In this short text, I write about my experience using the Spiritual Daily Order (SDO), and how useful it was for me.
My experience with the Spiritual Daily Order is, I must say, a very interesting one. It literally saved my dreams and aspirations. In the Schoenstatt Formation House where I was a student, the use of the Spiritual Daily Order was highly recommended. As the name suggests, it was meant to help introduce order in one’s life, and enable him make some progress in pursuit ofholiness and personal objectives. This, at least, was how I personally understood its raison d’être.
Having said that, I must however confess that although I theoretically understood the importance of the SDO, I neither felt the need nor the urgency to make use of it at the time.When I did, it was mainly because the authorities encouraged (almost obliged) it, not because I had personally felt the urgency for that. My attitude, I suspect, may have been occasioned by the fact that the Community provided us with a fairly clear action plan that guided us daily. The community activities were not optional. To be absent from them, the permission of the Rector or the Superior was required. With this, my need for the SDO was not as pressing as it would become years later.
When I involuntarily left the community (I have now come to terms with the reality), things quickly took a different turn. The outside world, unlike the Community I exited, did not provide me with a clear framework that should help organise and guide my private life, activities and choices. Yet, staying organised and focused were key to realising one’s dreams,and pursuit of holiness. It was at this time that I started considering making use of the SDO once again. Although I thought about it, the very act of using it did not occur immediately. It happened later on – in the middle of my PhD programme in University of Bristol. Without the SDO, I am pretty sure that I would not have been able to finish the programme. Doing a PhD in Bristol is incredibly intense, isolating, and demanding. Not everyone who started the programme was able to finish. I had watched a significant number of very smart and intelligent young men and women quit. Nearly all of them were very proficient in English language (a handful of them were actually English) – so they did not discontinue because of linguistic barriers, or lack of intelligence. I therefore suspect that they quit because of their inability to sufficiently manage the complex nature of the programme, and other challenges associated with it. This would have most probably been the case with me too, but the SDO made the difference. It helped me get organised, resilient, and consistent. More importantly, it also helped secure a bit of time for prayer and meditation. In simple terms, the SDO inundated me with grace and strength that enabled me accomplish one of the most difficult tasks I have ever undertaken – doing a PhD in a Russel Group University such as the University of Bristol.
This does not however mean that I was always faithful in my use of the SDO. There were certainly times when I failed to make use of it. But then, it was only a question of time before I started feeling the need to pick it up again. For anyone handling complex projects, or whose life has become a bit more sophisticated due to career or apostolic progression, the use of SDO is a necessity. There is even no need to force such an individual to make use of it. He would quite naturally, over time, become convinced of its relevance – for using it makes life a bit easier and more orderly. Sometime ago, I was led to think that when Jesus says: “come to me all you who labour and are over burdened, and I will give you rest” that He is indirectly also asking us to make use of the SDO – for it helps lighten the burden of our daily activities.Thomism teaches us that God works through secondary causes. The SDO, it seems to me, is one of those secondary channels through which God works to bless us, and make our lives richer and better.
I am convinced that the SDO is a useful, effective, beautiful and powerful educational tool.This is no gimmick – for I speak of what I know and have personally experienced,particularly within the context of my intense and challenging doctoral programme in England. SDO literally helped save my dreams, and enabled me actualise them. SDO works!