New Years’ resolutions that really matter

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As we wrestle with ourselves over our new years’ resolutions, let’s not lose sight of those that really matter – growth in the knowledge and beauty of the Faith.

Week 1: On Sundays, explore related passages from Scripture for the liturgical day.
Take just 5 minutes each Sunday, open the Bible or collection of sermons, and find a passage to reflect on which corresponds to the day. This week’s feast of the Holy Family is rich for reflection. The Gospel is taken from Luke 2:42-52, dealing with the loss of Our Lord in the Temple. On the topic of Jesus and the doctors in the temple, one could read from the Psalms, 118:97-104. Or on the moral beauties of a united family, Exod. 20:12, Deut. 5:16; 26:16, Proverbs 17:6; 23:22-25; 30:17; 31:10-31.

Week 2: Practice Generosity
Beyond the precept of the Church that requires us to give of our fruits, generosity is more than money. Sometimes the greater generosity is that of time. This week, make one act of generous time that you ordinarily would not do. For husbands and fathers, perhaps go into work early, so you can leave a bit early in order to spend extra time with children. For mothers, perhaps it’s an unsolicited offer to help another mother watch her children for the afternoon or simply 15 minutes of meditation during the week in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Week 3: Practice Purity of Intention
This Third Sunday after Epiphany also coincides with the feast of St. Agnes, who is venerated for her purity. But purity can go beyond the mandates of the 6th and 9th commandment. Let us also reflect on our intentions during this week before we take an action – is this task, conversation, or recreation I am about to undertake done for the greater glory of God, or is it self-serving?

Week 4: Practice Silence
In Lamentations, and throughout scripture, the preference for us to be silent in prayer and meditation is a recurring theme; “It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God” (Lam. 3:26) This week, make an effort once a day to allow another to speak, or to refrain from an idle comment. You may be surprised at the frequency this happens. St. Joseph is also a shining example throughout the Christmas gospels: be silent, allowing others to shine more than you.

Week 5: Practice Gratitude
This week make it a practice to find ordinary things throughout the day to be grateful for. It could be gratitude to another, say a coworker for a task they perform daily and it has become so routine we don’t offer anything beyond the mumbled “thanks.” Or it could be a small prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gifts of health, family, a Catholic education for your children, or stable employment. And as we come closer this Sexagesima Sunday to Lent, let us be especially grateful to Our Lord and his priests for the unbound mercy in the confessional.

Week 6: Say the Angelus
In churches and priories, the practice of saying the Angelus is common. In homes and our daily lives, it is less so. On this Quinquagesima Sunday, also the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, let us fall into the good habit of reciting the Angelus. At first, we can make it a habit to say it just once a day – maybe after we wake with our morning prayers. Then, add it to your lunchtime and dinner routine, so along with the Church, you can unite yourself to Our Blessed Mother three times each day.

 

 

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