Faith & Life

SPIRITUAL GOALS

Making New Year’s Resolutions Improves Our Spiritual Lives

By Cathi Douglas     1/2/2020

As we look ahead to 2020 – the new year and a new decade – many of us will make resolutions to live differently, behave in better ways, and improve ourselves. 

Yet even with the best intentions, we often fail to keep our resolutions for any significant amount of time.  

Still, New Year’s resolutions are so much a part of human nature that even Pope Francis makes them. A few years ago, he vowed to make more time for others, meet the poor face-to-face, and be happy. 

New Year’s resolutions are healthy, writes neuropsychologist and author Theo Tsaousides, because they provide us with vision, clarity, and direction. Goals – another way of looking at resolutions – also give us meaning, purpose, and even make us feel accomplished as we chase our dreams. 

For Catholics, making New Year’s resolutions can bring us closer to God, deepen our spirituality, and teach us to be more Christlike in every aspect of our lives. Here are 10 suggestions for using resolutions to improve your spiritual life in 2020. 

 

Show up and draw closer to God 

Time is perhaps our most precious commodity. Spending time in worship and adoration outside our mandated Sunday Mass takes commitment and sacrifice, while bringing us close to the Lord. These ‘extra’ commitments can feed our spirituality in surprising ways. 

  • Go to daily Mass once a week
    or more.
  • Attend Eucharistic Adoration once a month.

 

Read Catholic literature 

We read to improve our professional skills and to entertain ourselves – but incorporating Catholic books and the Bible into our reading habit keeps God ever in the forefront of our minds.  

  • Read a saint’s biography or Matthew Kelly’s most recent book, “Rediscover the Saints,” available in hardback at Amazon.com for $14.59.
  • Read and contemplate daily Scripture or consider joining a Bible study group.

 

Incorporate prayer into your day 

Learning to be silent in the Lord’s presence and listen for His voice is an important part of worship, but we often find it hard to carve out time to be quiet and alone. Our smartphones can help by connecting us to myriad apps that offer guided prayer and meditation, and a multitude of websites offer Catholic prayer guidance and daily meditations. Use innovative ways to incorporate prayer into your busy daily schedule. You won’t be sorry. 

  • Pray the rosary once a week, individually, at church, or with family members.
  • Commit to time for daily silent prayer.

 

Volunteer for a good cause 

Giving our time and talents to the church and to worthy organizations that serve sound social causes are ways we can serve God and at the same time do something wonderful for the less fortunate. Spending time in service is a prayer itself. 

  • Volunteer to serve your parish as a greeter, Eucharistic minister, usher, lector or wherever needed.
  • Give time to a service organization, such as Habitat for Humanity or Second Harvest Food Bank.

 

Give generously to the church 

We pass the offertory basket up and down our row every Sunday, but how often do we fill out the envelope and write a check to our parish? How many of us are registered parishioners? Have we gone online to electronically schedule regular gifts to our parish? Committing ourselves to one or more of these actions makes our spiritual giving concrete. 

  • Donate food to St. Vincent de Paul or Catholic Charities.
  • Give generously to support your parish and your parish school.

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