In his book, The Way of Men, author Jack Donovan talks about the founding of Rome by the brothers Romulus and Remus. Although the founders were very rough characters—they were really leaders of a gang—one of the first things that they did was establish a cult of worship. In other words, spirituality was one of their first concerns.
This seems very strange to us because we classify spirituality as something useless and impractical. We prefer to focus on those things that are “practical” like starting a business, voting for a particular candidate for president, or lifting weights.
But if we are going to make any headway in changing our culture, spirituality is going to have to front seat just as it did for the founders of Rome.
The founders of Rome knew that spirituality was important because it provided a unifying principle for all the men. Regardless of whatever gods they may have brought with them, they were all bound to recognize the Roman religion. This is one of the reasons why Christianity was so subversive—Christians were exclusive. They could not worship the Roman gods.
But a unifying principle is still a “pragmatic” concern that we moderns can relate to. The other reason that spirituality is so important is something we are no longer able to see—there is real power in spirituality. For the Romans, discharging their duties of worship was a prerequisite to obtaining the divine blessing upon the city. Failing to tap into the power of the divine brought on disaster.
It is no different today. Our current situation is a direct result of our abandonment of our connection to the divine. An improvement in society is not going to come from electing some libertarian candidate to the presidency. Real change comes only from above.
So the formula is simple. If you want to change the world, connect to the divine. To do this, we, like the Romans, need a cult of worship and we need spirituality. But we don’t need to go back to the Roman religion. Christianity fits the bill perfectly. In fact, it is much better than the Roman religion where humans performed rituals to rule over blind forces. Christians are nothing less than sons, and therefore, heirs of God. Our theology has not plumbed the depths of what this truly means.
But a namby-pamby spirituality is not going to cut it. It must be a truly masculine spirituality.
True spirituality must be an integral part of one’s life, not just an ornament. It can’t be something that you do for one hour on a Sunday that has no impact on your day-to-day life. Any effective spiritual program should be something that includes daily action. A spiritual program must also be sacrificial in terms of time. You can’t treat God as an afterthought.
A program that fits all of these criteria can be found in Father John McCloskey’s article called The Seven Daily Habits of Holy Apostolic People. While this program was designed for Catholics, it doesn’t take much imagination to adapt the same concepts to a Protestant spirituality. The program consists of the following elements performed daily:
- Making the morning offering upon rising. This is simply raising your mind to God and dedicating the day ahead to him. This also involves the “heroic moment” as described by St. Josemaria: “Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish.” (The Way, 191)
- Attending Holy Mass and receiving Communion in a state of grace. Fr. McCloskey writes: “This is the most important habit of all the seven (cfr. John 6:22-65). As such, it has to be at the very center of our interior life and consequently our day. It is the most intimate act possible to man. There we encounter the living Christ, participate in the renewal of His sacrifice for us and unite body soul, to the Risen Christ and ourselves.”
- Spending fifteen minutes in mental prayer, preferably in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
- Spending fifteen minutes doing spiritual reading. This could be from the Bible or some other suitable spiritual book.
- Praying the Angelus or Regina Coeli at noon. The Angelus is prayed through out the year except for the Easter season when the Regina Coeli is recited in its stead.
- Praying five decades of the Rosary while meditating on the mysteries for that particular day.
- Making a brief examination of conscience at night prior to going to bed.
This program is not intended to be just a checklist of things you must do. The whole purpose is to build a real relationship with God that lasts through every waking moment of the day. For the modern knight, the existence of God cannot be theoretical. The presence of God must become a lived experience.