5 Super Simple Steps to Spiritual Perfection – EpicPew

5 Super Simple Steps to Spiritual Perfection

Do you make spiritual resolutions every time New Year’s rolls around, but find yourself forgetting about those same resolutions in a few weeks? Do you renew your those promises to strive for the Lord in a deeper way when Lent starts – but then beat yourself up because you’ve failed just a few days in? You want to strive for spiritual perfection but things keep falling flat.

It’s not that you struggle to make good spiritual resolutions. You just struggle to keep them. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

More than likely, you’re not struggling because you’re too week. Instead, your struggle could be rooted in the fact that you haven’t taken full advantage of the grace God gives us to live healthy, abundant, and holy lives.

That struggle is exactly why Father Philip Dion wrote A Handbook for Spiritual PerfectionWith his advice, you can learn about simple ways to grow closer to the Lord – and finally keep those great spiritual resolutions you’ve made.

Here are five tips from Father Dion’s writings that you can put into practice today:


1. Spend time thinking about your faith life

Most of the time, we don’t have a true appreciation for the supernatural. “Yet the difference between those who have and those who do not have a real appreciation for the supernatural is the difference between the saints and us,” writes Father Dion. “If we are to grow holier,” he continues, “it will follow only upon greater self-motivation, which, in turn, will come from a greater realization of the meaning of the truths of our Faith.”

How can you spend time thinking about your faith life more on a daily basis? Father Dion suggests the simple practice of fostering a habit of mental prayer. “Mental prayer is simply a conversation with God about Him and us,” he explains. “Thus we have used our imagination and our memory and ultimately our minds to think about God or some particular virtue or vice.”


2. Identify your faults

Growing in spiritual perfection simply means uniting our wills to the will of God. But things stand in the way of our growth – namely, our sin.

“From this fact arises the necessity of knowing ourselves, of seeing the deformity between our will and God’s will. It is necessary to know this deformity in order to correct it. In other words, to be completely pleasing to God, it is necessary to know ourselves and know wherein we depart from God’s will,” writes Father Dion.

How do we go about identifying our faults? Begin by asking the Lord to reveal where you can grow closer to Him. Learning from others is also an option – although Father Dion warns to tread carefully when asking others about your faults. “Unless we have the sincere desire to be better, self-knowledge acquired from others is only an irritant. Criticism always smarts . . .Yet, in spite of this, criticism often points most surely to our failings.”


3. Abandon yourself to God’s will

In the process of discerning where you can grow closer to God and how to strive for virtue, another important question to ask yourself is “Why would I like to do these things?”

It can be tempting to strive for spiritual perfection for the wrong reasons. We may want to reach spiritual heights because we want to measure up to the ideal version of ourselves we can picture in our mind. Perhaps we simply want to feel good about ourselves, or never again be humiliated for one of our faults.

“The only answer to our difficulty in this problem of our growth in perfection, as in all problems, is to conform to the will of God. For the perfection that we seek and the perfection that God wants for us is nothing other than the union of our will with His will. It consists only in wanting at every moment what God wants,” Father Dion writes.


4. Make fruitful confessions 

When striving for spiritual perfection, you may be asking yourself “Why am I not getting any better at this?” as time goes by. Father Dion encourages readers to turn towards the sacraments for aid. But sometimes, even when we turn to the sacraments frequently, we still don’t have the results we hoped for. How can we be truly present during the sacrament of Confession? Father Dion has a few tips.

He advises that we begin by examining our consciences. “This cannot be done, of course, in a few minutes after rushing to church from some absorbing occupation when it is time for Confession,” he warns. “We cannot, it is true, always choose the time we would like to go to confession, but we should make our preparation for Confession at some time we do have available, even if it is the night before.

Father Dion also recommends taking time to find the root cause of sin in our lives. “We might say ‘I was uncharitable'”, he offers as an example. “That is what we did, but what we are is self-opinionated, attached to our own judgement, intolerant of opposition. . . By confessing the underlying causes of our external faults, we likewise invite direction from the confessor, who, seeing that we care enough about our own advancement to use some means to achieve it, it is moved to interest himself and apply his efforts to the same end.”


5. Persevere when it gets tough  

“Do not be in the least discouraged at what may seem a discouraging task in life,” Father Dion encourages. “Our goal has been presented clearly, but we are not at the goal; perhaps we are not expected to be at the goal. But if the goal were never pointed out to us, we would never begin to strive for it.”

If you find yourself becoming discouraged in the journey towards spiritual perfection, Father Dion recommends discerning the root of the discouragement. Often, we may find that “it is because we are trusting in ourselves and not in God. As a warning to those who trust in themselves, the Lord has said, ‘Without me you can do nothing’. But to those who trust Him, He gives the words of Saint Paul: ‘I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.'”


In The Handbook of Spiritual Perfection, Father Dion shares how to motivate yourself to grow in holiness. You’ll find his tips for how to pray deeply and how to grow in humility. You can pick up a copy of this book at your local Catholic bookstore or online here.