Prayer: How to increase in holiness/sanctity the most

Pax Domini, :smiley:

Heb 12:10, “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

I could go into all the bible verses that speak of the need to stay out of mortal sins like fornication, adultery, lust, masturbation, drunkenness, persistent anger, and etc. But I will just leave that up to you to find that on your own. Christ says we must live holy or else we will not go to heaven. What a sobering thought, so I want to live very holy.

I have been speaking to a spiritual director for a long time, he is an Abbot of a great holy monastery and he happens to be a spiritual giant and scholar. I really have learned many great things from him. But the best thing I ever learned was this, just wanted to share this.

He said the only loosers in this life are those who don’t live holy and fall into sin.

He told me that the way you overcome any sin is by growing closer to God through prayer. The closer you grow to God the more you love him, and then sin just kind of disappears from your life. This I can definitely attest to from my experience, prayer is huge in growing closer to God and thereby love and thereby holiness.

So if holiness is by means of prayer, as St. Alphonsus Liguori says in his great book “Great Means to Salvation and Perfection.” St. Alphonsus says in that book that all sin can be overcome through constant prayer, who perseveres to the end in prayer is he who is saved, the saint says. This was a huge realization for me, so I really wanted to pray a lot.

I heard Father Ripperger (who is not my spiritual director) say that holiness comes through constant prayer, regular reception of the sacraments, and regular penances like fasting.

My spiritual director said that the most powerful prayers are in this order, most powerful to the least powerful. So you should at least do one of these every day, he told me to pick one.

  1. The Holy Mass
  2. The Divine Office
  3. The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  4. The Rosary (5 decades three times daily, so whole rosary)

Also my spiritual director recommended me to practice Lectio Divino, daily Bible or Catechism reading for at least thirty minutes. Prayerfully reading the scriptures, has been very powerful for me to get to know Christ more. The Catechism is also invaluable to help me understand the teachings of the Bible better and the Oral Tradition of the Apostles and teachings of the Magisterium. Anyways, l love daily time for Lectio Divino.

I will now briefly explain why the four I listed above are powerful means to grow in holiness.

The Holy Mass is the liturgical prayer of the Church that puts us at Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, and we get to eat literally his flesh (body, blood, soul, and divinity) in the Eucharist, which is a sacrament. Jesus comes physically and spiritually into us at communion. The Eucharist connects us to Calvary, and is the most powerful thing we can do by far on any day.

The Divine Office is also liturgical prayer, and is like an extension of the prayer of the mass. The Divine Office goes back to the first century, and it even was similar to the way the Jews before Christ prayed and even is how Jesus Christ himself would have daily prayed, and obviously the Apostles and Early Church Father’s and early martyrs would have prayed the psalms at different times of the time of the day, everyday, (which is the Divine Office), it is obviously a very powerful prayer to praise God with. Like people say on this forum, it is the official prayer of the Church. The Divine Office being liturgical prayer connects us to the extension of the prayer of the mass, and is the sacrifice of praise that the Bible speaks about. The New Testament says we should pray the psalms throughout the day, this is the best prayer besides the Mass. You can buy the Breviary book for the Divine Office or just go to a free version online or paid version online to pray this daily.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also liturgical prayer that is a shorter version of the Divine Office. It is a very powerful prayer of praise to God that packs tons of Marian devotion. Baronius Press offers a great one in hardback, or it can be accessed by and just click on “parvum BVM.”

The Rosary is private devotional prayer, but used to be substituted for those who don’t pray the Divine Office.

Please look at post below to see the rest of my comments… I couldn’t fit it all.

I didn’t have room to write it all, so here is the rest…

Liturgical prayer is obviously more powerful than private devotional prayer, the Divine Office would be better than the rosary or any other private devotion. The mass being the best by far, like I already said.

Anyways, besides that the Consecration to Jesus through Mary as outlined in St. Louis de Montfort’s book “True Devotion” is incredibly awesome for greatly increasing in holiness. Mary, obviously takes on a very significant role in one’s life in this consecration conforming you more and more into the image of Christ her son in this devotion by St. Montfort.

