A Short Road to Perfection – the list from Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman may be short but not easy to implement!

A Short Road to Perfection

There’s always work to be done regarding our faith life, our spirituality. It will never end and as your relationship with God deepens, the work actually gets harder not easier. My guess is that often you are distracted from your spiritual growth because “your heart grows weary from the anxieties of daily life” yet, Christ calls us to “be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21: 34-36

With that exhortation in mind, here’s a short list of things that if you are not doing you can start to do or if doing some, you can add to your day to help you on the way to perfection.

Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman said, when striving for perfection that “We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic-not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings-but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound-we mean the opposite to imperfect. As we know well what imperfection in religious service means, we know by the contrast what is meant by perfection.

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day. I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim.If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first- (text in parenthesis is mine)

  • Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; (St. JoseMaria Escriva’ called this the heroic minute – a simple mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body)
  • Give your first thoughts to God; (a great way to build out negative thoughts that bombard the mind upon waking or what the early Christians called the morning demons)
  • Make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; (drop in for just 5 minutes on the way to from work)
  • Say the Angelus devoutly; (start with praying it at noon)
  • Eat and drink to God’s glory; (deepens the prayer before meals a bit)
  • Say the Rosary well; (adding a daily Rosary to your day’s plan is a great start to praying it well)
  • Be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; (refocus on the Christ crucified)
  • Make your evening meditation well;
  • Examine yourself daily (a great way to reflect on the good moments of the day and the moments that occurred that could have been handled better)
  • Go to bed in good time (whatever time that is for you so you don;t have to struggle when it’s time for rising – see the first bullet point!)

…………..and you are already perfect.”

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman – Meditation and Devotions, p. 285

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