During the Christmas Vigil Mass, St. Brendan gifted one copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly to each household. It was a pleasant surprise and reminded me once again how awesome my home parish is!
- 4% of registered parishioners contribute 80% of the volunteer hours in a parish. 6.8% of the registered parishioners donate 80% of the financial contributions. There is an 84% overlap between these two groups.
- The aforementioned stats mean that 7% of Catholics are accomplishing more than 80% of what the Catholic Church is doing in America today. The Catholic Church is already the largest charitable organization in the world; imagine how engaging just another 1% of Catholics could change the world. Wow, chew on that for a bit.
- Highly engaged Catholics (the 7% who are accomplishing 80% of the Church’s work in America) are aptly named Dynamic Catholics and have four things in common. The four signs of a Dynamic Catholic are:
- Prayer: Daily prayer routine.
- Study: Students of Jesus who spend on average 14 minutes daily learning about Christ, His teachings and His Church.
- Generosity: Generous with their time, talent, & money. Generous with love in their daily lives.
- Evangelization: Invite others to grow spiritually by sharing your love of God with others.
Mr. Kelly asks the reader to score themselves in each of the four areas. You can see by my self-assessment, that although I have work to do in all areas; initially my time would be best spent on my prayer life.
I pray before meals. I pray at Mass (during and before). I pray maybe 2 Rosaries or Chaplets per month. I attend adoration and pray before our Lord present in the Eucharist about 6 times per year. In my daily life, I am almost in a constant state of conversation with Jesus throughout the day. It’s a little something, but it is certainly not what it should be. Honestly, it’s not very effective either. My prayer life is very willy-nilly. It’s very reactive, it’s full of more petition and less worship, and it’s the first thing to go when I get busy. I’m ashamed to admit that prayer has become the disposable item on my daily check list and quite frankly, our Lord deserves much better. The Lord has infinite forgiveness, but I want to do better for Him.
Matthew Kelly discovered that the prayer lives Dynamic Catholics included some form of daily routine. Here are just a few of his observations:
- The daily routine included a time and place set aside for prayer. This time is a priority and a non-negotiable in the schedule of a Dynamic Catholic, even if it mean waking up earlier or going to bed later.
- More than just a time and place for prayer, they have a routine within their prayer routine. What?!? Dynamic Catholics just don’t sit down and see what happens. They have a plan for their prayer time. They begin their prayer time in very specific ways like reading the Bible, Morning Prayer offerings, reviewing their schedule for the day ahead with the Lord or reading from a favorite spiritual book, etc.
My husband does a much better job of this than I do (despite being very busy). I’m not sure why I struggle with this so much; but I know that this is an area of my life in which I present the devil with an opening. So, in January I put a few new practices in place. So far, here are a few things that I have found helpful:
- A Rosary CD which includes all the decades and has some meditative musical accompaniment.
- I joined The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program from Ascension Press. It allows me to spend time in the Word while offering prayer, reflection and application. You can check it out here:
It’s a pitiful start! Michael Kelly offers a tried and true 7 Step Prayer Process. I’m going to give it a try for the month of February; I look forward to sharing it with you at the end of the month. In the meantime, I would love to learn about your prayer routine; please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I would be much appreciated and it will help me and others who are struggling with their prayer lives. May the peace of the Lord be with you!