Let me just tell you my experience and growth in holiness from prayer. I have been to mass every Sunday pretty much all my life to 18 y.o., fell out of going to Sunday mass from 18-20 y.o. Since 20 y.o. I have never missed Sunday mass. I used to go to weekly confession, cause I had sins I needed to confess, and now I just go monthly. Anyways, just going to mass on Sundays, I didn’t really see much improvement in holiness/sanctity over my childhood or teen years.

Then around 21 I started to pray the rosary everyday and it really helped me stay pretty much out of my most serious sins, gradually I started to fall into mortal sins much less often and even some venial sins disappeared. The rosary helped me drastically increase in holiness even within the first year. I also read the Bible for a minimum of thirty minutes, which also really helped in addition to the Rosary. Everyone who has a daily devotional to the rosary grows in holiness and they sin less often and in less serious ways.

Then I consecrated myself to Our Lady as St. Louis de Montfort describes in True Devotion when I was 28 y.o. This consecration,by St. Louis De Montfort, to Jesus through Mary is the way the Church prescribes you to officially consecrate yourself to Mary, as a layman. This was the most powerful thing I have ever done in my life in regards to holiness. Every morning I renew my consecration by saying his prayer in his book, True Devotion. I went from committing a solitary sexual sin every three months to committing literally no sexual sins within a year of doing the consecration. I wish I would have done the Consecration by St. Montfort sooner. Anyways, I can’t recommend this consecration enough, it is an awesome spirituality and very powerful, I absolutely love it.

But I still had attachment to venial sins, even after my consecration, then I started praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary everyday in addition to everything else I was doing. I started this about 2 years ago, and since then all my attachment to venial sins disappeared. I am no longer attached to any venial sin. I doesn’t mean I don’t fall into some slight venial sin due to human weakness once a week, but nothing major, it is definitely a hugely significant improvement in holiness.

Then I started to pray the Divine Office everyday in addition to everything else I pray everyday. Then, all of a sudden my anxiety went completely away. I used to have slight anxiety all my life, that disappeared. Then, I would go into extreme amounts of love, joy, and peace (Gifts of the Holy Spirit) during prayer. Then, I was extremely much happier and peaceful all through the day. I didn’t pray to grow in peace and happiness, I prayed to get holier. Though, I honestly can say that prayer is better than anything I have ever experienced in my life. Prayer is way better than any sin in bringing you happiness and pleasure. This I can honestly attest to. It is better than any drug or any sexual experience by far. No sensual pleasure even comes close to the pleasure I get in prayer. :cool:

So everyday, I pray the Divine Office, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, do 5 decades of the Rosary, and pray the chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows, and do the consecration prayer by St. Louis de Montfort, and do thirty minutes of Lectio Divino. I spend a huge portion of my day in prayer and spiritual activity cause I have to do that to stay holy.

Wish everyone the best. What devotions do you do to stay holy?

Thanks for the information. God bless you!

I would just like to add that praying both the Divine Office and Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, only takes about 2 hours total of your day praying it kind of medium paced. This is will be your best two hours of the day! :smiley: In the Divine Office you use primarily the psalms and scripture to praise God with his own words. So it is the voice of Christ (the word of God) praising the Father through you.

I always say this prayer to Mary before each Hour; “Immaculate Heart of Mary, I am all thine and all I have is Thine, lend me Thy heart to Praise God with.” So her Immaculate Heart lives in me to praise Jesus who lives in me, so Jesus in turn can praise the Father for me.

Then I say, the prayer of St. Therese of Lisieux,
“God grant that I may love Thee, and be my only reward of my love that I may love Thee more and evermore.”

Here is the link of the website for Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
click on Parvum B.V.M. and it sends you to the Little Office of BVM

Here is the link for the Divine Office,
-I don’t know if they charge for that site now, but mine was free, but they might charge now I think it has been changed, maybe you could find another one of the Divine Office for free online.

This is how I pray it, the Carthusians of the Transfiguration pray the hour of the Little Office of the BVM first, before they pray the Divine Office hour.

So, this is how it goes… intentions of Divine Office by Father Christopher Mayer, intentions of the Little Office of BVM by Drexelius.

