To please God


Living a devotional life pleasing to God (as a Christian) is a balance with various elements...

We need all these; shouldn't neglect some to emphasize others.


Connected to the Church

God launched the church, the one, holy, catholic [universal], and apostolic church, to bless us. If we hover near, we'll be blessed. Ways the Church blesses us...

  1. Bible and true apostolic teaching
  2. Eucharist
  3. Inspiration from the devotion and example of Saints of the past and present

Connectedness and commitment to Church teaching is essential when studying secular topics such as the physical and social sciences as well as partaking of the modern culture including entertainment, media, and etc. We should be quick to reject the many things colliding with Church teaching. It is a form of devotion to boycott the unwholesome and ungodly modern materialistic culture and the general disrespect people have for one another as expressed by the insults as comedy; gossip and slander as a form of news; and spitefully misrepresenting each others' ideas.


Living a Virtuous Life

Virtue is connected with salvation, with redemption.

One way we express our faith in God and our love of God is through obedience to God's law and commandments. If we don't change our behavior (repent from our sins) we are not really saved at all because we don't really have faith at all. Having true faith requires we change our behavior and turn from sin.

It is a form of devotion to practice virtue and avoid vice. Each moment of every day we do this we are having a time of devotion to God and Jesus.


Charity

In charity we express our love of God through our love of each other and of those in need.

The "Peace Prayer of St. Francis" is a good guide...

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

We improve the world by our interactions with others.


Prayer / Meditation

A sincere and devout devotional life requires time spent daily in prayer and meditation.

By meditation I mean Christian meditation, not eastern meditation. They strive to empty their heads or sooth it with repetition of mantras. Christians mull over passages from the Bible and other truths, filling their minds to overflowing with Jesus.

Some limit themselves to extemporaneous prayer while charismatics encourage "prayer in the Spirit" with speaking in tongues and proclaiming the word of God in the Spirit. Many disdain repeating or reciting prayers composed by others. (Imagine if we had the same thing in music: no written-down and composed symphonies or movie scores; if all of music was improvisational.)

Commonly, Christians read various devotional writings from the Bible or from Christian writers / teachers / preachers. Thus, some might read the Psalms daily, or some might read the Proverbs daily (one chapter per day), or some might choose to read various meditations / devotionals written and published by various people (but ignoring those of devout Catholics over the centuries of the Church). Protestants rarely read or meditate on the writings of Augustine, Aquinas, or other Catholic Saints.


Fellowship

Christians interact with one another. Too often, "fellowship" meetings consist of chattering about sports or politics. True fellowship inspires living a life of faith more joyously and sharing our life of faith with others; in prayer, service, discussions, and a million other ways.

I was not very happy with the practice of "body ministry" in which I all-too-often had to hear the perverse details of the lives of perverts, addicts, and others living a depraved lifestyle, so-called Christans; all so we could lay hands on them and pray for them. Then, after this, every detail of their life became gossipy public knowledge. A black stain on the Charismatic movement, in my opinion, which encouraged the practice.


Doctrine / Dogma

Correct dogma is key in a devotional life. Many try to de-emphasize this, claiming the Holy Spirit supercedes it, or some such nonsense. Others can't sort out apostolic teaching from mere human opinion. This is why we need the Church.

Perhaps it is no big deal if some (many?) believe untruth as truth. There was a sad time that most Christians were Arians (Jesus is not deity, but a created being). Did that prevent them from redemption?

God blesses everyone as best as he can but it's preferable to have truth, to believe it, to mold our lives by it. Yes, God blesses those with false views, but we should prefer correct doctrine. For some, the errors prevent redemption; they miss the essential gospel and unwittingly wander though a life of sin and depravity.


Errors

Some discard man-made traditions, ignoring church history, thinking in so doing they have restored true New Testament Christianity. These are often unaware of the "eastern" Orthodox church.

Some Catholics emphasize the church with its sacraments and rites / rituals / ceremonies to the exclusion of the other elements of Christianity. I call this "churchiness".

Many have jettisoned the Eucharist and the mass, losing the benefits and blessings God abundantly provides from these.

Sadly, the Catholic Church neglects fellowship. They seem to think every Catholic was born Catholic, that friends and family are Catholic. But it's lonely for converts to Catholicism, especially those whose friends now reject them because they reject anything Catholic.

Many Christians agree we should live moral lives but mistakenly think their actions have no role in their salvation.

Non-Catholics reject the richness of Catholic prayer, mediation, and devotion, preferring to limit their devotional life to improvisational prayer and reading Protestant devotional materials. But the devotional and mystical life of a Catholic Christian is a great blessing. Many Catholic Saints contributed to this wealth of experience and tradition.

Many non-Catholic Christians having a strong emphasis on charity, evangelism, and serving the poor blend this with anti-Catholic indoctrination and propaganda. Shame on them!

Many Christians have seriously flawed moral teaching. For example, they teach that the slightest sin offends God, yet he readily forgives all sins; we don't even need to ask or beg for forgiveness because, once saved, the sinlessness of Jesus "covers" our sins. Needless to say, this doesn't provide a very strong incentive to live sin-free, and the study of virtue is neglected.

Examples of mortal sins (sins resulting in loss of salvation): many Protestants think these have no effect on salvation...

Some Catholics emphasize their devotion to various Saints and other various Catholic devotions, and de-emphasize their relationship with Jesus. Their religious practice is superstitious and rule-based rather than faith-based. But warning: Protestants who judge the faith life of Catholics do so from their small-minded perspective, completely missing the significance and beauty of the life of the Saints and the various Catholic devotions.