The year 2017 is upon us and for many this means it’s time to come up with a list of, or at least a couple, New Year’s Resolutions. Get fit, eat better, spend less, and save more seem to be pretty common resolutions these days. But resolving to focus more on God instead of on self should be every Christian’s number one resolution.
Some people seem to think that going to Mass and tithing are all they need for a healthy spiritual life. While these are very important action items, they also fall into the exterior category.
We all know Catholics who are just “going through the motions.” I myself have been guilty of this in the past. So now I begin each New Year by examining my conscious. And I’ve come to realize that there a few simple interior qualities that I believe God intends us all to cultivate.
This is a big one, my friends. What is your intention for your life? Is it all about you? Or is it about God?
As Jesus told the Pharisee in Mathew 22:37-39: ““You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Do you make excuses as to why you do not live your life as a Catholic?
When we wake up in the morning, it’s truly a miracle just to be alive. Resolve to take advantage of what God has blessed you with every day. Start off the day in prayer. Ask God for what you need. When you arrive at Mass, open your heart and strive to feel His presence. As you pray, let God enter your heart. Are you being called to do something? Forgive? Serve? Teach? Listen carefully.
This is definitely intertwined with intention. When I began to intentionally live every day as a Catholic, I became increasingly aware of the importance of my vocation in life. My vocation is the married state, and as St. Pope John Paul II says in Familiaris Consortio, “marriage and the family constitute one of the most precious of human values.” I always wanted a large family and I am truly thankful that I have been blessed with one!
My children attend a school that is all about God in every subject. And through my parish I also get to teach teenagers to love God, themselves, and others. So in addition to my family and also because of my family, I am blessed in two other ways! I thank God for these blessings, and everything else He has given me and my family, every morning as part of my daily prayer.
Think about what is good in your life and give thanks, and stop focusing on the bad. But remember too, that even on those occasions when you fall, a priest is always there to offer healing through reconciliation.
Helping others is a cornerstone in the Catholic faith. Most people don’t realize that the Catholic Church is one of the largest benefactors to the poor. A noble goal for 2017 should include an abundance of giving. If you cannot give financially, give of your time and talent.
As a mother to seven, I understand this can be tricky. However, you will be surprised by how much you can contribute, even if it is only an hour at a time. Any and all of your contributions earn graces and will be greatly appreciated. Be sure to look in your parish bulletin for volunteer opportunities.
There are so many ways to live out your Catholic faith this year. Have a family meeting and make out a list of goals for your family to strive for in 2017. Post it on a bulletin board or the refrigerator for easy viewing. Pretty soon living your faith will become second nature to you and a part of your daily life.
Have a blessed New Year!
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