A Season of Renewal

Christmas is a time of renewal in many ways. 

We renew our relationship with the Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the humility of Jesus’ birth. We are renewed by God’s great love for us in the act of sending his only Son to us as the Incarnate Word.

Our spirit is renewed by special times with family and friends during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

We are renewed by a change in routine — some time off from work, maybe some travel, more prayer time, and carefree timelessness with those we love as other activities slow down for a while.

All of this renewal is good for the soul and can spiritually strengthen us to move into the new year with a fresh perspective and a desire to grow in holiness and healthiness.

At our parish, St. Joseph-Plain City, OH, we’ll be offering a Women’s Day of Renewal on Sat., Jan. 14 from 9-noon with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, SoulCore Rosary prayer, a talk and small group sharing, and concluding with fellowship and lunch. 

Please join us for a beautiful morning of spiritual renewal and fellowship to prepare our hearts and minds for what God is calling us to do in the new year. All women are welcome -- any parish, any denomination, teens and adults.

Please email Lori to reserve your registration at lori@movestrongkbs.com by Jan. 9.

Prayer: The Keystone Habit

Time is a precious commodity especially during the Christmas season. I hear people say that their busy lives don’t allow them time to exercise.

It’s the same with our prayer lives. We may have the desire to pray, but we don’t know how to get started, we can’t seem to find time in our daily schedule, or people and activities seem to zap our time and energy.

Now is the time for us to dig deep, flex those spiritual muscles, and make time for prayer as a top-priority, healthy habit for the New Year.

Do you think ofprayer as a healthy habit? Do you consider prayer the most transformational habit in your life? 

Giving God time in prayer not only deepens our relationship with him, but helps us grow in virtue and can help us reorder our lives—and not just our spiritual lives, but every aspect of our lives.

In business training, we learned about the Keystone habits — these are are habits that lay the groundwork for developing even more practical habits that will ‘supercharge’ our lives and help us become ‘successful’ in business and in life. There are different lists out there, but here is a basic summary:

  1. Set goals
  2. Manage you time well
  3. Exercise
  4. Practice daily gratitude
  5. Learn a new skill

While these are effective habits, I would argue that Prayer is the Keystone habit that will lay the foundation for these five habits — and every other habit and activity in our lives. Through prayer, we learn to know ourselves better and to know ourselves through God. 

This enlightenment through prayer can change our behavior, clarify priorities, lead us to spending our free time in more meaningful ways, remove unhealthy attachments, connect us with people who inspire and encourage us, soften our hearts, bring us more peace, confidence, joy, love, wisdom, kindness, understanding, and so much more. 

The impact of prayer on our souls, and on the Body of Christ, is truly infinite!

“Give me a person of prayer, and such a one will be capable of accomplishing anything.”
~St. Vincent de Paul

Moderation and Consistency

I heard a priest say recently that he does three things every day: pray, celebrate Mass and exercise.

The first two are obvious, but why exercise? 

He wants to keep his body and mind strong and healthy so he can vigorously serve his flock. 

Exercise, when done moderately and consistently, can be a wonderful way to increase our physical and mental energy to be God’s hands and feet in the world. Since diocesan priests are serving their parish 24/7, good health and physical vigor is truly a blessing.

It’s funny that the word Moderation can sometimes feel counter-cultural.

A few years ago, I posted ‘Moderation and Consistency are the Keys to Fitness’ on the whiteboard at my gym. 

One of our gym members strongly disagreed with this sentiment. He told me it sounded weak. His philosophy was to go all out all the time. Unfortunately, he had many former injuries from extreme exercise so maintaining the habit of moderate and consistent exercise proved to be challenging for him and he ended up quitting altogether. 

Unfortunately, our go-go-go culture can make us feel that we must always do more and push harder.

There are circumstances where extreme physical preparation might be necessary, for example, in the military and in law enforcement where your job is to protect and save lives. However, the average person will benefit greatly from doing most activities with Moderation and Consistency.

The principles of Moderation and Consistency can guide our spiritual lives as well. 

While we may desire to pray silently at home every day for an hour, that might not be compatible with how God is calling us to serve in our vocation. We might not start to pray at all until we have a full hour — but if you are like me, that might not happen very often! We can become discouraged and stop praying altogether, so setting realistic expectations is key.

At my weekly Holy Hour last week, I was distracted. I had a hard time praying, reading or even really being present to the Lord. So much was going on in my mind about family and work. I know that God sees and loves our desire to pray even when we do it imperfectly, so we have to keep trying.

Like the priest I mentioned who prays, celebrates Mass, and exercises daily, we can greatly benefit from maintaining healthy habits, in a spirit of Moderation and Consistency, to serve God and the people God places in our lives.