I Peter talks about “Your good conduct in Christ.” What does “good conduct” look like? The Prayer of Pope Clement (see below) can provide us with an idea.
But how do we do this? What are the challenges in living the spiritual and virtuous life that Pope Clement proposes?
- It can become Pelagianism. My prayers, my attending Mass, my pastoral visit, just another item next to the box that I check off.
- It can become “Oprah spirituality;” self centered, narcissistic, “my spirituality, my needs, my relationship with Christ?”
How do we get it right?
Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Peter and John went down and prayed for the disciples of the early church who had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. “Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Stained glass window.
It’s not about what you do. It’s about who he is.
It’s not necessarily about perceived roles, responsibilities and reactions. It’s about a relationship.
You don’t have to DO ANYTHING; just sit in the silence and receive.
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith. I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more. I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning, I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper, And call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom, Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy, Protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask, For as long as you ask, Because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding, Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart, and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins, resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses And to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God, And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world, A Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority, My friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, Greed by generosity, Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself And reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning, Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer, Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work, Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear, My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless, My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me, Keep your law, And come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short, And the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death with a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death to the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.