For the Divine Office the intentions are
Sun- For entrance into heaven
Mon- Remission of all sin
Tues- Grace of Holy Ghost
Wed- For all in mortal sin
Thurs- For the perseverance of the righteous
Fri- For parents, relatives, benefactors, friends, and enemies
Sat- For abundant charity/peace

This is how I pray it…
Matins of the Little Office of BVM,
-in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, for the conversion of all in mortal sin

Invitatory Psalm of the New Divine Office, and Office of Readings,
-in honor of Our Lord being bound in the garden, with intention like I noted above for the day of week of Divine Office

Lauds of the the Little Office of BVM,
-in honor of the Holy Angels; for all enemies and persecutors

Morning Prayer of the New Divine Office
-in honor of the Resurrection, with intention like I noted above for day of week for the day of the week of Divine Office

Daily Mass

Prime of the Little Office of BVM,
-in honor of Jesus Christ scourged at the pillar; for the pardon of all my sins, and the attainment of the virtue I most need

12 pm (noon)
Terce of the Little Office of BVM
-in honor of Christ Jesus crowned with thorns; for all Christian States and Rulers

Sext of the Little Office of BVM
-in honor of Christ Jesus Crucified, for all afflicted and in sorrow.

None of the Little Office of BVM
-in honor of the Death of our Lord; for all in their agony

Daytime Prayer of the New Divine Office
-in honor of the Scourging, the Crucifixion, and the Death of Christ, with intention like I noted above for the intention of the Divine Office according to day of week

Vespers of the Little Office of BVM
-in honor of the Mother of Sorrows; for all that have died this day

Evening Prayer of the New Divine Office
-in honor of the Ordination of the Apostles, with the intention like I noted above for the intention of the Divine Office according to day of week

Compline of the Little Office of the BVM,
-in honor of all the Saints, for final perseverance in well doing,

Night Prayer of the New Divine Office,
-in honor of Our Lord’s Burial/Eternal Rest in Paradise, with the intention like I noted above for the intention of the Divine Office according to day of week

This is an awesome prayer schedule of praising God, like I said it only takes about 2 hours total of your day. So you can do it!!! :thumbsup:

If you obviously want to secure your place in heaven, enter a religious community, particularly the cloistered ones. So says St. Alphonsus Liguori anyways in his book, “The Great Means to Salvation and Perfection.” That is what I used to want to do was become a cloistered religious monk. They really do live very holy in cloistered monasteries. But it was decided by the monks that life was not for me. I would have absolutely loved it if it was the life for me, but nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be. You can live like a cloistered religious in the world. You can separate yourself from negative influences, by never watching TV or movies except for Catholic stuff, like EWTN or movies about saints. This was huge for me in growing in chastity. Definitely don’t frequent bars either, they are full spiritually unfit people who will lead you into sin. Devote a life of holiness by praising God in intense prayer, solitude, and penance. This life is so short, and we only have one shot to make it to heaven, so spend your time wisely. Forget worldly pursuits that are not absolutely necessary. Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. But invest your time and leisure activities wisely to avoid near occasions of sin. If you don’t avoid people, places, and things that are a source of temptation for you, God will not keep you holy.

St. Thomas Aquinas says, “One of the biggest areas to help you grow in holiness, is knowing who to avoid.”

It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for evangelization, but ask yourself if you are risking your soul trying to save someone else’s. If you are, that is not very smart or prudent or loving to yourself or God.

In your first post you list several prayers in order of most powerful to least(in that list). I don’t see the our father listed. If this is how Christ said to pray why doesn’t it make the top few? I realize this is not a list you made but someone else. I’m curious about a possible reason. Stay safe.

Oops. My bad. The our father is part of the rosary. Working on mindfulness though I wouldn’t know it.

Please OP can you define holiness? As you see it? Thank you. Simply I mean. :wink:

Holiness means to be set apart by God and set apart for his worship, to do that obviously we have to be obeying the commandments as prescribed by Christ with firmness and stability.

Holiness or sanctity is the outcome of our sanctification (that Divine act by which God freely justifies us [declares and makes us righteous]), and by which He has claimed us for His own, because of our sanctity. We are sanctified in act by God, and sanctity is a habit, meaning we habitually practice virtue to obey the commandments

Sanctity means we claim God as the Beginning and the End towards which we daily strive with endurance by lovingly obeying his commandments.

