Lose 10 pounds. Train for a triathlon. Walk the dog every day. Go to bed earlier.
Maybe these aren’t the resolutions to make this year. Maybe we should go deeper.
New Years resolutions often involve an examination of the habits and practices we want to embrace in the new year and usually include an increase in healthy habits or a reduction of some kind of excess, whether it’s too much food or too much screen time. Productivity experts, fitness gurus and nutritionists can be counted on for suggestions that range from incremental change to radical shifts.
But perhaps this year we should be looking at ourselves from the inside out. This is a perfect time to examine our life with the God who “makes all things new” and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us – and to empower us to respond to God’s invitation and call. The basic message of the gospel, that we and our world are broken, that God has sent His Son to rescue and redeem us, and that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can enter into the very life of God, is the foundational truth for spiritual resolutions.
God makes all things new – and that means us.
Still, we need to cooperate. Our New Years resolutions can help us by identifying specific practices and commitments that will nurture our relationship with God and open us to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. This is a great way to focus on the new year – to realize that we have the opportunity to become new.
It’s simple, really. There are three considerations.
HOW’S THAT PRAYER TIME GOING?
Do you pray regularly? By this I mean, do you have a regular time that you sit and have a conversation with God? If you do, then maybe this year you can grow that time by five to 10 minutes or add some spiritual reading or Bible study to the schedule. Just like athletic training, we grow our prayer muscles by praying. If you don’t have a regular time to pray – that would be a great place to start with your resolutions. (For resources on prayer, visit www.rcbo.org/yearofprayer)
WHERE ARE THE SACRAMENTS IN YOUR LIFE?
These moments of grace are supernatural opportunities for the life of God to be poured into your soul. If you receive the Eucharist regularly, how do you prepare your soul for that moment (see prayer time, above)? Consider how you can more properly dispose yourself to receive God’s presence, body, soul and divinity. If you have been absent from Mass (virtual or in person), now is a good time to resolve to do better, visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive God’s forgiveness and begin again. (For Mass and confession schedules visit your local parish website or their social media channels. For a list of livestreaming services, visit bit.ly/RCBOlivestreammasses.)
HOW ARE YOU LEARNING MORE ABOUT GOD’S STORY?
Do you study or read the Bible? Visit www.dmc2020.org to Learn the Great Story.
As we look to 2021, let us invite God into our lives once more, ask Jesus to lead us and the Holy Spirit to empower us to respond to the call of God to go deeper, to become new and to “bear much fruit.”