by Father Paul August Gros

Dear Family in Christ, I remember back when I was in seminary. A rather holy priest who was serving as my spiritual director told me that we should always have some spiritual book that we are reading. This is so that our minds don’t become dulled by the world, and we can always be filling our minds with the “things of the Lord”. That advice has stuck with me for years now. As a matter of fact, I often pass that advice on to my own spiritual directees.

St. Paul in our second reading this Sunday gives us a beautiful line from his letter to the Romans: “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds” (Rm 12:2).

Our minds are a gift from the Lord. They can affect our emotions, our emotions can affect our attitude, our attitude can affect our behavior, and our behavior…well, it can affect our eternal salvation. Listen to what Jesus says in the Gospel: “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct [behavior].” This is far from just believing in Jesus as my Lord and savior and I will be saved!

It all goes back to the question: What are we putting in our minds on a daily? 24- hour news? Social media? Entertainment? Clearly, these things are not ALL bad. But certainly, they do have an influence over us – for better or for worse. So, what might be the ratio between the minutes (or hours) we put these things in our mind versus something like reading (or listening to) the Gospels or doing some spiritual reading. Might you be embarrassed to tell me?!?

It’s important to ask this question because it CAN affect everything I mentioned above – from our attitude to our behavior to even our character. Notice I put CAN not WILL. This is because we are not robots. We do have a free will and with God’s grace our emotions don’t necessarily have to affect our behavior. For example, I can feel angry about something, but, with God’s help, I don’t have to behave like a jerk to everyone.

But it still begs the proposition: “our minds are powerful gifts of God and what we put in them matters”. As I mentioned, the minds we have are true gifts, but with every great gift comes great responsibility.

This is why I propose to you what was proposed by my spiritual director 20 years ago. We should always have something of the Catholic faith that we are putting in our minds throughout our day. This can be a little reading of scripture or a spiritual book in the morning or at night or listening to a good podcast of the faith on our drive home. This is so that we fill our minds with the “things of God” and our lives may be transformed for good (be transformed by the renewal of your minds). This will offset much of the mindlessness that enters on a daily basis (yes, that includes me as well!!).

Here are a list of good authors or podcasters you can fill your mind with: Dr. Brant Pitre, Scott Hahn, John Bergsma, Jeff Cavins, Catholic Answers, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Fr. Josh Johnson (our very own!), Matt Fradd and of course any of the saints would do! There is so much out there. Take advantage of St. Paul’s challenge to fill your minds with good things so that you may “be transformed by the renewal of your minds.”

Have a wonderful week!