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Building Spiritual Structure Into Your Family Life

"Do we really want a faith of minimums? Our prayer and sacramental lives should have structure, aligning with an intentional plan or schedule we’ve created for ourselves."

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Every Catholic, and every Catholic family, should have a “plan of life” — specifically, a plan for spiritual life, what we might call a PSL.

We might understand the idea of a PSL better if we think of priests or consecrated religious. We know they have structured prayer, such as the Liturgy of the Hours. They receive the sacraments in a consistent and frequent manner. It makes sense to us that their lives are ordered like this. How else would they grow in holiness?

Well, lay people are also called to holiness. The difference is the Church largely leaves it up to us. We don’t have specific norms or rules related to spiritual life except for the precepts of the Church, which — let’s be honest — are a list of “minimums” we must comply with to stay in communion with the Church.

But do we really want a faith of minimums? Our prayer and sacramental lives should have structure, aligning with an intentional plan or schedule we’ve created for ourselves.

It’s the same when it comes to our families. A father, in particular, has the duty to lead the way in creating a PSL for himself and his family.

Ponder the following: At what points during the day, and during the week, will we pray together as a family? Praying before family meals is a given. Can we also start the day by offering it up to the Lord? Can we pray the Angelus together? Can we do an examination of conscience together at night? Can we pray the rosary as a family, if not daily, at least weekly? 

But there is more. The Church requires that we go to confession at least once a year; can we go together once a month? Can we schedule a family Holy Hour? Can we make it a habit to read aloud the Scriptures or a spiritual book, as a family, at regularly scheduled times each week?

All of these are components of a PSL, but each family’s PSL will look a little different. A successful plan of life should be flexible and designed to fit our lives — just like, as St. Josemaria Escrivá would say, “a glove that fits the hand perfectly.”

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