Q: What is the best way to incorporate God in my life when I do not have any free time?
A: It seems for each one of us that there is not enough time in the day for all of the plans and projects we have. We must prioritize.
So, too, we must place God at the forefront of our daily priorities as well, for he is the one who has given us life and loves us more deeply than you and I can imagine. In planning our daily routine, we should begin the day thanking God for our life, for our family and for the day itself. We, thus, begin the day in a spirit of gratitude.
Asking the Lord to bless the food we are to receive also reminds us of God’s generous nature in providing us with the food we eat. That spirit of gratitude should continue throughout the day and should also be incorporated in our prayers before we go to sleep at night, thanking God for the day as well as asking for his forgiveness for those moments in which we were less than Christian to our fellow people.
The celebration of Mass occurs each day in our parishes and so for those who have the availability of transportation, I encourage them to attend daily Mass or at least a number of times during the week, in addition to their Sunday attendance. We, also, can pray various Catholic devotions, such as the rosary. Some devotional prayers only take a minute or two and provide us with the knowledge that we are not alone and that the saints in Heaven are praying for us as well.
This all comes down to priorities and planning our day in which we allow ourselves to recognize God’s presence in our lives. Remember, God always has time for us.
Q: How can I become a saint?
A: This is a good question to follow the previous one, for each one of us wishes to be back together in Heaven someday, and we demonstrate that desire through our own words and actions here. The Catholic Church acknowledges a saint indicating the heroic virtue one has lived and one’s fidelity to God’s will. One’s personal holiness sets an example for others, as a person of hope, especially in those times which may be most difficult to be a Christian.
I encourage you that, in addition to your Mass attendance and daily prayer, to read the lives of the saints. You may wish to begin with the particular saint whose attributes or character may be similar to your own. The Catholic Church has a treasury of saints and their lives which is impossible to exhaust in our reading.
You’ll be surprised by how similar so many of the saints who have gone before us are just like you. Each and every one of them demonstrates to us how we may say “yes” to God with our own lives. Beginning our day with prayer, asking God to make us holy and being kind to others is a perfect start to becoming a saint.
Q: What is your opinion on the Holy Father’s acceptance of same-sex marriage and divorced individuals?
A: Thank you for this timely question, for there are certain individuals out in the public media who interpret our Holy Father’s conversations in a particular way, sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly.
Our Holy Father in discussing the issue of Catholics who are divorced reminds us they are individuals in need of God’s grace as much as you and me. Pope Francis reminds us that we as a faith community must be able to embrace all members and even pay particular attention to those who may be suffering in a particular way. The Holy Father has not in any way changed the Church’s approach to the sanctity of marriage, but reminds each and every one of us to exercise a compassionate heart regardless the person’s state in life.
As for same-sex unions, again, the Holy Father reminds us to exercise a compassionate heart toward those who are proponents (support) civil same-sex marriages. Time and time again, especially, most recently, in his audience addresses, Pope Francis has underscored the fact that marriage is between one man and one woman and that Jesus Christ has made it so.
This being said, our Holy Father instructs that we must exercise a merciful heart toward all as Jesus did, even those who were not living in complete conformity with the Faith. Our Holy Father stresses the indissoluble nature of marriage and that the marriage itself is between one man and one woman, but along the same vein reminds us that in the midst of these truths another truth must be embraced and that is the compassionate heart toward others.
As we quickly approach a decision by the United States Supreme Court regarding the constitutional definition of marriage, we pray that the justices will uphold the truth that marriage is between one man and one woman.
May God bless you and your family this Easter Season of hope and joy.
To “Ask the Bishop,” write Joseph M. Taylor, Diocese of Steubenville, Office of Christian Formation and Schools, catechetical consultant and youth ministry coordinator, P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; email, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone, (740) 282-3631.