I went searching on the interwebs to see if I could find a few lists of good things Catholics can do to improve their spiritual life. I wasn’t able to find one comprehensive list of suggestions and resources so I decided to put one together myself
Stuff that you can probably do without thinking and don’t require a lot of discipline to do every day
- Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be daily (morning/night)
- Saying Grace at each meal
- Pray with your children and include them in as many of your spiritual practices as possible. (Okay, maybe not the easiest, but they can probably sit through the Our Father at least)
- Say “Thank you” to God when he gives you something you’ve been praying for, or even just blesses you in general.
- Hang icons or other religious art in your house. While it may be harder to learn to mediate on religious art it is also peaceful just to be surrounded by reminders of Christ and his Saints.
- Say the Jesus Prayer. It’s important to pray without ceasing and the Jesus Prayer is a very short prayer that can be said in any situation.
- Wear a scapular. If you don’t know, scapulars are simple pieces of cloth you can wear under your clothes. The article linked explains their importance, so I won’t go into much more detail
Simple enough, but for new Catholics or Catholics who are out of practice, it might be daunting.
- Make a morning offering. Personally, I like getting emails from The Catholic Company. It includes the Mass Readings for the day with a homily on them, a short biography of whichever saint’s feast day it is, a quote from a saint, the Morning Offering Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours. While I don’t do all of these in the morning I’ll usually go back and read them throughout the day. Also, it’s totally okay to just say the morning offering prayer. It can be a bit intimidating spending 20 minutes to an hour in the morning on this and it might not even be possible with little kids
- Say the Rosary. While most people typically say the whole rosary at once (it takes about 20 minutes) if that’s too much, it’s also okay to spread out your decades throughout the day. (Which would take about 5 minutes for each decade).
- Go to weekly confession. While Catholics are required to at least go yearly, and preferred to go to Confession at least once monthly, we are not supposed to receive Communion while in a state of sin. In fact, it’s a sin to do so. Therefore, weekly confession is a good habit to build so you can put forth your best effort to not receive communion in a state of sin.
- Abstain from meat on Fridays. While in the US it is not technically required that you abstain from meat on Fridays, except during Lent it’s still a good practice to build.
- Subscribe to some Catholic blogs. (If you’re reading this I’m presuming you’re already subscribed to me 🙂 ) Here’s a few lists of Catholic blogs
- Say the Divine Mercy Chaplet
- Subscribe to a Catholic podcast or YouTube channel and actually listen to their talks/watch their videos when they’re released. This is a great idea to make sure you’re getting a bit of daily or weekly faith formation in. They can be watched or listened to while doing other tasks. While I don’t personally do this, here’s some lists of podcasts and Catholic YouTube channels to give you a starting place.
- Attend First Friday or First Saturday Mass. While I was tempted to list this under easy devotions, I also realize that leaving work or other responsibilities in order to attend Mass can be hard. So I decided to put it under Medium just due to the difficulties of attending.
- Learn to Practice Lectio Divinia. Reading and studying the Bible is a key component of our faith. While just reading the Bible is easy enough, learning to meditate on it can be difficult.
- Sign up for an Adoration hour near you
- Pray Novenas. A novena is 9 days of prayer for a specific intention, typically ending on the feast day for who you are asking to intercede for you.
- Incorporate reading Catholic books into your routine, both nonfiction and fiction books related to Catholicism can be valuable resources. As before, I’m just listing lists of resources for you to take a look at rather than specifically recommend any one resource
- Pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I know I listed this under the email from the Catholic Company but think it’s worth repeating
- Keep a journal where you write letters to God. Don’t just dictate what you did that day, but tell God your prayer requests and try to make a daily examination of conscience as well. Obviously, if you include an examination of conscience, it might be best to make it clear that it is a private book.
- Attend an Eastern Rite Catholic Liturgy. Most Roman Rite Catholics aren’t aware there is a great beauty of Catholicism, they’re missing. If there’s an Eastern Rite church near you try to go at least once.
- Celebrate the entire liturgical year of the Catholic church
- Complete the 33 days to Morning Glory
- Attend Daily Mass, at least once a week outside of your Sunday Mass obligation. If you can make it more though – Go!
- Try to make a habit of working to get plenary indulgences. While many Protestants criticize the practice it is the Church Teaching that they remove some if not all time spent in purgatory. Here’s a list of them if you’re not sure what counts
- Make a pilgrimage. This list is of sites in the US. If you’re outside of the US it’s probably easy enough to find one near you
- If you haven’t discerned your vocation yet, try to find a monastery or convent nearby you that will let you spend a few days there to see what it’s like.
- Join a group at your church. It’s important to build a community of like minded Catholics. Some good ideas are seeing if they have a Bible study, choir, or other group that meets on a regular basis.
- Try to read through the whole Bible. Not in a year, the Bible isn’t something that should be rushed through. But I’d recommend trying to get through it every 5 years or so. There’s 73 books in the Catholic Bible so that adds up to about 14 a year, but some of them are very short.
- Go on a spiritual retreat. If you can’t manage to go on an “official” retreat, take a 3 day fast from worldly things and focus solely on your prayer life.
- Practice fasting and almsgiving during Lent and Advent. If you choose to fast make sure you are fasting from something that would actually take effort to fast from. I know when I was a kid, I’d make sure to fast from whatever I didn’t want to fast from. In addition to that, make sure you’re filling that time with something related to improving your spiritual life. There’s no point in fasting from Facebook and just spending the time on Twitter. Almsgiving is also important because it gives back to others and helping them as the church teaches us. I’d suggest putting away a certain amount each day to donate to the church or a Catholic agency. Another good idea is to use it to buy giftcards to give to homeless people that may ask you for money.
- Learn to write icons. While meditating on icons is a good spiritual practice, making them is also a form of prayer.
- Get a spiritual director. A spiritual director is a bit different from your parish priest in that they’re designed to help just you on your spiritual journey, similar to a best friend. However, that doesn’t mean your parish priest can’t be your spiritual director. It’d be best for a priest to be your spiritual director as they can also absolve sins, but it may be that you are comfortable with a Nun or Monk, which is also acceptable.
I will probably be updating this regularly, hence the decision to make it a literal page on my blog in order for it to be easily accessible. If you have a practice you’d suggest adding leave a comment or message my Facebook page!