New Year’s is a great time to take and step back, recalibrate, and move forward steadfastly in the direction you want to go. Even though it’s not the “New Year” in the liturgical sense, it’s still an opportune time to discern God’s will for us in the coming future. Here are five spiritual practices that aren’t daunting to add to your spiritual arsenal.
1. Daily Rosary/ Divine Mercy Chaplet
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”– Saint Louis de Montfort
“The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.”– Mary to St. Dominic
“The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of three powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual…”Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
“Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.”– St. Padre Pio
2. Commit to a weekly Holy Hour
“Spend as much time as possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament and He will fill you with His strength and His power.”Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Sign up at your parish, or a local parish, that offers perpetual Adoration. One hour per week spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament yields many fruits.
3. Attend Confession regularly
This is a hard one to actually execute, even if you really want too because Confession times may change and schedules may not match what’s available, so what I’ve found is helpful is to keep a reoccurring, scheduled appointment with your parish priest. This could be quarterly or monthly, but the accountability of having an actual appointment encourages you to follow through with this spiritual practice. Bonus: having the same confessor facilitates more focused spiritual direction so it’s time well spent.
Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls.-St. Francis de Sales
4. Intentionally live out the Corporal Works of Mercy throughout the year
Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, and give alms to the poor. Keeping a goodie bag with snack bars and water accessible in your car for those you see on the streets is an easy way to live out a few of the corporal works of mercy in your daily life. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, giving blood, donating to local charities that do outreach to those who need it are a few ways to give back. The USCCB website lists more ideas here.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”Matthew 25:31-46