I’ll admit it. I am NEVER above stealing a good idea. I give credit of course to the original source. Just call it “pointing to best practices.” Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor-in-Chief for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization at his parish and a deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I saw his post (title above) on the web site, “The Integrated Catholic Life.”
It reminded me of the document that Pope John Paul II penned “Pastores dabo vobis” or “I will give you shepherds.” It was an Apostolic Exhortation following a synod on priesthood, seminaries and seminary formation “considering the circumstances of the present day.” Central to the document was the idea that seminarians – and priests – need for “form” their lives around four dimensions in order for them to be healthy, holy and happy. The four dimensions:
* Human (Health, diet, exercise, friendship, family, recreation…)
* Intellectual (Reading (secular and spiritual material), books, magazines, awareness of current events, social media)
* Spiritual (Prayer, sacraments (especially Eucharist and Reconciliation) spiritual direction)
* Pastoral (Your ministry to God’s people, your attitude towards your assignment, your relationship to your fellow seminarians/priests, priestly professionalism)
As one can see, it can also be applied as a good rule-of-life for religious and the laity as well and, as such, I have preached on this document often. It has been the central “yardstick” of not only my priesthood, but my entire life since before I was a deacon. I’m constantly checking in, looking at my calendar and saying to myself “OK what area has been missing this week? Where do I need to focus over the next few days? What can be cancelled or substituted to get a better balance to the week?”
I think that Deacon Mike’s article reflects “Pastores” very nicely within a contemporary context. Bottom line…. it doesn’t matter what you use (Pastores, Ignatius’ “Spiritual Exercises,” deSales’ “Introduction to the Devout Live,” the “Little Way”of the Little Flower….) Just pick one!
It will NOT be easy but consequences of the alternative are certainly not better.