Master class on self mastery
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Master Class on Self Mastery. The Art of Discipline. Discipline and the world. We observe a consumer-driven, pleasure-seeking society, based on having whatever they feel like.

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Master Class on Self Mastery

The Art of Discipline

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Discipline and the world

  • We observe a consumer-driven, pleasure-seeking society, based on having whatever they feel like.

  • We observe alarming increases in “out of control” behaviour, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, high risk sexual activity, assault...

  • Self Mastery or discipline seems like an archaic concept and a wet blanket!

  • The search for happiness goes on apart from God.

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Do as I say not as I do!

  • If you read the lives of great people, you find that the first victory they ever won was over themselves...

  • All great, successful people have discipline

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Chastity and Discipline

  • The following acronym HALT identifies some key factors that contribute to us falling into this kind of sin.

    • Hunger. Ask a person who is in a habitual sexual sin about their eating habits, and inevitably you’ll find its all over the place.

    • Anger. People who are upset, frustrated and stressed are very vulnerable to this.

    • Loneliness. Feeling lonely, depressed, stressed are perhaps the most important precursors to sexual sin. After all these actions ultimate seek the intimacy of the sexual embrace.

    • Tiredness. We seem to never have enough time or adequate rest. This is the devils favourite moment to attack and the time when we give in most easily.

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What is Discipline?

  • Means “to grip” or “take hold of”

  • Aristotle says its “the ability to test desire by reason.” The intellect vs the will.

  • Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do when you ought to do it!

  • When we are foolish we want to conquer the world. When we are wise we want to conquer ourselves.

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Start with yourself

  • A sagely old man said of this: “Looking back, my life seems to be one long obstacle course, with me as the chief obstacle.” – Jack Parr.

  • The first step to making any ground in the area of discipline is accepting responsibility for who you are.

  • Psychologist reports on prisoners.

  • AA the first step is to admit that you have a problem.

  • Challenge your excuses. List their reasons. Then challenge and dismiss each one. Don’t leave yourself any reasons to quit.

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Set your priorities

  • Think about the top three or four areas of life that are most important to you.

  • Write them down, along with the disciplines that you must develop to keep growing and improving in those areas.

  • By writing down your priorities, you can release yourself from everything else that is ultimately not important, to follow through on what is.

  • Develop a plan to make the disciplines a daily or weekly part of your life. Discipline is not a one off event.

  • Develop systems and routines.

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List the reasons:

  • List all the reasons and benefits of practising the disciplines you’ve just listed.

  • Post the benefits someplace where you will see them daily.

  • On those day’s you don’t want to follow through, re-read your list.

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Remove the temptation

  • Hunt for the Red October. Sean Connery line:

    • “When Christopher Columbus arrived at the new found land, he burned his boats to inspire his men!”

  • We need to “burn our bridges” when it comes to sin.

  • The exhortation of Christ in Sundays Gospel is very clear on this. (cut off anything that leads you to sin)

  • (a good internet filter)

  • People, friends, places, trashy movies etc... this applies across the board.

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Becoming Accountable

  • Everyone knows that the easiest way to get into exercise is to have someone your accountable to, eg someone you meet.

  • Regular Confession will make you accountable very quickly. Plus there is sacramental grace available.

  • Bring a friend with you if you tend to drink to much, or flirt to much... Use the computer in a more public area than your room.

  • There’s something fishy about Stephen’s car...

  • (explained that the fish on my car keeps me accountable for my driving behaviour.)

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The spiritual battle plan...

  • Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist.

  • The Eucharist is the fuel of true love.

  • Have an intention at mass.

  • Adoration of the blessed sacrament is an inexhaustable source of holiness.

  • You will soon come to know what true love is.

  • “We all want to look like a knight, but we don’t want to bleed like one...”

  • JPII – 20 visits a day!

  • Journaling

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The Plan – Part 2

  • Develop that personal prayer time.

  • Spend 5 minutes every morning (do it by the clock if you have to!)

  • Pray for souls as you fall asleep.

  • Carry a rosary, medals.

  • Spend that time driving in prayer. Switch off the radio.

  • Guardian angel, St Michael, Patron Saint

  • St Joseph

  • Mary, true femininity. The more she dwells in a soul, the more the Holy Spirit, in fact the more the Trinity enters in!

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Other spiritual helps...

  • Holy souls

  • Nuns (the heavy ammo in this spiritual fight)

  • Fasting – sharpens our prayers.

    • Putting off rewards is a great way to stay focussed on the task at hand. It could be delaying opening your mail, checking that sms, TV program, favourite snack etc.

  • Tame your tongue – next time you want to lash out, hold your tongue for five minutes (even just one if that seems too hard!!)

  • Lent in the Catholic Church is for our benefit in this area.

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Stay Busy...

  • Stay busy and engaged in meaningful things. Each time the devil finds you (metaphorically), he should find you busy and go away!!

  • Keep your mind active and focused. A “To-Do List” is perhaps the best way of making the most use of time and avoiding distractions.

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Disciplined Emotions

  • Understand the HALT warnings.

  • Be willing to look at self esteem issues.

