All Christians, whatever their vocation or state in life, are invited to practice loving as God loves. We can take our cues from the tradition of the Church and apply them to our situation to be healthier, holier people. In happy as well as sad times, we can learn to recognize the loving, gentle voice of God.
Here are some modern twists on ancient practices that draw us closer to God and toward deeper, more life-giving relationships. Can you think of other practical applications?
RETREAT – Retreat involves withdrawing from ordinary activities to a quiet place for prayer, study, to reflect or to meditate, improving one's closeness with God, taking the time to listen and hear God's voice in one's heart.
• Spend time individually, pursuing an activity you love but your partner does not.
• Develop a hidden talent.
• Renew and develop a same-sex friendship.
• Turn off the radio and think about the future on your drive to work.
• Attend a weekend retreat or evening of reflection at a spirituality center.
KEEP SABBATH – The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning rest. Create a zone of peace to renew our covenants with the Lord and feed our souls on the things of the Spirit.
• Make dinner table conversations positive, affirming; talk money for after the meal.
• Cut out unnecessary work on Sundays and do something fun and relaxing.
• Join a bowling league or card club, any group that includes others in your state of life.
• Avoid entertainment that degrades human dignity.
• Establish a tradition of Sunday breakfast after church.
• Married couples, retire to bed together rather than sitting up alone to finish another task.
SERVICE – “For Christians, service is not something to be tacked onto our schedules if we can spare the time. It is the heart of the Christian life.” – Pastor Rick Warren
• Baby-sit a child together for a whole day.
• Take a teenager to the museum.
• Serve with a partner at a soup kitchen.
• Plant and work a garden together.
• Throw a party for your friends and do all the serving.
• Begin to donate a part of your income to a favorite charity.
• Sponsor a needy child abroad.
• Give your partner the biggest and best portion of a snack or meal.
• Serve your body: Eat healthy; take vitamins.
• Create a budget for your future finances.
• Accompany your partner to one craft show or fishing trip – any activity that you would rather avoid – and look at it through their eyes.