Sorry for the weird title, I just don’t know how else to put it. Allow me to explain:
I’ve always been theologically and doctrinally orthodox. Nevertheless, I really only practice the bare minimum required of me: Mass attendence, confession, living morally, etc. However, more and more I want to develop an everyday spiritual life. This is so overwhelming for me, so I don’t even know how to start!
Any help would be appreciated.
It looks like the Holy Spirit is working within you. Praise His name! We all need daily and continual communion with Our Lord. First and foremost: pray. It is in prayer that we draw near to Our Lord and lay on His breast as the Beloved Apostle did. We come to Him and He works within us in many ways. Find some prayers you can offer each day, such as the Angelus that is traditionally prayed three times a day (sun rise, noon, sun set) or the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart. Pray these prayers and then also spend time in meditation and contemplation with Our Lord.
In addition to times of prayer, spiritual reading. Find a book on the spiritual life, whether it be the autobiography of a Saint or a book on the spiritual life such as Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s Three Stages of the Interior Life. Commit to reading a part, maybe 15-20 minutes worth, each day. This helps form your thoughts and your heart on the spiritual life. It’s a guide. Another good one is The Spiritual Combat.
Incorporate other disciplines. We’re all required to abstain from meat on Friday’s but Wednesday is also a traditional day of fasting in remembrance and reparation of Our Lord’s betrayal.
The spiritual reading and fasting help in prayer. Most of all we must pray. The best idea is to come up with a rule of life, set up how much time you want to pray and when. Prayer is essential.
The posts here are inspiring and helpful for me also. I would second them.
However, I get the feeling you may be receiving a call to priesthood or religious (don’t know if you are male or female, or how old you are).
You may want to speak to a priest about this.
First of all start each day off with a Morning Offering prayer - there are many on the internet and in various prayer books, so find one you like. That way your whole day becomes an offering to God and a prayer to Him in itself.
Then it’s a good idea to connect with Him through His word - read a passage of scripture, or if you don’t have a Bible handy start with the prayer He taught us, the Our Father (which is scripture too, remember!). Ask Him to teach you how to pray before starting.
Be really thoughtful with the scripture passage or the Our Father - pause at the end of each phrase or line and take time to allow its meaning to sink in, and to register the thoughts or responses it evokes in you and give them back to God too. You can build up to taking a good ten or fifteen minutes or more over this one.
If you feel inclined to pray the Rosary, or perhaps the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, those are excellent as well. Start with a single decade each day if you don’t feel up to a whole Rosary or Chaplet.
Then find a short prayer that you can repeat throughout the day whenever you think of it - maybe a short scripture verse that appeals to you from your reading, a phrase from any prayer that you like, or something utterly simple like ‘Jesus and Mary, I love you!’. Again, pray it with meaning (easier if you pick something that has meaning for you).
At the end of the day, take some time to reflect a little on what has happened during the day and what you’ve done. Thank God for the good, say an Act of Contrition asking forgiveness for the wrong and ask Him to watch over you while you sleep and help you do better tomorrow.
Start with these and build up from there - the main thing is to remember that prayer is communication, so tell God what is on your mind but also take time to listen. That’s one reason for including scripture - it’s been described as His love letter to us, and it’s one sure way of hearing His voice.
Every spititual practice is ok to help you, but remember they are anly means.The real spiritual life is with other people: choose to be the last, to be ignored, to be blamed without fault, to help without reward, to do for others what you don’t feel like doing.
Humilliation is the test. However, to stand all that trial you need every day Mass, continual prescence of God, continual praying…
Some great advice in this thread. God is calling you closer to Himself by giving you the desire to go beyond lukewarmness. If you cultivate a daily commitment to prayer, you’ll see changes for the better over time.
I personally have found daily meditation to be especially helpful. I use the method Fr. Dubay teaches in Prayer Primer:
Find a quiet place.
Recollection of the presence of God: this does not mean you need to try to “feel” God’s presence; just acknowledge with faith that He is there.
Input from Scripture or other spiritual reading.
Response: conversing with the Lord about it; adoring, loving, praising, thanking, and sorrowing with inner, quiet words.
Resolution: determine to do something specific beginning today about what we have been pondering; resolving to change and grow so that our actions may match our prayer.
It would be great if you had the opportunity to make a Cursillo. The best part comes afterward when you meet with other Cursilitas on a weekly basis to help you on your spiritual path. Sometimes when we go on retreat, we want to incorporate all the spiritual practices. Think about your spiritual life as you would if you wanted to get in shape physically. When a person jumps into a physical program, they get injured or for other reasons quickly burn out. On the other hand, if a person starts slowly and gradually adds to his physical conditioning, he/she grows stronger, faster, and more flexible. Approach your spiritual life in the same way. Perhaps start with a daily rosary or set aside 15 minutes a day for scriptural reading. Later add the Liturgy of the Hours starting with Morning or Evening Prayer. Add some devotional readings. What I am writing is not a persciption. Each person finds a way that works for him/her. The important part is to start slow and build.
One way that people have found to begin is by giving themselves some quiet time in the morning. Make a cup of coffee. Find a comfortable seat and read a good devotional book or some Scripture. I hope this helps. God bless you. He will reward even the smallest effort.