Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012 by Elise Hilton 

I am loathe to jump on the end of the year band wagon, but this IS a good time to take stock of where we’re at in our spiritual lives.  With that, 5 things you should stop doing in 2012.

1.  Stop spiritual practices that don’t work for you.  The Rosary is a lovely, wonderful meditation.  It doesn’t work for everyone.  Lectio Divina is awesome – if it helps you develop spiritually.  Listening to Gregorian chant – uplifting!  But not for everybody.  If you’ve been struggling to do something because you think you SHOULD, but it doesn’t work for your life-style, personality, spiritual life…then stop.  Do what works.

2.  Stop putting off the Sacrament of Confession.  Make it a regular part of your life.  Regular.  As in, at least once a month.

3. Stop zoning out at Mass.  The new translation seems to be helping us be attentive, but we all have the tendency to “zone out” during the Mass.  Really practice being attentive – get a missal, follow along.  Work hard at praying the liturgy.

4.  Stop being judgmental of others’ spiritual practices.  Angry that your sister hasn’t been to Mass in months?  Pray for her.  Can’t get over the fact that your son married a Lutheran girl?  Pray for them.  That lady in front of you at Mass that hauls out all the toys for her kid to play with during the liturgy?  Pray for her.  When you catch yourself having a judgmental thought, pray for the person instead.  And then pray for humility for yourself.

5.  Stop letting yourself off the hook.  It is so easy to say,  “Oh, I’m a good person.  I go to Mass every week” or “Hey, I pray more than most people”.  It’s still not enough.  Having an active, holy spiritual life is rigorous – you can’t “let up”.  You’re training for the Eternal Olympics, and you want the gold!  When you catch yourself slipping, it’s time to dig a little deeper, pray a little harder, ponder Christ on the Cross a bit longer.  Don’t allow yourself to think “good enough” when it comes to being a Christian.  You can rest when you get to Heaven.

[Be sure to visit Elise’s blog   The title refers to a life-changing experience for St. Francis of Asissi.  LINK:


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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3 Responses to Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012 by Elise Hilton 

  1. I’ve been meaning to comment on this since it was posted but I’ve been busy breaking my New Year’s resolutions.

    I think these are wonderful suggestions.

    Some comments.

    #2. When is confession? I never see anyone go before 4:00 Mass and I never see a priest in the confessional. Is it by appointment only? That would make it difficult for working folks to go once a week.

    #3. I have to admit I do this. It’s warm in the church and it makes me sleepy. There are many distractions. These are excuses. Must work on this.

    #4. Guilty of this one too. Especially sick people at Mass and children who drown out the Mass.

    #5. I think I go in the opposite direction on this one which is just as bad. I think it’s known as low self esteem and over scrupulosity. In my case it should probably be “Give yourself a break.” But then I would probably run with that one. 🙂

    • Paul Wharton says:

      In Princeton, I am usually in the reconciliation room by 3:00 until 3:45. Hoever, if no onecis there I may step out for a few minutes.

      I am available by appointment as well.

      Thanks for reading this blog and sharing comments.

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