Tapping the Power of Your Catholic Faith

No matter how many divorced Catholics I talk to, I’m always filled with a sense of pain for them. I’ve been through a divorce and know how difficult it is. What hurts more are the Catholics that leave the Church after their divorce. I know the very thing they are searching for, peace and joy, are most fully found in the Catholic Church-the very church they’ve left! For this reason, I want to share with you my thoughts on the healing that can be found through the sacraments and other practices of our Faith.

Our Catholic faith is like a nuclear power plant…it provides an endless supply of God’s power to help us tackle the challenges we face during divorce. The emotions, stress, the new, unwanted way of life all take a toll on our spiritual equilibrium and attitude of hope. If the Catholic faith is the path to regaining balance and restoring optimism, how does one tap its power? Here are three solid ways:

1. Get a prayer life!

The most fundamental way to tap the power of your Catholic faith is through prayer. Catholics knows at least half-a-dozen prayers ranging from the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Memorare, the Angelus, etc. Those prayers are wonderful and should be prayed often. The rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet are also excellent ways to reflect on God’s love for us and trust Him more fully.

There is another type of prayer that is very powerful: meditative prayer. Meditative prayer allows you to better understand the why and how of Christian life so you might live it more fully. While there are many books and materials you can choose to meditate on, the Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, are a great place to start. Take 15-30 minutes in a quiet place-in front of the Blessed Sacrament is always a perfect place-and read a passage from one of the Gospels. Daily Gospel readings are excellent for this. As you read, be aware of a word or phrase that jumps out at you. Typically, this is how the Holy Spirit prompts you. Dialogue with Christ on what that prompting means in your life. End your mediation with a commitment for the day that will help you to more fully live the Gospel message revealed to you.

Don’t get too hung up on finding the perfect prayer. The most important thing is be consistent. That means praying at least 15 minutes every day. Most people struggle with even finding an extra 15 minutes. I suggest establishing a prayer routine that matches the rhythm of your day. For some, that 15 minutes of quiet time is at 5AM… before the day starts and when everyone is still asleep. For others, it is during their lunch break.Whatever works for you, block out that time and pray, everyday.

One recommended prayer routine that works well is 15-30 minutes in the morning and a 5-10 minute review of your day/examination of conscious in the evening. A weekly Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament is an excellent way to really amp-up your prayer life as well.

Several great resources on prayer are: Part Four of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Spiritual Progress by Fr. Thomas Williams, and Fr. Larry Richards has a very motivating talk on prayer atwww.thereasonforourhope.org. Dig into prayer and begin tapping the incredible power of your Catholic faith.

2. Let the Holy Spirt Be Your Guide

Christ promised to never abandon us (John 4:18) and He fulfilled his promise with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always present to us. Unfortunately, we are often not open to His loving guidance. We tend to block the Holy Spirit with our own pride that tells us we know best. Another way we block the influence of the Holy Spirit is through sin. Sin is like mud on a windshield. The more we sin, the more we block our view of the path God has laid out for us. Eventually we end up in a ditch. But frequent reconciliation will help clean the mud off our spiritual windshields and keep us sensitized to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We are so blessed that Christ gave us the gift of reconciliation. To sin is human, to go to reconciliation is divine!

Call on the Holy Spirit before you make any type of significant decision, like a conversation with your ex-spouse, a job interview, attending important meetings/events, etc. Simply utter “Holy Spirit guide me” or use one of the dozens of prayers to the Holy Spirit. One of my favorites is:

Holy Spirit, soul of my soul, I adore Thee. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen and comfort me. Tell me what I ought to do and order me to do it. I promise to submit to anything that you require from me, and to accept everything that Thou allow to happen to me. Just show me what Thy will is.

Check out paragraphs 683-686 of the Catechism for more details on the Holy Spirit. There are many other great resources on the Holy Spirit. My personal favorite is: In the School of the Holy Spirit by Fr. Jacques Phillippe.

3. Take Advantage of the Sacraments

The Sacraments are the greatest gifts Christ left us. As adults we tend to lose this understanding. Children don’t. Over the years I have taught 2nd grade religious education for my daughters. I am always amazed at the awe and wonder these seven-year-olds have for the Eucharist. They’re always so excited to be able to hold Jesus in their hands! We need to be more like them and regain our awe and wonder for Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist. If the woman in the Gospel who was hemorrhaging for twelve years and was healed because she believed she would, simply by touching Jesus’ cloak (Mark 5:25-29), imagine how Jesus could transform our lives by our receiving Him into our bodies! Our struggles, grief, and sorrow are no match for the God of the Universe if only we would avail ourselves of Him. Receive the Eucharist often; every Sunday and during the week, if possible.
Another great way to receive the graces of the Eucharist is in Eucharistic adoration. Many churches offer perpetual adoration, allowing you to visit Christ 24/7. Thankfully, Christ is present in the tabernacle at every Catholic church.  Even if your church does not expose the Blessed Sacrament, you can still visit Christ simply by praying in front of the tabernacle. Scheduling an hour every week to spend in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament will change your life. The greatest power in our Catholic faith is in the Eucharist. The more you receive it in any form, the more your Catholic faith will transform you and bring you the balance and hope you desire.
It always amazes me that Christ’s first words to his disciples after his resurrection were about the forgiveness of sins (John 20:19-23). I would have expected him to lay out some elaborate ten step plan for the salvation of the world. Yet, he simply told his disciples to forgive sins in His name. Christ knows our human nature all too well, having taken it on as his own for thirty-three years. He knows our weakness and our propensity to sin. Stay plugged into Christ by going to reconciliation often. Frequent reception of this sacrament keeps us showered in God’s life-giving grace. If you are feeling emotionally weak, overwhelmed, confused, or restless, chances are you haven’t been to reconciliation lately. Try and get in the habit of going every two weeks. Not only will you feel more at peace, you will notice that you make better decisions and tend to resist sin more readily.

Ready, Set, Go!

There is no time like the present to begin incorporating some of these suggestions for more fully tapping your Catholic faith. A more consistent prayer life, openness to the Holy Spirit, and frequent reception of the sacraments will insure you tap this power. Doing so is sure to bring greater balance and optimism into our challenging lives.

(c) Vincent Frese, II
www.divorcedcatholic.org
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2 thoughts on “Tapping the Power of Your Catholic Faith

  1. I totally agree with this. The sacraments have kept me going through this horrible time in my life. I also encourage my kids to do the same since they are struggling very much as well. The kids and I pray more together, have read the bible, watch good Catholic and Christ centered movies together, and go to reconciliation and adoration frequently. Their Catholic school has definitely been a blessing too. Daily mass at lunch, weekly adoration, and frequent reconciliation help me see God’s presence and love in my life. It really helps me out when feeling down. He never gives up on us no matter what. I love the Church! It is still tough because the divorce never goes away but God helps us get through it. He gives us hope especially with Heaven.