In all of these vocations there is one common denominator: the call to be faithful. Let us work on being faithful in the small works and this will set the foundation to be faithful in the larger. Let us pray that at the end of our lives Jesus will say: “Well done faithful servant…” (Mt. 25: 14-30—Parable of the Talents).
10. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word,” (Lk. 1: 38) Marian Devotion. May our knowledge, love, devotion, trust and in Our Lady grow on a daily basis. True devotion to Mary is one of the clearest signs that we are on the pathway of holiness. Love and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary leads us into love and devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The positive effects of a well-written, orderly, concrete and practical PLAN OF LIFE are countless, but we will list just a few to encourage all to sit down and hammer out their own plan of life or if you like “Reform of life”. You will never regret it!
1. Time will be well-used—Using time to the “Max!. Obviously you will not waste time which is so precious in the eyes of God. We have only one life and we should use it to the maximum capacity!
2. Order. As said earlier, sin causes disorder, a well-written and planned out “Plan of life” can help us to order the disordered in our lives.
3. Peace. Saint Augustine defines it well: “Peace is the tranquility of order.”
4. Work more Efficaciously. If done, our work will be done better and with less expenditure of time and energy.
5. Less Frustration. Often we are overwhelmed with frustration due to failed projects and attempts. A Plan of life can help us to do the project once and well done!
6. Charity towards others. The more good we do on a spiritual plane the more this redounds to the benefit of others. Your spiritual victory is mine too!
7. Merits for Heaven. By working hard and with the Lord you will be storing up more merits for yourself in heaven.
8. Imitate the Saints. One of the hallmarks of the saints is that they work hard for the Lord and they do immense good because they have a goal and purpose dictated by a Plan of Life.
9. A Good Example. By working with order and method and with purity of intention we are giving good example for others to follow. Parents that have order, method and a Plan of life will bless their children with the same impulse.