By Renae Kranz
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Or maybe you’ve already given up on them.
There’s so much pressure to start the year off by making some grand vow to change a major part of our lives for the better. Many of the things we try to change are great things: lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with family, start a business.
Have you ever considered making New Year’s resolutions that help you increase your faith and build a better relationship with the Lord? If not, this might be your year to make a difference in your own life and the lives of those around you.
Here are 14 faith-based resolutions you can choose from. Pick one or two that feel doable and commit to them for 2020.
- Marian devotion: Devotion to our Blessed Mother is a beautiful way to grow in faith and become closer to Christ her Son. She is truly a mother for all of us if we only turn to her intercession. Two great books to help get you started are “Behold Your Mother” by Tim Staples and “Hail Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God” by Scott Hahn.
- Spiritual reading: Spend more time reading scripture or good spiritual books and articles (including those in the Bishop’s Bulletin). Learning more about our faith is critical to holding onto it in today’s environment.
- Be a good steward of your gifts: We are all blessed with gifts. God asks us to share those gifts with each other as much as we can. Volunteer your time, give to charities, use your talents to help your parishes and your diocese. Be generous in all you do.
- Evangelize: This is a scary word for many of us, but evangelization can start in your own family. Think of it as planting seeds rather than beating someone over the head with God. Plant the seeds by being an example and God will do the rest. Check out Bishop Robert Barron’s website wordonfire.org if you want more on evangelizing.
- Pray the rosary: This is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray. Add it to your prayer life once a week or more. Dedicate your prayer to something specific such as an end to abortion or an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
- Learn more about the saints: The saints of the Church are our greatest examples of how to live a holy life and get to heaven. Their stories are fascinating, and they’re more like us than you might imagine. Pick a specific saint to start a devotion to or learn more about multiple saints by going to sfcatholic.org/saints.
- Start a holy hour: Can you give the Lord one hour a week? You won’t regret it. He’s waiting for you even now. Read this month’s feature to learn more about eucharistic adoration and holy hours.
- Go on a retreat or pilgrimage: The idea here is to do something new. You can find retreats available in our diocese at Abbey of the Hills or Broom Tree Retreat and Conference Center. Or take a local or regional pilgrimage to a Marian shrine or church you’ve been wanting to visit.
- Join a Bible study group: Learn and understand more about your faith and make new friends at the same time. This is a great way to meet others in your parish and feel more like a community.
- Set aside time for prayer each day: Regular prayer is critical to our spiritual growth. Setting aside even five minutes a day will make a noticeable difference in how you feel and treat people throughout your day. Don’t forget to spend a few minutes in silence just listening to the Lord. Increase your time in prayer as you are able and feel moved to do so.
- Fast: If you are able, fasting is a great penance to add all year long rather than just during Lent. Try fasting on Fridays. Or fast from meat every Friday of the year. Don’t forget to offer up your penance in prayer for someone else to make it extra powerful.
- Go to confession: Seeking forgiveness for our sins frees us from them and gives us peace we otherwise cannot find. Try going every month for the year. And while you’re asking the Lord for forgiveness, be sure to forgive others who may have hurt you.
- Add another Mass: Go to one extra Mass each week. Some parishes have daily Mass over the noon hour or in the evening. The Lord is waiting for you in the Eucharist.
- Change what you hear and see: Much of what comes out of the entertainment world and the media today is not helpful for the spiritual life. Clean up what you allow in your home or car. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate anything you wouldn’t watch or listen to in front of your mother or grandmother.
Make a commitment today to spend more time with the Lord. It will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. Pick one or two and get started now.