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  • Katie Ratliff

2 Habits that Changed My Life



“Our lives change when our habits change.”


This quote from Matthew Kelly, founder of Dynamic Catholic, contains an incredible truth. I know because I have experienced it firsthand. My life changed because of 2 simple habits I formed.



Daily Prayer


So this one needs a little backstory… a few years ago my husband politely insisted that I attend a mom’s morning retreat. I reluctantly decided to go, but the whole time I kept thinking “I have so many other things I should be doing right now.”


You see, this was a period of my life when I thought I was THE busiest person in the world. I was working crazy hours for a global marketing agency and trying to balance a demanding job with three little kids at home.


With much hesitation, I decided to go to confession during the retreat (but honestly only because everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to stick out as the one person who didn’t go to confession...).


During confession I shared with the priest that I wasn’t praying. But I tried to convince him that it really wasn’t my fault because I simply didn’t have time for it.


(By the way, who does that??? Who tries to convince a priest they don’t have time to pray??? Apparently, I do… )


The priest didn’t argue with me. In fact, he agreed that I was indeed, very busy. But then he told me a story about a CEO of a company who started every day with prayer. This CEO knew that if he took the time to pray, the rest of his day would go smoother.


Hmmm… this made me think... This CEO was probably even busier than I was and yet he took time to pray…


I decided to give it a try.


Before I cracked open my laptop each morning, I started to spend a few minutes in prayer. Over time, it became a habit.


And like the CEO in the priest’s story, I discovered that when I didn’t take time to pray, the day was usually a disaster. When I did pray, my days were much better... I’m not saying that bad things didn’t happen, but I was able to manage them with greater peace and clarity when I had started my day with prayer.


This simple habit of daily prayer was the foundation of my spiritual transformation.



Daily Mass


Fast forward about 12-18 months, and I started to see a priest for spiritual direction. Life was still pretty hectic and I noticed I was starting to slip on my daily prayer routine. Because I worked from home, my prayer time would often be interrupted by the “ding” of a Skype notification, or an urgent call from a client.


I shared this with my spiritual director. He looked at me and asked, “What’s your morning routine?”


I went through the whole thing - wake up, work out, get ready, get kids ready, drop kids off at daycare, come home, try to pray, get to work.


“Where is the daycare located?” he patiently asked.


“Right across from our church.” I answered. (Do you see where this is going?)


He suggested that after dropping off the kids, I go into the church and pray. After all, it was right across the street. And that way I wouldn’t get distracted at home. I had to admit, it was pretty logical.


Diligent student that I was, I agreed to the homework assignment.


As I went into our parish each morning, I noticed daily mass was going on in the small chapel. I was curious, but honestly, I literally thought to myself, “Well daily mass is for really holy people. I should just stay out here and pray.”


But after awhile, I felt pretty silly sitting outside by myself. I decided to give daily mass a try.

Before I knew it, I was hooked. And daily mass became a habit that I could not live without.


I am not a theologian. I can’t articulate the mystery that occurred within me during daily mass. But I can tell you that receiving the Eucharist every day truly transformed me. I am no longer the same person I once was because of my daily mass habit.


Do you want to change your life? Do you want to transform your relationships? Start by forming good habits.

Lent isn't over yet, it’s a great time to start.

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