• Fr. Paul MacNeil

Homily Series Overview: 7 Habits of Effective Catholics

A few weeks ago I started a series of homilies entitled "The 7 Habits of Effective Catholics." I began with a very brief overview of all 7 habits and a bit of the rationale behind it.

Our 7 habits are based (very) loosely on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Effective People. What I like most about Covey's approach is his distinction between character and personality. He discusses what he calls "The personality ethic," which puts shallow things like appearance and reputation ahead of deeper things like character and principles. The Buddhists have a great example of the character ethic when they talk about right speech: Before we say anything, it needs to pass through three gates: is it true, is it necessary, or is it kind. Contrast that with what I call the three gates of social media: Is it trending, will it catch people's attention and is it going to make me popular! One time someone posted a picture of facebook with me and a little kitten and it went viral! I got 54 likes!!!! Well, maybe not viral. Anyway, Covey's whole approach is very Christian in this sense. We need to go deeper in our lives.

In any case, I developed what I call the 7 habits of effective catholics, and I'm going to share all of them with you now as a kind of overview:

  • Habit 1: Faith

  • Habit 2: Prayer

  • Habit 3: Study

Like Covey's 7 habits, these three habits represent a "private victory" of faith. I also have three habits that are more "public," and they almost correspond with each of the private habits above:

  • Habit 4: Worship

  • Habit 5: Service

  • Habit 6: Evangelization

Covey's last habit is about renewal - "Sharpening the saw." Our habits of catholic faith also conclude with a kind of "renewal," I call it conversion.

I conclude with a quotation from my favourite saint, Saint Mother Teresa: "The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace."

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