From October 31st to January 1st, it’s a whirlwind of activity, planning, parties, gift-giving, and general holiday chaos. First comes Halloween. Then comes Thanksgiving, followed quickly by an over-commercialized Christmas. Then, as soon as December 26th hits, the majority of the world throws out their Christmas trees and skips right over the remaining 11 days of Christmas. They eagerly jump right into celebrating the coming new year.
Come New Year’s, most people find themselves making resolutions they plan to keep. Some have high hopes of slowing down some of the recent chaos, others want to shed some of those newly gained holiday pounds. Most will mention a desire to establish new, better habits to live a happier, healthier life. Generally, most people focus on exercising more, eating healthier, maybe staying more organized, and making time for friends or family in an intentional way.
But, just as we focus on bodily health and mental order, so too should we give ourselves a chance to improve and grow spiritually in the new year. Here are five faith based resolutions for the new year to consider.
1) Attend Daily Mass a certain number of times a week.
Maybe your schedule only allows one or two days a week where you can fit daily Mass in. But even that is worth it, because you’re committing to seeking the graces of the Sacrament and allowing yourself to be nourished by the Source and Summit of our faith. Need some motivation and want to feel more involved at Mass? Get a Magnificat subscription so you can read the readings ahead of time, or even on your own on the days you can’t make it.
2) Read a new spiritual/faith based book each month
There are so many amazing spiritual books out there. Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a list to get you started – find them online or at your local Catholic bookstore.
- How to be Holy by Peter Kreeft
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
- A Map of Life: a Simple Study of the Catholic Faith by Frank Sheed
- ABC’s of the Christian Life: the ultimate anthology of the prince of paradox by G.K. Chesterton
- A Heart Like Mary’s: 31 Daily meditations to help you live and love as she does by Edward Looney
3) Commit to going to Confession regularly (once a month)
If we’re resolved to eat better and cut out junk food, why not also resolve to cut out sin and purposefully and intentionally seek forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation? Bonus points if you seek (and keep) a regular confessor so he and you can intentionally concentrate on specific ways to grow, improve, and convert.
4) Choose a daily devotion
Maybe it’s a rosary every morning, or the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 o’clock every afternoon. Maybe it’s adding the Angelus to your midday routine or the Litany of Humility every time you get in the car (especially when you’re in traffic). Pick a new devotional/prayer to incorporate into your daily routine.
5) Participate in a ministry at your parish
We’re called to actively engage in the life of the church, and this is often lived in very practical ways. Have you thought about serving as a lector, teaching in the parish religious education program, volunteering to help decorate and clean the church, serving on the pastoral council, or joining the choir? Find an area to become involved in at your parish and commit to being involved for at least two to three months to see if it’s a ministry you enjoy and to which you feel truly called.
It’s not too late to pick (and stick with) a resolution for this new year! Good luck!