Meaningful Catholic New Year's Resolutions
A Brief 2020 Takeaway
Like most people, I have been contemplating the routine end of the year goals and resolutions that we all feel inclined to make. If there is anything 2020 taught me it's that the only thing you can be sure of is God's infinite love and mercy. Everything else is fleeting and should be counted as a blessing only to help us pursue a deeper relationship with Our Lord, if it doesn't do that it isn't worth entertaining. That is what I believe, now only to adapt my attitude and actions... it takes practice. That isn't to say that we can't enjoy the temporal things that we have or what we earn, but that they should be held in balance. With that perspective in mind, I feel even more compelled this year to pick a resolution that pertains to spiritual matters. These types of resolutions tend to help me to keep in mind that what I have committed to doing is not just for my own good, but also for a greater good. I learned after years of failing to uphold resolutions that if something is simply just for me, then I'm less motived to maintain it. I think in some way we can all be fickle like that and experts at making excuses, I am speaking mostly of myself of course.
The Catholic Meaning of a Resolution
I've also been reflecting on the term resolution, it's interesting that it is widely used only one time a year at New Years, but as Catholics we use this every time we go to the Sacrament of Penance. As a theological term, it means that we have a firm determination to carry into effect whatever it is that we have decided must be done. Given that we do this within the context of the Sacrament means that we have prayerfully reflected on said thing and arrived at this point with conversion. I have resolved to do or not do x, y, or z; of course we do our utmost but in our frailty we may falter and have to renew that resolve again in Confession. This is the wisdom and love of Christ in the sacraments, He understands our human nature and the need we have to renew that resolve over and over again. We can imitate this in our New Year's resolutions by first and foremost going to Reconciliation more because this is where we are strengthened; and in a lesser way by knowing that if you drop the ball on whatever it is you promised yourself for 2021, you can always begin again!
A Virtue a Year
Several years ago I decided that I was going to pick a virtue to work on every 6 months to a year. The virtue would be chosen through prayerful reflection or something that I felt that God kept bringing up in my life. One year it was joy, another year it was modesty, the next it was patience, you get the idea. I did this without anyone's knowledge and then told my husband who recalled this quote from the Imitation of Christ. "If we would overcome one fault a year, we would soon be perfect." (Chapter 11) I took this as confirmation that my way to sanctification would be through working on a virtue a year, and God please grant me many years. A year gives me plenty of time to practice, fail, perfect, fail, and eventually make it a habit.
3 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Resolution
If your resolution is really important to you, tell a trusted friend, while accountability partners may feel awkward they will inevitably provide you with support.
Pick one or two tangible things that you can remember and keep track of.
It's okay to not be perfect, keep going, maybe reassess your goals as the year goes on.
10 Ideas for Catholic New Year's Resolutions!
Choose a virtue to work on for the entire year.
Pick a saint to get to know.
Start a Bible challenge.
Create a routine for going to adoration or reconciliation more often.
Do a daily examen.
Join a group or start volunteering at Church.
Give back to the Church, start tithing.
Pick a Marian prayer to help grow closer to the Blessed Mother.
Spend five minutes in silence every day, set a timer!
Read that spiritual book you've been telling yourself you would get to.
Bonus Idea: Go an extra day a week or a month to Mass.
Bonus BONUS Idea: Add a Catholic tradition into your domestic church to do with family or friends.
I hope and pray that regardless of what the year brings, that your relationship with Jesus is brought into greater depths. In the midst of all that 2020 brought our family, I can honestly say that I have never felt a greater closeness with Christ. If you picked one of the things off of this list, tell me about it! I'd love to hear what you chose and why, hopefully we can journey to Heaven together. As for me, I will be carrying on with a new virtue, a new saint, and five minutes of silence every day.
Keep celebrating Christmas and have a Happy New Year!