Live Your Faith With Holy Hacks
“All the saints paved their lives with spiritual hacks, which are simply opportunities to integrate holiness into everyday life”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could discover an easy and sure-fire way to holiness? I think most of us would want that. I know I certainly would. Patti Maguire Armstrong has found not just one, but hundreds, of ways to simply and consistently become more holy. She calls them “holy hacks” and has compiled them into a marvelous little book, Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven.
Armstrong has organized her tips and tricks for holiness into succinct categories: humility, relationships, prayer, spiritual protection, evangelizing and gossip with sections for holidays and liturgical seasons. Each chapter begins with reflection on the topic at hand and then gives a series of “holy hacks” that can be practically applied in daily life.
Here are just a few examples.
- Choose to be the last in line.
- Don’t put yourself down. It's a bad habit and self-focused. It also leads to hiding your light under a bushel basket.
- Spend time praising and thanking God without asking for anything. It is time focused on him, not yourself. He knows your needs.
- Listen attentively to the people in your life. It means a lot to know that someone is truly interested.
- Make a point of praising people for a job well done. Don’t just say, “Good job!” but specify what you appreciate.
- Greet the people in your life with a smile — especially your spouse and children whom we often take for granted.
- Just say the name of Jesus over and over. Repeatedly, Scripture refers to the power of the name of Jesus. Everything we do and say is done in his name.
- Ask God for help before beginning any task.
- Whenever there is a personal conflict with others, stop and pray.
- Expect improvement, not perfection.
- Keep your mind on God and his angels and saints. If you are stressing about evil, you are probably not spending enough time and energy on God.
- Have a crucifix blessed and hang it in your home. It is a visual reminder of the salvation won for us by Jesus and how much he loves us. It's also a deterrent to sin.
- Ask a priest to bless your house.
- Pray to St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, who is been given the title Terror of Demons.
- Be friendly to cashiers, waitresses, and whomever you encounter in the service industry, and when you say goodbye, say, “God bless you; have a nice day!”
- Thank God for his mercy in your own ongoing conversion and ask him to open up opportunities to share that with others.
- Be on the lookout for opportunities as you go about life. Have your radar up, and make deliberate, intentional efforts.
- When someone tries to involve you in verbal attacks against another, say, “I don’t wish to be involved,” or “You should discuss this with him/her personally.”
- Before you open your mouth to gossip, stop and imagine you were the subject of the news you are tempted to reveal.
- If you feel the need to vent, write it out on paper. Then throw it away or burn it.
Armstrong also includes holy hacks from Catholics in the media including Lauren Ashburn, managing editor and anchor of “News Nightly with Lauren Ashburn” on EWTN TV, author and speaker Fr. Donald Calloway, Abby Johnson (author of Unplanned) and nationally-syndicated columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez.
Holy Hacks is one of those books that need to be kept within reach at all times so that it can be referred to for encouragement and fresh ideas for striving for holiness. The author encourages her readers to think of it as a cookbook in which they find things that grab their attention and that they would like to implement as the need arises.
As Armstrong wrote in the first chapter, “All the saints paved their lives with spiritual hacks, which are simply opportunities to integrate holiness into everyday life without making a show, inconveniencing others, or turning our lives upside down. While whole-life overhauls are sometimes necessary for those living on the far edge of morality, the average person can take little but consistent steps toward God. That is all that’s expected — or required — on the road to sainthood.”
Little but consistent steps is exactly what Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven is all about. You’ll get there, and this book will help you along the way.