The Principal Duties of the Day (Part Two)


Painting by John William Waterhouse

Do you wish to live a vibrant Catholic life? Father Paul O’Sullivan doesn’t pull any punches. He tells you, in a focused and potent format, how you can do just that. This is the second part to the article and there is more to come. Here is Part One.

From An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Father Paul O’Sullivan, 1950’s

We shall now consider the principal duties of the day, each in particular, and see how we may avoid the many grave faults commonly committed in their performance, and on the contrary, we shall see how we may derive from these same duties the very greatest graces.

These duties are Prayer, Work, Eating, Sleeping and Suffering.

Part One is here.


Our first and most important prayer is the Morning Offering. Immediately on arising, we should fall on our knees and make this offering, slowly and deliberately, as already explained above.

Morning and evening prayers are most important factors in human life. Far from being a matter of minor importance, they are the most urgent of our daily obligations. If well said, they obtain for us all needful graces and protect us from the many evils that may be awaiting us in the course of the day. (See my post on Morning and Night Prayers for an easy-to-use format).

If badly said or omitted, we expose ourselves to grievous calamities. Many fall victims to disease or are killed by accidents or meet with premature deaths because they had not prayed.

There is certainly one peril that we have to face every day of our lives, which comes, as St. Peter and St. Paul warn us, from the fearful malice of the devil, who is ever using his keen angelic intelligence to work our ruin. We are as defenseless as children in his hands. Woe to us if we have not God’s help in this daily conflict with our implacable enemy!

That infallible help is obtained by prayer. Many Catholics seem to have little fear of the devil. They take no precautions against his attacks. He is the greatest evil and the most terrible danger that menaces us during all our life and most especially at the hour of death.

For this last moment he reserves his most awful attack. He hates us with a malignant hate, for we are destined to occupy the glorious throne in Heaven which he has lost. This thought lashes him into fury.

He has made a careful study of us and knows our every weakness; he notes our evil inclinations and when we are off our guard, as a result of having omitted our prayers, he redoubles his temptations.

Many fall in this unequal combat, and if death surprises them in this state, they are plunged into Hell for all eternity. Such is the oft-recurring story of thousands of lost souls. This fact alone should be enough to make us careful in saying our daily prayers well.

But there is a far more powerful incentive to make us love prayer, and this is that our prayers are the expression of our filial love for our dear Heavenly Father, they are our loving homage and adoration to our Creator.

Morning prayers as found in prayerbooks are five, viz., the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, the Confiteor and Hail Holy Queen. At night we add to these a short examination of conscience with a fervent Act of Contrition.

Had we the misfortune to fall into mortal sin, we must redouble our contrition and go to Confession as soon as possible. By mortal sin we expel God from our souls and give His place to the devil.

These prayers must be said slowly, reverently, on our knees and in our bedroom. In this room we spend a third part of our lives, and here we shall probably die. Therefore, it is well to sanctify it by our daily prayers.

The Rosary

All good Christians say the Rosary daily, thereby insuring the most special protection of God’s Holy Mother, which she promises to those who daily say her favorite prayer. Devotion to Our Lady is looked on by the Saints as a sure guarantee of our eternal salvation.

The Popes, the Bishops of the entire world, priests in every country, all the Religious Orders have been urging the faithful for the past 700 years to say the Rosary.

The Saints not only recommended it, but said it themselves with unspeakable devotion and confidence.

Why this universal and extraordinary love for the Rosary? Because by it we deliver ourselves from every danger and obtain every grace and blessing.

God’s sweet Mother has come in recent years to Fatima to preach the Rosary as the easiest and most certain way of saving the world from the dire calamities that are threatening it. Millions and tens of millions of men and women, hearkening to her message, are sending up their daily pleas for mercy. Woe to the foolhardy Christian who turns a deaf ear to this message of salvation!

The Catholic homes where the Rosary is said by the members of the family are visibly protected by God.

Daily Mass and Communion

Better than the most lengthy prayers and the severest penances, the surest of all means of becoming holy is by assisting at daily Mass and receiving Holy Communion.

The Mass is Calvary here again; it has the same infinite value and brings us the same oceans of graces as Our Lord’s death on Mount Calvary. Our Lord offered His sufferings and death for each one of us in particular. In the Mass He mystically dies again for each of those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice.

One Mass gives Him more glory than the praise and adoration of all the Angels and Saints in Heaven. Multitudes of Angels stand around the priest and offer our prayers to God.

The blessings and favors we receive at each Mass we hear are indescribably great. How foolish are those who can assist at Mass and are too lazy and negligent to do so! We have already spoken of the consolations and joys we receive in Holy Communion. No one who pauses to think on these will refuse to receive God daily into his heart. Only crass ignorance can explain such negligence.

The Name of Jesus

An easy practice that we urge our readers to adopt is to form the habit of repeating frequently the Holy Name of Jesus. Each time we say, “Jesus,” we offer the Eternal Father all the infinite merits of the Passion of Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses being said all over the world. We thus participate in these thousands of Masses.

There is no devotion so easy, none so infallible in obtaining for us God’s richest graces. It demands no time, for we can repeat the Holy Name hundreds and even thousands of times in the day—when dressing in the morning, when working, when walking, in our homes, in the streets, everywhere.

This practice gradually fills our hearts with peace and happiness; it delivers us from many evils and obtains for us more graces in a single day than we may otherwise hope to receive in a whole year.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

This is a very certain way of becoming holy; our sweet Lord Himself gave it to us as His last, supreme effort to gain our love. To practice this devotion we must:

a) Read from time to time the 12 wonderful Promises that Our Lord made to everyone who practices devotion to His Sacred Heart. These Promises reveal in the clearest possible way the immense personal and tender love Our Lord has for us. Therefore, we should read them, slowly and carefully, at least on the First Friday of every month.

They will awaken in our hearts boundless confidence in Our Lord.

All the 12 Promises are most important, but we call attention very especially to the 11th Promise: “Those who spread this devotion will have their names written on My Sacred Heart, never to be effaced!”

We can spread the devotion by talking of it to friends, by distributing little pictures of the Sacred Heart with the Promises printed on them.

b) We must repeat frequently the ejaculation: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have confidence in Thee, boundless confidence for everything.” This ejaculation is so powerful and efficacious that it has been well called “The miraculous ejaculation.”

c) We must wear a badge or medal of the Sacred Heart.

d) We ought to have a picture of the Sacred Heart, not only in our homes but in every room and on our writing table, just as we have the photograph of our dear mother. We can say from time to time, “Jesus, I love You.”

No mother, no father, no brother or friend loves us so tenderly as Jesus does. Those who practice devotion to the Sacred Heart in this simple and easy way have a guarantee of receiving the wonderful favors promised by Our Lord.

These daily prayers and devotions will make us saints.

They are:

The Morning Offering.

Morning Prayers.

Evening Prayers.

The Rosary.

The frequent repetition of the Holy Name.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Daily Mass and Communion.

A visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!

One time in 1949 Padre Pio was talking with a certain doctor who was very close to him. They were discussing prayers for the dead. Padre Pio said to him, “Maybe you don’t know that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!” But the doctor remarked that he has been dead for many, many years. Then Padre Pio explained, “For the Lord the past does not exist. Everything is an eternal present. These prayers had already been taken into account. And so I repeat that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”

Do you need some great reading suggestions? Come and visit My Book List.

%d bloggers like this: