Hard times and your faith

I think a lot of people are experiencing harder economic times.


What adjustments have you made materially?

What adjustments have you made spiritually?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Konichiwa says:

    Materially, I live more like a Spartan.
    Spiritually, I pray the Rosary much more frequently, go adore the Blessed Sacrament more frequently, go to confession, practise humility and just pray more in general.

  2. Henry Belton says:

    Materially – my wife just quit her job to stay home with our number five; we now drive 45 minutes to mass (TLM); so to save money buying bulk and at Aldi (although I’m torn between buying local; used clothes on Ebay

    Spiritually – struggling to live simply and humbly; praying Angelus

  3. Nan says:

    I just finished reading Come Be My Light, which is letters of Mother Teresa and it’s interesting; she worked with the poorest of the poor and one of the last letters told her correspondent that God is always thinking of people. Someone had given her two packs of the best quality cigarettes and later the same day, she found an old man in the gutter and the first thing he asked for was a cigarette.

    Materially, I’m completely broke right now, but that’s a short-term thing and will change; I found $20 yesterday when I was worrying how I would buy groceries, put gas in my car, have money for the collection basket and have something for the candlebox.

    Spiritually, based on something other than the economy, I’m going to daily Mass more frequently, Adoration most Saturdays and also pray more, generally. Who was it prescribed a Rosary a day?

    Oh, and the random priest in confession yesterday reminded me to pray for priests.

  4. Sandy says:

    We have always lived frugally, and taught our children the same. The bigger change for me is spiritual. I feel a huge spiritual battle in the world and even in our family, a need to pray harder for certain family members. Some months back, I felt an urging from the Lord to add the Chaplet of Mercy daily to my Rosary and other prayers. I said it once in a while, but feel that we need to ask the Lord very specifically for mercy now, to mitigate the chastisement the world surely deserves. (Hebrews 12)

  5. jjoy says:

    Materially: make do, do without, stretch that penny ’til it won’t go any farther
    Spiritually: pray harder, keep reminding myself that God has a plan, that He’s in charge, that this is all for His purpose: trust, trust, trust!

  6. Navarricano says:

    I refinanced a loan and some credit cards to get a lower monthly payment, and then cancelled the credit cards. The downside of that is no more purchases online from Amazon and the lot, but the upside is no more impulse buying or instant gratification of consumerist desires. If I want something, I have to assess whether it is a genuine need or caprice, and I have to save for it if I decide I want to buy it, the way my parents taught us to do when we were children. I find I am very conscious of how much money I have and how it gets spent now. I pay closer attention to the bargains at the grocery store and I am cooking for myself at home much more often rather than eating out (I am single). I take clothes to be mended now rather than just rushing out straight away to buy new ones.

    I try to turn the sacrifices that all of the above engenders into penitential offerings each day.

  7. joan ellen says:

    Thank you Fr Z for asking about the spiritual as well as the material.

    Our family has always lived rather simply. Now more so. Now refer to myself as an Amish Catholic grandma…live simply & pray hard, especially common Catholic prayers & esp. the Chaplet of Divine Mercy & the Rosary, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Divine Office, etc.

    Also do lots of short prayers, such as the name of Jesus over & over (because 6.8 billion are not all saying/praying His name)at noon, & My Jesus Mercy over & over at 3:00 pm for the same reason.

    p.s. For what ever it is worth, I do cover my head as well…well there is that exhortation in Corinthians…

  8. capchoirgirl says:

    Joan–where have you found nice headcovers? I’m considering attending a parish in my area where the majority of women cover their heads, and I’d like to find something nice for when I attend Mass there.

  9. joan ellen says:

    capchoirgirl: Thanks for asking. You can find some nice scarves at this Jewish site: http://www.tznius.com/cgi-bin/product.pl?productid=546&groupid=15

    I also make mine using white or colored gauze approx. 28 inch square. I roll the edges as I hand stitch using white serging thread & an angled stitch (it looks like a serging stitch).

    On my block there used to be 3 families of women covering their heads 24/7/365. Former Mennonites, former Adventists & my Catholic self. We wear headcoverings at night in case we wake up & begin to pray.

    We also wear skirts/jumpers/dresses almost exclusively. Sometimes I wear slacks under when it is cold, but am going to think more about flannel bloomers.

    Good news about the women in the parish in your area who cover their heads. Headcoverings are so feminine, & it would be nice to see more Catholic women doing this…at least at Mass.

