Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Living with God pt-1

This is part 1 of 2 posts that will consider Christian spirituality practiced by way of maxims. A “maxim” is a general rule that applies in almost every case in life. Thus, a Christian maxim is not something one is able to formulate unless one has invested a great amount of time to observe life, and an equal amount of time having practiced living with God. I have selected these maxims from Fr. Thomas Hopko’s “55 maxims for Christian living”. As you consider each maxim you will note that Fr. Hopko must have dedicated much of his life to living with God.


  1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything

  2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must

  3. Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline

  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day

  5. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied

  6. Make some prostrations (or kneel) when you pray

  7. Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days

  8. Practice silence, inner and outer

  9. Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day

  10. Do acts of mercy in secret

  11. Go to liturgical services regularly

  12. Go to confession and holy communion regularly

  13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings

  14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings to a trusted person regularly

  15. Read the scriptures regularly

  16. Read good books, a little at a time

  17. Cultivate communion with the saints

  18. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race

  19. Be polite with everyone, first of all family members

  20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home

  21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby

  22. Exercise regularly

  23. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time

  24. Be totally honest, first of all with yourself

  25. Be faithful in little things


  • Fr. Hopko’s 1st maxim is a summation of all of his maxims; it serves as an all around rule for life at all times and in all situations. It is that thought to which we turn moment by moment.

  • Maxims 2-6 address our prayer practices, they are simple yet powerful: pray as you can, have a rule for praying, pray instead of daydreaming, introduce your body into your prayers.

  • Maxims 7-11 take us into the ascetic life that every Christian needs, not to earn points with God, but to force our bodies into submission to love rather than selfishness. (8-9 are particularly hard for us westerners)

  • Maxims 12 -19 connects the God who dwells in us to the God in the world outside of us (seen and unseen): attend liturgy, confess to another, read the words of others thru whom God has spoken, cultivate a relationship with those in whom God dwells- living and deceased, just be a normal person without making yourself out to be so special.

  • Then maxims 20-25 address a healthy and honest mind: cleanliness, order, and exercise, live in the here and now, practice full honesty, do as you said and as those who trust you expect.

Christian spirituality does not take a PHD to understand, it is very simple, however, just one attempt at living with these maxims that make God's presence in us visible will quickly reveal just how much we need to be rescued from ourelves. Try it!

No comments:

Post a Comment