    • Feelings of inferiority – comparing ourselves to “perfect” people all the time

    • Feelings of powerlessness – feeling our life is out of control, their is no progress in our lives.

  • We need to commit ourselves to firming up our own sense of worth and value.

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Start small

“What you are going to be tomorrow, you are becoming today.”

  • List five areas in your life that lack discipline.

  • Place them in order of your priority for conquering them.

  • Take them on, one at a time.

  • Secure resources, such as books and tapes, that will give you instruction and motivation to conquer each area.

  • Ask a person who models the trait you want to possess to hold you accountable for it.

  • Spend 15 minutes each morning getting focused in order to get control of this weak area in your life.

  • Do a five minute check-up on yourself at midday.

  • Take five minutes in the evening to evaluate your progress.

  • Allow sixty days to work on one area before you go to the next.

  • Celebrate with the one who holds you accountable as you show continued success.

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Organise your life

  • Set your priorities

  • Place priorities in your calendar

  • Allow a little time for the unexpected

  • Do projects one at a time

  • Organise your work space

  • Work according to your temperament

  • Use your driving time for light work and growth

  • Develop systems that work for you

  • Always have a plan for those minutes between meetings

  • Focus on results not on the activity

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Start now

  • “All worthwhile men have good thoughts, good ideas, and good intentions, but precious few of them ever translate those into action” – John Hancock Field.

  • Lord Nelson, the English Naval Commander. He was responsible for destroying Napoleons' entire fleet. Yet he suffered sea-sickness his whole life.

  • Often we experience a little “sea-sickness” in life, we never seem to find the right, ideal conditions to begin. Yet the challenge of discipline never seems to find an ideal moment to begin.

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • The struggle of temptation trains us in faithfulness and love.

    • We start practising and preparing to make a gift of ourselves, to gain self mastery so that we can

    • Doing bench presses at the gym. Resistance builds muscle fibres... So it goes with our yes to loving purely and selflessly.

    • Only the chaste man or woman is capable of authentic love.

    • St Francis De Sales says that marriage is the greatest mortification on earth!

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • It lets us earn merit in heaven

    • We often don’t think about heaven.

    • Heaven seems like some eternal Church service!!

    • St Paul says though that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has in store for those who love him.”

    • Like a soldier who has fought hard is honoured when he arrives home, so temptation is not given to us unless there is an opportunity for merit and grace.

    • The devil tempts so that he can ruin, God tempts so that he can crown. – St John Chrysostom

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • Penance for past sins

    • God always forgives

    • Love always wants to make amends for injuries and offences caused

    • The devil sometimes uses our past sins against us

    • Each time we resist temptation there is much grace merited.

    • Acts of resistance against these are acts of love acts of reparation.

    • No matter what temptation you go through, temptation of lust, anger or pride, we can apply this rule to all of them.

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • More frequent prayer

    • If we prayed every time we were tempted, think about how much more praying we would do every day.

    • Don’t just pray against the temptations, pray for the temptations. If its an impure thought, pray for the person, the subject of that thought.

    • Spiritually adopt these people.

    • “Love is victorious because it prays.” - JPII

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • For the growth in humility.

    • With humility we realise how dependent we are on God and that without Him we are nothing.

    • It’s only in humility that God can use us.

    • When a child witnesses danger, they cling all the more tightly to their dad. So God allows temptations so that we see how weak and prone to falling we are and that we would cling more tightly to him.

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • To prove your love for God.

    • Temptation comes from the Greek word “to test”.

    • Refining fire, reveals the true value of the metal. So temptation burns away much of our self love and thinking about how good we are, cause we realise through it how weak we are.

    • Each time we resist temptation we demonstrate our strength and our love for God.

    • St Francis: Temptation is a ring by which the lord espouses the soul of his servant to himself... It requires a choice, an act of the will.

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Why Does God give us these temptations?

  • So that we will think about sex (you heard it right!)

    • We joke about it, we sing songs about it, we laugh about it, but we rarely stop and think about why we’ve been given these powerful drives. Why did God make us this way?

    • JPII tells us “That man cannot find himself except through a sincere giving of himself.” When we make this total gift of ourselves whether married or single or celibate, we fulfil the meaning of our being and our existence. This gift of sexuality is the call to love in the image of God’s likeness.

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Throwing away the bandaids...

  • When you desire to exercise you no longer need the discipline of exercising!

  • Do we desire to go to heaven?

  • Do we desire to be chaste?

  • Chastity is the road map to the proper ordering and fulfillment of the deepest longings of our hearts.

    • for intimacy and relationship, and the desire to be loved and to love others... we are tapping into the wellspring of pure joy!

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The redemption of our lusts:

  • The remedy for lust is a conversion of heart! When we begin to truly understand the dignity of the human person and the truth about our call to love, we no longer desire to lust.

  • Lust is a weak, poor, whimpering whispering thing when compared with the richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.” -C.S. Lewis

  • Only when you empty yourself for the good of a beloved will you see that all other joy is an illusion.

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Dare to love...

The Canadian nursery story...

The best time to plant a tree is twenty five years ago, the next best time is today!

So plant the tree of discipline in your life today.