The primary goal of the below is that individuals commit to and consistently live out a “rule of life” that can lead to great sanctity even for lay people. Here is a sample “Lay Plan of Life” written by a priest-affiliate of SOCA. The below steps take place with regular meetings (ex: weekly) and assume the following to be implicitly understood: Sunday Mass, established friendship, fulfilling the duties of one’s state, contacting priests, emphasis on the sacraments (especially confession), requirements to remain in a state of grace, etc.

Standard Formation plan for SOCA disciples:

  1. Read/study the Baltimore Catechism and the chapter “the Life of Grace” in Father Garigou LaGrange’s The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life
  2. Read “Conversation with Christ”; accountability with 15 minutes of daily mental prayer and a rosary
  3. Determine a rule of life; ongoing conversations and experiences concerning the traditions of the faith; talk about how to be authentically Catholic in one’s circle fo influence (i.e. friends and family)
  4. Practical accountability living out the rule of life (including sacraments); reading on spiritual theology and the book “Soul of the Apostolate”
  5. Read “The Old Evangelization” and experience with evangelization; find a spiritual director for regular meetings
  6. Form a few other disciples; other apostolic endeavors


Other Notes:

-The Catechism formation will follow a well-done series given by a traditional Catholic priest here:

-much of the formation also comes through the natural of friendship (spiritually rooted in Christ, of course); this helps because 1) there is trust; 2) conversation about the faith may inspire the disciple to greater zeal and devotion, 3) important questions and points are often brought up organically, and, most importantly, 4) spiritual and virtuous friends encourage the other in leading a good life by their example and comradery

-this is not an apostolate that aims to water things down; rather, it recognizes that key elements of leading others to conversion include a calling to repentence, reverence, faith in all of the Church’s teachings; conversations also emphasize the vanity of the world, how to live a virtuous and disciplined life, the 4 Last Things and preparation for death, Traditional Doctrine of the Church, and the levels of prayer according to the mystics

-meetings may include but are not limited to: going on a walk, going to the mountains, meeting at a house, meeting for a meal/coffee, meditation, praying/chanting Lauds/Vespers/Compline (the Divine Office); conversing about theology, the catechism, struggles, prayer, accountability/check-in, evangelization

-to hear what the chant sounds like, check out this site and go to “Compline”:

-Saint Teresa of Avila advocates spiritual friendship; SOCA emphasizes this but with the understanding: 1) given the nature of our overly-connected society, disciples can only have a few deep spiritual friendships; and 2) this is a secondary value after what is primary–namely, detachment from all creatures for the sake of attaching to God alone

-these meetings differ from spiritual direction per se (which entails openness of “internal forum” and discernment of spirits); disciples of SOCA are encouraged to find a priest; that being said, SOCA exists primarily to get men to the point where there is a spiritual life (i.e. 45 minutes of mental prayer daily) to be directed by a priest (until then, the general advice for anyone seeking spiritual counsel will be to formulate and live out a rule of life!)

-the heart of the whole formation is to create habits that will lead to an authentic life with Christ in the soul; and the central habit for this is mental prayer

-the Saints who will be most recommended to be studied will be Saint Teresa of Avila (on prayer) and Saint Thomas Aquinas (intellectual study with philosophy and theology)

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