  10. Agnes says:

    My husband has decent employment by most standards. I am home with the toddler and six kids are in the parish school with the help of aid. Sam’s Club and the thrift store is the name of the game around here. We are a financial titanic.

    Spiritually, I try to live in a spirit of thankfulness for God’s care of us. We have employment, a house, transportation, a fine school and parish…I try to attend Mass daily and Confession weekly. Weekly Adoration. I put my theology study to use by teaching CCD and I consider both a part of my spiritual life, and another part of my motherhood. I will live generously for God, my family, and others – and even though I get down, I live in trust that His generosity will never be outdone.

    I kind of sort of thinking about helping with altar bread baking next week…. hemming and hawing about it. Do I really need another “thing” to do or do I just need to practice more stillness (I get a little hyper sometimes…)

  11. joan ellen says:

    OMGosh, forgot to mention, headcoverings on a woman may also help us remember that the Church is a hierarchy, not to mention that it may also help us to be more reverent & perhaps look more reverent. And then it mostly does seem to show our inward respect for Our Blessed Lord in the Tabernacle.

  12. archambt says:

    “perhaps look more reverent”

    I don’t think it matters what we look like, so long as we are on the inside, as state it a little later.

  13. joan ellen says:

    Agnes: I usually like to say that I’ve been low income all of my life, but never had a poor day in my life. Many of the comments above mention many of my practices, & I also shut my electric hot water heater off until about 35 minutes before I need it, use it & shut it off again, dry clothes on a line or on Amish racks…more difficult with a large family…eat mostly raw foods, so less cooking expenses & cook on a hot plate, bring things to a boil, shut it off & let the food finish cooking. Meat, of course would have to be thoroughly cooked. Cover tops of windows with bubble wrap & the bottoms with pipe insulation tied one to another using cotton yarn, use 2 or 3 1/2 watt LED light bulbs & 2 or 3 13 watt compact flourescent light bulbs on my bathroom light bar, in the summer use 4.5 watt LED lanterns, in the winter use 4 watt night lites & 13 watt compact flourescent light bulbs…these both give off a little heat that dispells dampness molecules & makes the house feel a little warmer, use refrigerator battery operated fans to circulate air in the winter as well as small 35 watt fans (about $7.00 at big stores), also use sleeping bags over quilts in the winter, sleep in sweats, etc., etc.

    Someone just recently reminded me that in poverty stricken Peru, the people seem to abound in inner peace. Abound in inner peace would be nice, & am also trying more stillness/silence/smiles…not easy.

  14. joan ellen says:

    “perhaps look more reverent”

    I don’t think it matters what we look like, so long as we are on the inside, as state it a little later.

    Comment by archambt — 18 October 2009 @ 6:04 pm

    Agree with you…yet I always appreciate ‘the look of reverence’ in others as a reminder to call to mind the need for my reverence. Too easily influenced by what I see, & have a tendency to not be very reverent…especially on the inside…not to mention the tendency to distracted thoughts.

  15. Girgadis says:

    We haven’t changed much materially. My husband always joked that he wanted to live like a poor man with a lot of money (I think he heard that from Picasso) but the lot of money part never happened. We still have an embarassment of riches compared to so many othes. We try our best to be as generous as we can to others, especially through Catholic Charities and some little informal things we do for the homeless, tho not nearly as often as we should. We rarely eat out and in the past year we’ve made more out of less when it comes to grocery shopping, etc. My crockpot is my best friend during the week.

    Spiritually, I haven’t been compelled to change much in response to the economy but some little things I’ve done include getting up earlier during the week to pray the Rosary before Mass. Don’t laugh, but I started my own blog for the sole purpose of linking it to my Facebook page in an effort to reach out to some of my heathen family and friends. So many of them are reeling from the economy that I thought I’d give them something to read other than Twilight books. I usually just post a little something on the saint of the day or on the benefits of praying the Rosary. If I manage to plant one seed, it’s well worth it.

  16. Agnes says:

    All good ideas. And if I could kick the Caribou habit, that would certainly save millions. It is a damned vice.

    Re: looking reverent. If people are looking, are they being reverent? If they’re being reverent, then what do they look like? And if you’re noticing, shame on you for not being reverent!

