“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The new year brings a desire to make resolutions to improve the quality of our lives. It is an opportunity to renew our hope and deepen our resolve to live more fully in keeping with Christ’s will and way. Often, when we make resolutions, we focus on physical things such as dieting or exercising. In the new year of our Lord 2012, I invite you to consider making a commitment to renew and deepen your relationship with God. As the experts remind us — make it doable, start small, celebrate small wins, and gradually make changes that hopefully become lifetime habits. Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Attend Mass more regularly, remembering that what is important is not what we get out of Mass but instead what we bring to Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that it is “right and just” to give God praise.
2. Pray and reflect on the Sunday Scripture readings. Read the RENEW blog for reflections on the coming Sunday’s Gospels or consider those from the USCCB.
3. Participate in a small community committed to prayer, faith sharing, and Christian action. Start a new small group or re-gather your RENEW small community for Lent.
4. Recite a decade of the rosary daily for the intentions of friends and family.
5. Read a spiritual book.
6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Every morning as you wake up say “thank you, Lord” for a new day, and each night thank God for all the blessings of the day.
7. Practice the examen, the daily Jesuit practice of examining our lives.
8. Reflect on a person whom you have not been able to forgive. