Resolutions are near and dear to the Catholic heart for a few reasons that run in our baptismal DNA.
We love to have the firm purpose to amend our lives, as we promise every time we go to confession.
We love conversions, including our own ongoing conversions of life.
We aspire to give our will to the Will of God- a life surrendering resolution.
We also love the seasons of our faith, having times that we all focus together on a specific aspect of Christ’s life and mystery.
Yes, New Year’s resolutions are very Catholic.
At the same time, our faith asks us to rely on grace and not try to be the protagonists of our own salvation. We need to make sure our resolutions rely on God and our co-operation with him, not on our own plan for self-improvement based in pride or vanity, or on a determination to ‘earn our salvation’ (which of course, we cannot do, by the way).
Here are 5 thoughts to bring to prayer if you are looking for ways to have totally Catholic new year’s resolutions.
- Resolve TO BE more than TO DO.
“Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.’” -Luke 10:40-42
A woman who is very dear to our family is preparing to meet Christ in Eternity soon. She has brain cancer which is no longer treatable. This woman is truly loved by thousands. She was a middle school teacher, and she is a mother, grandmother, and friend to many.
She is one of those people who cause you to smile just by seeing her. She radiates faith, peace, and joy. This woman has come to the end of her life, not with a high-profile list of accomplishments, but with a way of being that has impacted thousands.
Simply, she loves whoever is in her path with attention and care. She focusses on BEING there for those around her, more than just DOING the things on her checklist. She has done MANY things, but all of those accomplishments fade into the background in the face of the impact of WHO she is.
I want to be like her when I grow up.
Please keep her in your prayers. Her name is Linda.
- Resolve to BE HIS.
“I have called you by name, you are mine.” -Isaiah 43:1
Often our desire to make resolutions is a grab at controlling our own lives and shaping our own destinies. Resist this urge, and trust God instead. He has a plan for you, and I promise there is more to it than you can see today. The way to walk the beautiful path he has for you is to be HIS, not YOURS. Resolve to follow HIS plans, and seek them in prayer. He answers.
- Resolve to BE PRESENT.
“Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” -Mark 10:21
We can get so fragmented with everything that pulls at us. Stop multi-tasking yourself to death and be present in the moment, present to God, present to yourself, present to whoever is in front of you, and to whatever task is at hand. Jean-Pierre de Caussade called it “the sacrament of the present moment.”
“There is not a moment in which God does not present Himself under the cover of some pain to be endured, of some consolation to be enjoyed, or of some duty to be performed. All that takes place within us, around us, or through us, contains and conceals His divine action.”
― Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence
Years ago, a priest taught me what it means to be present to others in the moment before me. When I talked to him, it was like no one, and no other concern, existed for Him in the world. He was totally focused on the soul in front of him. It showed me the attentive love that my Father in Heaven has for me.
Be 100% present to the person in front of you and let God work in their lives through you.
- Resolve to BE LIKE MARY.
“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” -Luke 1:38
Echo her FIAT daily. Echo her MAGNIFICAT in prayer. Echo her STRENGTH OF SPIRIT in how she loves, supports and accompanies her Son and others. Let the Holy Spirit be a wind at your back that impels you to go out, love others, and share Christ with the world who needs Him, the way she did with Elizabeth, at the wedding in Cana and in every moment of her life.
- Resolve to LIVE the SACRAMENTS.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” -1 John 6:56
The sources of all strength and love are given to you in the Church. Learn more about the sacraments. Read what the doctors of the Church and the saints have said about the treasures they hold. Reflect on how you have been living the sacraments and how to live them more deeply, more receptively.