featured image
"Placing Christ at the center" by Anni Harry (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2019 Anni Harry. All rights reserved.[/caption] Not too long ago, I was sitting in a Bible study and listened to the lecturer pose the questions, “Who is Christ to you? How do you let Him in to your daily life, and not just keep Him for Sundays?” As I kept getting interrupted by my little wardens during this particular Bible study, I began pondering not just the questions posed by the facilitator, but expanded on the thoughts by something which routinely tugs on my heartstrings – how do I place Christ first, when bombarded by so many competing influences? Placing Christ at the center of our lives doesn’t have to involve grand gestures or major changes in our daily routine. Instead, it requires us to be intentional with our approach to Christ. Therefore, I have compiled five ways I have found easy to place Christ at the center of my daily life and invite you to consider how you to also take inventory of your own life, and find ways that you might be able to add a little more Christ to your daily life. Find Christ in the mundane. Many saints have written about doing chores out of love toward others or offering the misery of undesired chores up for the Holy Souls of Purgatory. These are all very good ways to add a sense of spirituality to the regular daily chores. However, the most important part of finding Christ in the mundane is to have your open, honest conversations with Him while doing your chores. Perhaps my deepest prayer life is while I stand over my kitchen sink, elbow deep in suds, washing dishes and looking out of the window placed strategically above my sink. Not only am I afforded a chance to wash the dishes, but I am given the opportunity to lay bare my soul and find some brief time to listen to the stirrings on my heart. In fact, I do my best writing at the sink, based on my conversations with God. But, since I am too busy with the dishes, those pieces will most likely always be written on my heart, rather that in word. Tune in to Gospel-affirming messages. Some very close friends are heavily involved in various advocacy issues and do so out of their belief in God and the Good News that Christ brought to us. Their social media newsfeed shares have much to say about their advocacy. Other friends, however, choose to not advocate on a wider level, but instead surround themselves with media and entertainment that raises their spirit toward God. Sacred Art exists to raise the viewer’s spirit toward God; and, some friends collect sacred art and display those pieces prominently throughout their homes. Personally, I listen to Christian music almost constantly. Christian artists and their Gospel messages can be found in almost every genre, and I find myself throughout my day-to-day experiences, raising my spirit toward God in several instances. Try out a Christ-centered activity. Most churches throughout the country have various activities offered throughout the week. Whether it’s a Bible study, women/men’s groups, Rosary guild, or special liturgical-living activities (i.e. Stations of the Cross during Lent, etc.), there is usually something that exists to bring families closer to Christ. As scary as it sounds, if there isn’t something at your church, offer to start one. There are plenty of resources available to assist a small parish in beginning activities for outside of Sunday Mass. Christ promised us in Matthew 18:20 that wherever two or more are gathered, He is in our midst. So, even if it’s just one other mom bringing her little ones to you, Christ is still centered with you. Keep in mind T stands for Thanksgiving. A good prayer consists of the following components abbreviated to ACTS: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. It is so easy to get bogged down in seeing the negativity of life. However, no matter how messy or chaotic our life may seem, Christ journeys with us. God has placed us precisely in the moments He needs our knowledge, skills, and abilities. Sometimes, we may wish He didn’t trust us so much, or we may ask Him what He is thinking; yet, each of us have a God-given purpose. And, as such, there is always something to be thankful for when we survey our daily lives. Perhaps it’s a back-handed way of saying thank-you, but remembering that our children exist in part to assist us on our journey toward sanctification, it would be prudent to develop that “attitude of gratitude,” by thanking Him for our children in the midst of the hundredth temper tantrum of the day. Perhaps thanking Him simply for the sun shining, or the flowers blooming, or the pumpkin spice latte we are enjoying will be sufficient. My family’s priest recently shared, “Ingratitude is leprosy of the heart,” and encouraged us to develop our sense of gratitude. Another priest encouraged our community to keep a gratitude journal. Remembering T stands for Thanksgiving allows us to develop that sense of appreciation, even in the smallest, and perhaps subtlest, areas of our life. Be intentional about cultivating Christ in the smallest of ways. Christ works best on an open heart, and an open heart yearns to share Him with others. He doesn’t even require us to use words to share His love; yet, He needs our hands. Therefore, be intentional on finding small ways to help with a smile. Whether it’s cooking a meal for a family with a newborn, helping clean the church, giving a slightly larger tip to an overwhelmed worker, or refraining from losing your temper at your child’s most recent frustrating antic, when we are intentional behind our reaction toward another person, we allow Christ to work through us. Part of knowing, loving, and serving God includes serving our neighbor – not just the person living beside us, but the person we encounter on our errands, or the person we encounter out and about. By being intentional, we cultivate the relationship with Christ, which puts Him squarely in the middle of our lives. You’ll notice nowhere in this top five list did I specifically address praying more Rosaries or spending extra time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Our faith asks us to live within our church communities, but to also live as part of a greater community. As such, we each have competing interests, and some individuals can’t commit to “more” time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Yet, we are all challenged to still rise to the goal of placing Christ in the center of our lives. These five ways require a lot of focus but are smaller ways I incorporate Christ on a routine basis. These moments allow me to continue to expand my relationship with our Savior, while being pulled to and from various activities that my littlest ones require. This is also not an all-inclusive list. I know other individuals have other ways that they keep Christ focused as the center of their lives, and I would love to hear from you – how do you, dear reader, place Christ first?
Copyright 2019 AnnAliese Harry