I recently had the opportunity to speak to a great group of men at parish here in Colorado about my conversion to the Catholic faith. One of the things I shared was the unusual amount of personal suffering I have experienced. 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 difficult reality that life, for any of us, can end at any moment. Faced with this understanding, there really is no better time than the present to ensure that when we 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?” Here’s the “Going Deeper” plan for anyone looking to better prepare their hearts for this upcoming holy season:
1) Get a copy of “Inside the Passion” by Father John Bartunek and commit to reading a portion of it every day during Lent (starting Ash Wednesday, February the 17th) with a finish date of Tuesday the 1st 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. Pray that Christ would reveal himself to you. 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?”
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.
You will never regret your investment in your eternal destiny, and you will never be the same.
Seek Him – Find Him – Follow Him