A Personal Holiness Mnemonic

It can be all too easy to look at the world in utter despair. Even as women of faith, we can be tempted to feel profoundly discouraged by the nasty words on social media, by the horrific behaviors of some priests, by seeing disgusting things that offend basic human dignity, and by the overall tonality of negativity that is so pervasive around us.

The world is full of the sinful behaviors of our fellow humans and sinfulness of our own selves. Feeling fearful and uncertain and even intensely anxious is a near daily battle amid this messiness.

And so, I pray and shake my fist at the sky, “What am I supposed to do about this, Lord?!”

His answer to me has been “You cannot do anything about them!” (Oof, that truth cut deep into my controlling nature.)

Striving for Personal Holiness

Through grace, I become increasingly convicted interiorly to strive for ever greater personal holiness. What if I can grow in virtue and be a tiny speck of light in my own little corner of the world instead of being anxious about it?

Personal Holiness Mnemonic

In pondering how I can grow in holiness, I came up with this mnemonic devices to help me to easily remember my game plan for growing in personal holiness.

  • Humbly reflect and self-examine
  • Openly repent, ask forgiveness, and receive mercy
  • Live my Marian consecration; keep eyes on Shepherd, not sins
  • I believe, help my unbelief
  • Never judge people, love them like Jesus
  • Endure strife as purifying and be grateful always
  • Seek God’s will and ask for the grace to live it
  • Share Christ’s love in word and deed

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Self-Examine + Repent

Humbly self-examine and repent is a very uncomfortable phrase to me. Taking a hard look at my words, deeds, thoughts, and actions means accepting that I frequently play a part in some of the unpleasantness around me. It means acknowledging that, while I think my husband is at fault for our disagreement, I must take responsibility for my contribution to that discussion. How much better could my life be if I really do become more humbly aware?

The phrase from the Kyrie tropes at the beginning of Mass has spoken to me so clearly lately: “You were sent to heal the contrite. Lord have mercy.”

God is standing there, with the profound gift of forgiveness for me and all I need to do is acknowledge my sin—frequently in the presence of Christ’s representative on earth, the priest—and receive that awesome feeling of being made clean! This former Protestant is madly in love with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Consecration to Jesus through Mary

Consecration to Jesus through Mary is a profound game changer for any Catholic. The fruits of it are inspiring as well as challenging. If I can only keep my consecration in the forefront and actually live it as closely as I do around the time of my annual renewal, I could move mountains with that kind of faith. If I can keep it renewed daily.

Help My Unbelief

I believe, Lord, I truly believe!

In my moments of doubt, I need to turn upward instead of inward. God is waiting for me to ask for His help, like any good parent. Yet I struggle and mull over difficulties instead of asking Him.

Never Judge People

Judging. Oh, man, is there a lot of that going on around us, amiright? It’s nasty and it’s so quickly put out there for all to see. What if, instead of judging someone’s character, I decided to love them like Jesus? What if I love them and make them feel special and cared for before mentioning their error in a charitable way? In society as well as when disciplining my children, what if they first knew I cared about them and that was why I am seeking to correct their actions? I think a lot would change.

Endure Strife + Be Grateful

Raise your hand if you like to complain about your suffering, too. I’m too eager, like Peter, to say, “Lord I love you and I offer up my sufferings for the good of souls,” until I encounter suffering. Then, I whine, “But this is too much, Lord.”

When I see stories of Saints who underwent tremendous strife on their way to Heaven, I am ashamed of my wimpyness. And they were grateful to be doing so for God?! I have a long way to go towards that goal. That’s why it’s on my list for personal holiness.

Seeking God’s Will

Seeking God’s will instead of my own? This might be the hardest one. I have been little Miss Independent since the age of three or so. The thought of giving up my illusion of control, even for better options, represents a struggle for me.

Share Christ’s Love

It also strikes me that living these guiding principles, along with sound Catholic teaching and frequent reception of the Sacraments of course, I might influence my world just by doing so. Perhaps it would be refreshing to be a joy-filled and humble person who loves God and shows it daily in small ways? Would that be more effective than ringing doorbells and talking about Jesus when they answer? Maybe or maybe not, but I’d like to try to show the world how it could be.

A Beacon of Light

These are my guiding principles. Lofty goals that they are, I am going to press forward each day to achieve them. Imagine if we all spent that energy currently wasted on worry and fear on striving for sanctity. Sounds pretty amazing! May my little speck of light merge with others and create a beacon of light for the world.

Please, Lord. Amen.

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Kelly Doman is a grateful convert as of 2000. God chose this stubborn, often goofy, professional organist and mezzo-soprano to mother three boys. In her job as God’s babysitter for these boys, two of whom are on the Autism Spectrum, Kelly re-learns daily that she can’t do it on her own strength. She, her husband and their boys are dedicated to the Apostolate for Family Consecration, love their charism of helping families live the faith, and retreat to Catholic Familyland annually to recharge. Find out more about her here.

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