One of the many perks about being Catholic: you don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve to roll around again to resolve to do better. Every moment, especially after the sacrament of reconciliation, is a chance to start anew.
Of course, the New Year is just as good a time as any. As G.K. Chesterton put it, “The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.”
Here are some ideas on renewing your soul from Catholics across the Diocese of Phoenix and across the Internet:
- Greet a new patron saint — Stephanie at Immaculate Heart Radio suggests picking a new saint to intercede for you. It’s like asking “one who is close to God in heaven to pray for us, just as we would ask a friend to pray for us here on earth,” she writes. Stephanie then links you to Jennifer Fulwiler’s “Saint’s Name Generator.”
- Pray — Michelle Neitzke at Life Teen reflected on examining her life with Christ and some prayerful resolutions. She reminds us that we often view time as a measure of success, but God doesn’t. When it’s time to start anew, it’s important to evaluate your life with Christ asking questions like, “Am I living the life Christ wants for me?” “Am I growing in virtue?” “Am I loving others well?” Read on.
- Pray the rosary — A priest told me (and the hundreds of others gathered for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God) that he doesn’t know anyone who prays the rosary who also isn’t wise. So, if a more devout prayer life is something you’d like to try in the coming days, perhaps try the rosary.
Pick up a rosary CD (Kurt and Julie Carrick have one for couples), tune in to Immaculate Heart Radio (it’s on at least three times a day daily) or Radio Family Rosary weekdays at 6:30 p.m. on 1010AM or try this link to “My Mother’s Rosary” which staff at St. Henry in Buckeye pointed its Facebook followers toward.
- The Pope Francis List — Ss. Simon and Jude School shared a link to an article from Rappler, a social new news network. It compiles 10 of the Pope’s most memorable quotes in the form of New Year’s resolutions.
It sounds like one Life Teen youth minister is eagerly tackling No. 5 on the list “Meet the poor ‘in the flesh.'” She joined RODS which stands for “Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome.” It combines her love of running and finding homes for orphans. The organization raised soem $140,000 in its first year. Funds support the adoption of children with Down Syndrome. Sometimes an international family awaits them, but the financial burden is too great.
- 10 Ways to love — In a similar move, Scott Hahn, a renowned convert, speaker and teacher, shared 10 ways to love backing up each three-word action with Scripture. Nearly 16,000 people liked the list enough to share it on their social media feed.
- Study the faith — If you’re looking to delve more into Church reading, the San Francisco de Asís School newsletter in Flagstaff tipped me off to a free resource through Flocknote. You can receive a small chunk (no scrolling required) of the Gospel every day via email. By year’s end, you will have read all four Gospels and had the chance to click on links to dive deeper into reflection. Subscribe.
After reading sections of the Catechism in an entry-level Kino class, I subscribed to the Catechism email list. The year started early on in Advent, but it won’t take you long to catch up.
When you subscribe, an email confirmation will also provide a link to view all archived entries, so you can join any time.
- Bible class — Take the Arizona Bible Class Mondays at St. Benedict Parish in Ahwatukee beginning Jan. 6. The class, taught by Kevin Saunders, will work through the books of Numbers, Deuteronomy, the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. There is open enrollment from all denominations. No preregistration required.
Attend the opening session and decide if you want to formally enroll for the winter/spring sessions. Info.
- Pro-life resolutions — The new calendar year often has a pro-life focus in the days surrounding the Jan. 22 anniversary of the legalization of abortion. The Human Life Alliance shared 15 ways to support the pro-life movement. They’re all probably ideas you’ve thought of before, but items on the list can be encouraging after learning that the Students for Life of America Field Team started 99 pro-life campus groups last year.