Holiness (sanctification), means we are in a state of grace and set apart for God, having broken away from worldly pursuits. It means we live in justification and also are moving toward justification (declared and made righteous by God).

So I am holy if I am in a state of sanctifying grace, meaning I have been completely forgiven of any mortal sin and stable in preserving the commandments. To be in a state of sanctifying grace we can’t be in mortal sin (committed a grave sin with full knowledge and consent).

To keep the Commandments faithfully involves a separation from this world and stability or strength of character to be in service to God. To do this perseveringly it takes real grace, strength from God. So practice constant prayer, regular reception of the sacraments, and regular penance to live holy.

I got super complicated sorry. Basically holiness means separation from the world and set apart for service to God. To do that requires an act from God (grace), we are set apart for God when we are baptized, and we have to obey his commandments to stay in his friendship, to do that perseveringly (habitually) also requires God’s act, actual grace, to strengthen and help us to obey the commandments. Obeying the commandments habitually would be impossible without grace. God when he crowns our acts (practice of virtue to obey the commandments), he is crowning his very own acts, His grace. So we need to go to God for grace. So we baptized regularly receive the sacraments like the Eucharist and we go to confession if we are in mortal sin, where we are given strength to practice virtue (like love) to obey the commandments. And to sustain God helping us we pray. It seems that holiness involves a lot.

OK. What d you mean, in a few words, by “separation from the world”? and 'set apart for service to God"?
I knew that this would be your definition by the way; just wanted to be sure, and am leaving aside the rest of what you write.

A much wider and simpler thing than this. A mother cariing for her baby is one of the holiest things there is. A father supporting his wife and children. Holy, of God. Of love divine.

A sick person bearing illness. Holy …

Not set apart but within this life.

Jesus lived so we live.

Not set apart.

Dear Rosebud,
Pax Domini, +

What I mean by “separation from the world” and “set apart for God” basically being a child of God, obeying the commandments, in a state of sanctifying grace, and growing to or in Union with God through Charity.

You mentioned a lot of people doing things, it is possible these people are holy (in a state of sanctifying grace), but not necessarily. If the people you mentioned are in mortal sin, and didn’t go to confession or have perfect contrition, well then they are not holy.

A consecrated religious person is holy, a priest’s vestments are holy, a Church is holy, a blessed sacramental is holy, the Eucharist is absolutely holy, and a person in sanctifying grace is holy. Why because they are connected to Christ, God, to his passion, death, and resurrection.

A person who is a unrepentant fornicator or a complete drunkard is not holy. A blasphemer is not holy. These people are not separated from the world, they are fully of the world, and are not worshipping God in holiness.

A baptized baby who became a sanctified child of God is holy, a penitent after confession is holy. These people are separate from the world, consecrated to God, set apart for his worship.

Holiness means you in a state of grace and obeying the commandments with stability on your way to or in Union with God, as God’s adopted child, through grace. Ad Jesum per Mariam.

Let me make a correction,

Holiness means you are in a state of grace and obeying the commandments with stability, in Union with God, as God’s adopted child, through grace. That is being set apart for God’s worship and separated from the world. I guess it seems by that definition a cloistered religious would be extremely holy, the are completely consecrated to God for his worship and are completely separate from the world.

Let me just say that there are all kinds of grace, sanctifying grace, sacramental grace, sufficient grace, efficacious grace, actual grace, habitual grace, sanating grace. I don’t even know if I listed them all. So, it takes tons of God’s help for holiness just so we can obey the commandments with stability and firmness and go to heaven. The saints in heaven I guess received all those graces in their lifetime, so they must have really went to God for help. We need constant prayer, the sacraments, and penance to live holy. We need to go to God. We can’t just use our own willpower to lead a holy life and obey the commandments, we need God’s help to help us obey the commandments. It truly does take God’s help. We need to pray for holiness.


God bless you. Your posts are some of the finest and clearest and best I have ever read on how to live, or try to live a holy life. Thank you.

Pax Domini, +

Thank you Spritus, all I do all day is study the faith and pray. So, I ought to have a much better understanding than I do, but I do really want to love God in holiness. As I am sure all do on this forum. I am far from perfect and I am not a saint yet. But I really strive to please God.

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