To help the church grow in love and faithful witness to God, Pope Francis has…
What are God’s New Year’s resolutions for you?
‘Tis the season for making our New Year’s resolutions and reevaluating our bucket lists. While both are fine, we know the routine: We start with high expectations of what we want to accomplish this year, how to make ourselves a better person and meet those goals we have been avoiding, but we often fall short of these hopes and dreams.
Maybe you are a great goal setter. Maybe you thrive on checking things off a list. Heaven knows I wish I was more like that. But, like many people, I am not. Instead, about two days into my resolutions, I will have consistently avoided the gym or slept in or wasted more time on social media. As such, our expectations crash, and the rest of the year seems to be thrown out the window.
Yes, these resolutions can be good, but are they truly for our greatest benefit?
What if we approached this year with different expectations? What if, instead of asking ourselves what we want to accomplish, we ask God what he desires for us in the upcoming year?
This past year has been rough. The Church is bleeding and mourning in so many respects. But as difficult as the year has been, these struggles are nothing new when you consider Church history. I don’t say this to dismiss our struggles and the pain people are experiencing. I say this to give context and hope: God has already won the battle, but we have a role in his army.
When you look over the history of the Church, it is easy to notice a pattern of great saints arising during turbulent times. Now is our time to join their numbers. Now is our time to recognize our call to sainthood.
And how did they become saints? By listening to God’s voice and seeing the person he desired them to become. Maybe they approached each year with personal resolutions of how to be better, but even more, they would have asked God’s guidance to see the areas in which he most wanted them to improve.
So, this year, I invite you to prayerfully consider your goals for 2020. They don’t have to be magnanimous or even noticeable to most people. Here are some suggestions:
- Go to confession once a month.
- Make time for Eucharistic adoration in your weekly schedule.
- Make family prayer a staple of your domestic Church.
- Do the heroic minute each morning by waking up to your alarm and getting out of bed immediately.
- Be patient.
- Cultivate gratitude.
- Pray the Rosary more often.
- Cut out or limit major distractions.
- Be more charitable in your giving.
- Take up fasting on Fridays, even in small ways.
- Practice memento mori and remember that this life points to eternity.
- Work on spiritual health.
- Recognize one sin you want to root out of your life and one virtue to practice more fervently.
- Commit to praying for a specific person all year or a new person every day.
- Create more silence in your life to hear God’s voice.
If any of these items stir your heart, take it to prayer and ask the Lord if he desires you to use it to make 2020 a year of intentionality and spiritual growth. At the same time, don’t feel the need to do everything. That is often the main reason our resolutions fail — we take on too much. Instead, choose one or two things to focus on over the coming year. The saints had to make these decisions as well, and with God’s grace, they persevered even when others around them chose personal comfort. And when you stumble, don’t lose heart. Proverbs tells us, “Though the just fall seven times, they rise again” (24:16). You don’t have to be perfect with these goals; you just have to try again.
So this year, what does God want you to work on? How does he want you to love him more? We have a battle to fight, and these are the ways we can put on the armor of God.
Ava Lalor is assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor.