Draw near to God and he will draw near to you – James 4:8

The images above have relevance to any Christian whether Catholic or Non-Catholic. The Rosary above represents prayer. The Chalice above represents many things, but I will use it as communion for now. The Bible represents God's written word.The image of Jesus is a reminder of what he did for us on the cross. : In other words, Prayer, Communion, the Bible and Jesus are all areas that if we focus on regularly, not just on Sunday, will help us draw near to God.

Daily Prayer...

Do you have a daily prayer life? Prayer is the core of any solid Christian walk. It's not just saying the Lord's Prayer at Mass on Sunday as a Catholic. It's not just saying "now I lay me down to sleep" with your children or grandchildren.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

It's typically easy to pray when we need something for ourselves from God, but we should be praying for others not just ourselves. We should be praying to God even when life is great: "Rejoice always...give thanks in all circumstances."

It's NOT required that Catholics pray the rosary. It's just one of many things in the Catholic faith to help one focus on Christ and serving God. The rosary can be used to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which I love praying for multiple reasons. I love these words "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." Focusing on the Cross and God's mercy are powerful.

If you do not have a strong daily prayer life, make a commitment today to change that. The world we live in needs Christians who pray daily.

Communion...

A Google search for the definition of Communion returns 1.the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental
or spiritual level. 2. the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

The chalice with the host in it and the bread and grapes could be a full book alone focused on the Mass and Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. But for the purpose of making a point in this article, I'll keep it much shorter.

Hebrews 10:23-25 says "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." It's apparent in the Bible that Christians should come together for worship. God designed us to be a community not just the church of me and my recliner.

For Catholics, participating in Holy Communion during Mass has numerous meanings. One of those is showing Communion with the Catholic Church. Receiving the host near the end of each Mass is the pinnacle of Catholic worship.

Holy Communion cannot be done on the golf course, on a boat at the lake, sitting at home watching sports, etc. In other words, attending Mass is important. Anyone in good health that is capable of attending Mass should be in Church...PERIOD!!!

FYI, it's NOT about You. It's above serving God and serving others.

Reading The Bible...

Yes, Catholics read the Bible. The ones who do not read the Bible should be reading it. That goes for any professing Christian.

Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

It's important to read the Bible, study the Bible and even memorize verses. But Catholics should look to the Magisterium ( teaching authority ) of the Church as a guide because private interpretation is what has created the mess known as Protestantism. I was a Protestant until my 50's, so I know what I'm talking about. I've seen how private interpretation creates confusion.

John 6 and the Bread of Life discourse is a great example of Catholic teaching of the "REAL PRESENCE" vs. the "Symbolic" version so popular in the Protestant world. So read the Bible and learn more about your Catholic faith along the way by looking into how verses are properly interpreted in context.

Protestants often use commentaries for deeper Bible study, but there are so many differing denominational views that it's likely to be all over the place in interpretation.

Catholics have the Catechism, Catholic commentaries and other Catholic resources: Catholic.com is a great online resource to utilize for topics like the Eucharist and the Real Presence and much more to get a solid Catholic view on particular areas of the Bible including scripture references.

Try to make it a habit to read / study the Sunday scriptures in advance. Many parishes will have their bulletin online in advance of the weekend Mass. I have a paid membership to Catholic Productions and try to be consistent about listening to Dr. Pitre going deeper into the readings. He typically spends about 25 to 30 minutes going into each Sunday reading.

Jesus...

If we PRAY daily, attend MASS like we should, read the BIBLE and keep our eyes on Jesus by constantly focusing on Him, it will be easier to get through life than letting self get in the way.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Luke 9:23 "... “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Life can be challenging enough doing everything that I've mentioned in this article, but without Jesus, life is nothing. It's all about JESUS.