Sunday, January 11, 2009

- How can I go deeper in my faith this Lent season?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a great group of men at St. Gabriel's parish in Colorado Springs, Colorado about my conversion to the Catholic faith. One of the things I shared was the unusual amount of death and suffering I have seen in my life. The short list of loss includes a brother and sister in their thirties and a niece at two years old. At a young age, I have lived the horrific reality that life, for any of us, could end at any moment. Faced with this understanding, there really is no better time than the present to ensure that when I see God face to face he says, "well done" rather than "depart from me, I never knew you." The latter is a terrifying thought, the former, a glorious one.

At the end of the talk, one of the men asked, "How would you advise someone who is ready to go deeper in their faith?" My answer on the spot was a bit weak - "read the bible and the catechism" - "pray every day etc." Since then, I have had a bit of time to think about this question and I believe I have a better answer, particularly in light of the seasons of Lent and Easter just around the corner. Here's the “Going Deeper” plan that I would have recommended if I had been better prepared.

1) Get a copy of “Inside the Passion” by Father John Bartunek and commit to reading a portion of it every day with a finish date of Thursday the 10th of April – the day before Good Friday. If you finish this ahead of time, commit to one decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries on a daily basis or pray through the Stations of the Cross each day. A great way to do the latter is through the "Passion Companion" which also leverages the artwork of the film to held us better experience the Stations of the Cross devotion.

2) Commit to praying for five minutes (or add five minutes if you already pray) on a daily basis using any prayer that appeals to you (i.e. Our Father, Rosary, etc). Ask God to reveal himself more fully to you just as the father of the sick boy in Matthew 9:24 asked Jesus, “…I do believe Lord, please help my unbelief.”

3) Watch the “The Passion of the Christ” on Good Friday. Be careful to watch it devotionally instead of from the standpoint of entertainment. Watch it at night just before you go to bed. Don’t pop any popcorn and keep the chips in the pantry. Prepare your heart and enter into the film. Engage with Christ as he gives his life up for you. Ask Him, "how can I give back to you in return for such an overwhelming gift?"

Any good plan consists of just three key points, but I would add one more. After Lent, use that same prayer habit you developed during lent (or further developed) and learn to know Christ more deeply. Pick up a copy of Father John’s book, “The Better Part.” Learn to meditate on the incredible person and work of Christ on a daily basis.

I promise that you will never regret your investment in your eternal destiny, and you will never be the same.

In Christ, Dan

PS: For a brief review of a few of these books check out our "Book Recommendations" section here on the blog.


  1. You may find the article "The Seven Daily Habits of Holy Apostolic People" by Fr. John McCloskey really helpful. I've got some commentary and a link to that article in a post by the same name on my blog.

    Excellent information you have here; I've added "Catholic Spiritual Direction" to my blogroll.

  2. Speaking of prayer - a very unusual and potent treatment of the Our Father can be found in the book, The Interior Liturgy of the Our Father, available through EWTN bookstore. A link describing the book is here:
    The book is something of a guide along the pilgrimage of life, finding the Our Father to be a "spiritual director" in itself.

    The author also insists upon the need for a balanced life along the journey in Christ, balanced in the 4 pillars of the Faith - creed, sacraments, morality, and prayer.


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