We try hard. Really hard. Sometimes too hard to be perfect. And when we fail, we become discouraged and fall harder. What is it about sin that makes it so difficult to conquer? Why are we lured into temptation, failing once again?
Father Philip Dion wrote A Handbook of Spiritual Perfection to help us along our journey allowing us to come face to face with what is causing us to fail. He also shows us how to dig deep and find the root of sin, guiding us to become spiritually perfect through prayer and meditation.
1. Get Motivated!
Sin defeats us and makes us feel like we can do nothing but continue to sin. This is where we need to push forward. Start by meditating on the nature of the sin or attack, and mull over “all the compelling reasons for and benefits of having the virtue or not having the vice.”
2. Pray, always
If we live a life where the Lord is always on our mind, we will live in accordance of our faith. When we don’t pray, or only pray at Mass or some other “designated time,” then it is easy to leave our faith behind. Using our power of mental prayer we can think like God and is the “greatest kind of intellectual activity possible.”
3. Face your faults
No one likes to admit they are wrong, but we are only deceiving ourselves when we don’t. It’s not only identifying the sin, but we also need to get to the root of the cause. “By discovering and attacking our root fault, we are able to combat many of its manifestations at the same time.”
4. Allow God to work
God loves you and everything that happens to you. The Lord tells us, “Not a hair of your head shall perish without his knowledge and without his permission.” While these events seem insignificant, God even cares about this event in our lives! His purpose is to make us more like him, we need to let him do it!
5. Be Humble
Sounds easy enough, but it will be the hardest thing we will ever have to do.
Humility means that we shape our conduct according to the truth.
We like to seem smarter, brighter, funnier, better than those around us. Society tells us we must be proud, strong, and will not be pushed around, but this is not the model Christ gave us. Humility is total submission to God’s will alone. Jesus could have come as a powerful god, ruling over with loud power and might. But no, instead he was born, in the most humble way. He humbled himself to be our example of how to be obedient to God. Instead, we must be proud, strong and not pushed around by the world in who we are in Christ!
We are human and will fail, but if we “keep our eyes on the prize,” keep close to God, we can be as St. Paul said, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”
Fr. Philip Dion concludes in A Handbook of Spiritual Perfection, “What He wants for us to try, just to try. Above all, He wants us to tell Him with all our hearts we at least want to try.”
Use this as a guide to bring yourself closer to God and spiritual perfection.