Great article about how we go through tough parts in our life. Transitions for a Christian are sometimes an opportunity to strengthen faith and carry our crosses. This article gives ten tips for moving forward.
The secular world focuses on material growth and gain. This is why the many resolutions we see proclaimed every year circle around physical appearance, diets, exercise, or relationships. Rarely, does the secular person look to examine one’s conscience and seek to uproot a vice that is detrimental to the soul.
The Pope recently challenged everyone to cease being a slave to the desires of the world and seek true freedom via Christ. This involves rejecting vice, an illusionary good, and accepting virtue which alone frees us.
Examining one’s conscience is true freedom because it acknowledges the chains of sin that are apparent in our life and seeking freedom from those vices. What vices do we seek to uproot in our quest for spiritual perfection?
St Teresa of Avilla, mystic and doctor of the Church, wrote extensively on Christian perfection. Her book, Interior Castle, looked at the many stages or mansions one must enter before union with Christ is possible. The first stage involved the initial acknowledgement of one’s imperfections and a desire to purge oneself from these vices. A good New Year’s resolution that is Christocentric is a good step in identifying vices and accepting the grace of the Holy Spirit to move towards Christ.
In examining one’s conscience for the coming New Year, St Ignatius Loyola offers sound and strong advice. His methods of examination were from a military background that identified the enemy, acknowledged weaknesses and then sought to eliminate them one by one. Of course, in this analogy, Christ is the general that leads us and gathers us against the enemies of our soul, which is vice.
In applying these principles, remember that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. One of the biggest obstacles to spiritual perfection is despair. How many times, do we fail in our spiritual endeavors? Is it a sin of sloth that prevents us from awakening early for Church on Sunday? Is it the weakness of the flesh that push us to lustful desires? One must expect failures in our new endeavors this New Year, but it is the effort that will ultimately push us over the top of the hill. Christ’s grace will give us the necessary will power to eventually overcome the vice that has soiled our soul for so long. Christ is an understanding God ,but also an understanding friend. He welcomes our effort and discourages our despair when we fail. He understands the nature of vice and its habitual control over the soul. He is patient and He is merciful.
If we persist, despite shortcomings, if we continue the good struggle, the evil habit will be removed from our soul, through the grace of the Holy Spirit that transforms our soul and frees us from the slavery of that particular vice.
So, this New Year’s, what vice will you eliminate this year from your life? What step will you take towards sainthood and Christian perfection? I think the key to remember is Christian perfection is only reached in Heaven, but we must start the steps here as sinners!
If you are interested in learning more about Christian Counseling Training or would like to become certified in Christian Counseling, then please review the program. If the program matches your academic and professional needs, then consider taking the steps of becoming a certified Christian Counselor.
The Christian Family as the first cell of society finds its conception in marriage. It is interesting to note that even at the purely social level, marriage formed a social constraint for the formation of society and the bringing of order at the micro level.Yet this natural social evolution had deeper yearnings at the center of man’s soul.The yearning for spiritual communion took this merely social institution to a level that also satisfied the spiritual and theological needs of man.Within the spiritual structure of humanity, the Mystical Body of Christ found marriage also as its most intimate cellular level where a man and woman took a vow before God to love each other and remain faithful.Through this intense love, two became one and an unbreakable bond was created that transcended the societal order. This sacred institution received it distinctive Christian mark via Christ at the wedding feast of Cana where in Catholic theology, it became a sacrament. Protestant theology while not proclaiming the institution as a sacrament, nevertheless, shares a common belief that marriage is sacred and carries a serious bond.Christian counselors find themselves in difficult situations when attempting to preserve these bonds of matrimony.Various marital issues erupt that threaten to tear the very fabric of the union.With such a heavy burden, Christian counseling must establish first and foremost the sacred nature of matrimony.With this ideal in place, issues of finance, career, children, infidelity, or other selfish motives can hopefully be overcome. In addition to dealing with an already existing Christian family, Christian counselors also deal with soon to be Christian families. A Christian counselor during premarital or pre-Cana sessions, must evaluate the maturity and spiritual lives of the man and woman who are to marry.During these early sessions, one should become acquainted with the future spouses and review their spiritual, financial and career goals.While love is important, it is imperative to illuminate possible differences prior to vows and to help the future couple understand the problems they may face.Other issues of importance include faith, the raising of children and ideas on what marriage is. Most importantly, the counselor must emphasize the theological importance of the sacrament and ascertain if both parties understand the bond that will exist. Obviously after various sessions, the counselor becomes more aware of the couples maturity, understanding of marriage and if their goals correspond.During this period of time, the couple may also become more aware of any differences they may have previously dismissed. Ultimately in the end, it is the couple’s love that will define the marriage. If true love exists, all problems can be overcome, especially if the couple dedicates their union to God. Men should emulate St. Joseph, while women emulate Mary.The couple should to the best of their abilities imitate the ultimate paradigm of the Christian family; the Holy Family. If you would like to become certified in Christian Counseling, please review the program.