    I think I want a big wide brimmed hat with a lot of ostrich feathers circa 1909. Then I will be the MOST reverent lady around! :-P

  17. Brian Day says:

    At our household, we have been tightening the belts for quite a while. So when in May when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the loss of income and the medical bills really hit us pretty hard. With the help of family, we have pretty much made it through the worst of it. Treatment will continue through until next year and another round of high deductibles, but I am hopeful that we will be able to meet the challenges ahead.
    One of the things that we’ve done is to improve my diet to get rid of the junk (at least 80% of it anyway), with the benefit of saving money on the grocery bill. Imagine that! Also the electric and gas companies have programs for people with medical conditions that keeps the rates at a lower price tier. That has helped immensely.

    On the spiritual side, I’ve taken advantage of the sacraments, including Anointing of the Sick. My prayer life has also increased dramatically.

    While Fr Z didn’t specifically broach the subject, in a way, the cancer and the two back surgeries needed to fix problems caused by the cancer has been a blessing. It seems counter intuitive – but what can I say?
    I think that today’s first reading (OF) from Isaiah was very appropriate:

    The LORD was pleased
    to crush him in infirmity.

    If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
    he shall see his descendants in a long life,
    and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

    Because of his affliction
    he shall see the light in fullness
    of days;
    through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
    and their guilt he shall bear.

    Is 53:10-11

  18. moon1234 says:

    – Paid off all debt except the house. (That is good debt I guess, still working hard to get rid of this load ASAP)
    – Only purchasing QUALITY durable goods. No more cheap vacuums that die once a year. No more washing machines that die every three-five years. We save our pennies and then buy quality even though we pay more. In the long run we save a LOT of money and frustration.
    – Using cloth diapers (Bum Genius, bummies, etc.) instead of disposables. Have saved over $600 in the first year AFTER paying for the cloth diapers. You will go broke buying disposables.
    – volunteered to teach Cathecism at church. Found out they give a small stipends for this. Put that money towards the kids school.

    – Started having Cathecism class at home.
    – Singing in the Church choir
    – Having boys go to TLM server training. (I am leaving new things too)
    – Praying to God that he will watch over us and keep us safe.

  19. tired student says:

    Students are always poor. Nothing new in the world. I don’t go drinking, learned to cook, buy clothes off the bargain rack (doesn’t look half bad actually). Luckily I don’t have a car, so no loan payments or insurance to pay. Even in cities there are cheap deals on veggies and fruits if you know where to look. I save up to prepay tuition instead of taking loans, or even save some money to prepay some principal. The only drain on my finances is paying the metro fare to get to the TLM.

  20. bernadette says:

    capchoirgirl- check out halo-works.com. They have beautiful mantillas.

    After spending a massive amount on very necessary home repairs and losing much of our investments for retirement, we have really been forced to bite the bullet. But I asked for it in my prayers, for the Lord to teach me to be frugal. Boy did I get an answer!
    No new clothing this year.
    Eating out only for birthdays and anniversaries.
    All leftovers are saved to be eaten.
    Our only vacation-much needed by my husband, is to a national park facility for four nights.
    What really hurts though is I have had to greatly curtail visits to the west coast to see my daughter and only grandchild.

    The Lord has also been teaching me about suffering and how to offer it up for the Church and the conversion of my family. Have had plenty of that these past months although not nearly as bad as so many good people I know.
    Liturgy of the hours, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Rosary, lectio divina, and Mass during the week as often as possible are my weapons of spiritual warfare.

  21. ejcmartin says:

    I have been blessed that my business has well this year. We went through a very hard time a couple of years back when my wife developed a serious health problem. As a result things were very difficult financially, so we had already made our material adjustments. Now we are happy with what we have and try to help out those who have less.
    Spritually, again our big change occured when my wife’s health deteriorated. Prior to that time we just kind of shuffled off to Mass every Sunday out of some sort of obligation. Now it’s daily Mass and prayers and life has never been better.

  22. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    Materially, I have cut down on how much I spend on food (Instead of a separate breakfast, I have a brunch, for example). Also, I’ve found ways to make outings with friends more affordable (instead of going to a restaurant, I invite folks on a picnic.) Of course, we students don’t have much money in the first place.

    Spiritually, I just pray more in general, and I have come into the posession of the Canons of the Council of Trent, so I read them and the Lives of the Saints I got last Christmas. Also, I’ve been able to appreciate those around me more – I find myself talking with my neighbors (I live in an apartment-style dormitory.

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