7 Habits of Holy People – A Spiritual Reflection
Ever since Stephen Covey’s highly successful book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, there has been a flurry of books and lists and articles laying out seven or ten or twelve “habits” for people to be successful in some type of niche. This can be teenagers, moms, dads, business people, etc… Most of them are rather good. The issue with each of the, of course, is pick one and stick to it over time. That’s the difficult part.
I recently heard a speaker who talked about the “7 Habits of Holy People.” The ideas are biblical and sound and perhaps provide a perspective that you might find useful.
Love Yourself. First, listen to the words that you use to describe yourself. The words that you use about yourself become your perceptions become your choices become your actions and ultimately becomes your life. You are created in God’s image and likeness. Thus, for any move towards higher holiness, what you say is important. Second, take care of your basic human needs INCLUDING what energizes and inspires you. The trouble with ancient heresies was that they were too angelic, not basic. Look at John 21:7-14. Jesus didn’t do a prayer meeting. He cooked breakfast. The best version of yourself is not a burned out version of yourself.
Pray. Start with receiving the Eucharist – it’s the supreme form of prayer. Some might say, “Oh that’s too easy. I don’t have to DO anything.” Yup, that’s right. It’s not about what YOU do. It’s about what CHRIST does. Next, just talk to the Lord, then keep quiet and listen. God speaks through the thoughts that you get. Third, God speaks through His “Word.” He communicates in a way we can understand through reading the Bible and also speaks in a way we can understand through the Scriptures read at Mass from the Lectionary. This doesn’t take long either. That’s one less YouTube video per day.
Live A Pure Life. We’re not talking about crushing natural urges but placing natural energies at service of love and at the service of others. To separate true love of other from lust or selfishness, the measure is that loving others means wanting and helping them to obtain what is good for them. This is especially with so many temptations coming at us via the internet. “Stay away from that stuff. It doesn’t show a person, it shows an option” (John Paul II, paraphrased).
Find A Community. “Hope always has a human face.” So chose people over isolation. Get to know what’s really going on in a few other people’s lives. It doesn’t have to be a “religious” thing either. It can be a golf or tennis group, bridge group, some people with whom you share a hobby. Eventually you will begin to share thoughts at a deeper and more intimate level and the Holy Spirit will work through their words and actions to speak to your heart.
Forget Yesterday. Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. Jesus came to make dead people alive. Too often people refuse to forget and let go of that “that thing” that they think disqualifies them from the love of God. Don’t carry your sin around for a day longer than you have to. Scar tissue is the strongest tissue on your body. Your wounds, given to Christ, become your strength.
Serve. This doesn’t have to be anything big or heroic. Be nice and do something kind for those whom you love and who love you. Do something for someone else that you like doing. This helps you serve with happiness. Serve the poor ( … or risk going to hell. Look at Matthew Chapter 25)
Share The Faith. This is done primarily through your witness – the way you live your life. It can also be through your words. Some people don’t feel comfortable about talking about “religion.” That’s understandable. However, what if you don’t “say it” especially to a person who so desperately needs to know that there is a God and that God is important in someone else’s life? Say it BUT – don’t be false. Be yourself.