Plenty of New Year’s resolutions involve starting a diet. That’s so not original. Plus diets often don’t work, at least not permanently. Spiritual resolutions are the ones that can truly transform our lives.
Thinking about how we can better ourselves in the coming year, spiritual resolutions should be at the top of our list. They can bring the most change, much more signifcant change than other New Year’s resolutions.
Spiritual resolutions have benefits for ourselves, those around us, and our intentions, with eternal consequences. What could be more worthwhile to set our minds to come January first?
Start the day with the Morning Offering This prayer sets the tone for the whole day, and gives to God the entire day – the good, the bad, the ugly – in advance. I love it that anything even slightly worthwhile I do that day is used for the intentions listed in the prayer, without my even thinking about it after reciting the short prayer. It’s a way of joining our work and suffering with that of Christ and participating in the salvation of others.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.
The Morning Offering is the first email I open each day. You can subscribe to receive the morning offering each day, along with a Scripture reading and Saint of the day, at: https://www.catholiccompany.com/subscribe-morning-offering.tr
Read Some Good Catholic Books This Year
Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church? It sat on my shelf for several years because I wrongly assumed it would bore me to tears. When I finally picked it up, I found clarification for a number of things I had just accepted but didn’t understand. The Catechism provides the reasons behind our beliefs, the explanation for specific doctrine. It can even be read online at, http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/ “In reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we can perceive the wonderful unity of the mystery of God…— Pope John Paul II
Most parishes have at least one or two prayer groups. It could be a Legion of Mary, Bible study, or a Padre Pio group that meets at the rectory. Others can be a rosary group that meets weekly at someone’s home. Find one that fits your schedule. Meeting and praying with other Catholics who want to strengthen their faith and knowledge can be a strong support to your spiritual life. If your parish doesn’t have such a group, check other parishes in your diocese.
Get Involved in Something
When we give of our time, talent, or treasure, we’re participating in building up the kingdom of God. You’ve heard the expression, “not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something.” Do you have a few hours a week to be a faith formation teacher, or maybe a substitute? Could you get involved with the bereavement committee, respect life ministry, food pantry, choir, RCIA? You’ll find your faith strengthened while you assist others and promote Catholic values.
Go on a Retreat
If you’ve never gone on a retreat before, maybe now’s the time! Recharge your spiritual batteries, be renewed and inspired in a peaceful, prayerful setting. Parish bulletins often announce local retreats; your diocesan website probably offers information on where, when, any particular focus of upcoming retreats, fee if any. Some retreats are 3 or 4 days; others are a single day or even a morning. Some diocese have their own retreat center; other retreats are offered at seminaries, or parish centers. Again, asking your Catholic friends or pastor can get you a recommendation for something that fits your interests and schedule.
Do the Nightly Examen Prayer
This prayer popularized by St. Ignatius is reflection of the day. In reviewing our day, we give thanks for blessings received, pause to see God’s hand in our life, acknowledge areas we need to ‘do better’ in, ask for His guidance for the next day. The examen prayer can be found at: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen
Now you can expect your New Year’s resolutions to bring you closer to God, to develop your spiritual gifts, and to bring peace and joy into your life.
You may also enjoy reading: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bornagaincatholic/2017/12/hopes-fears-years/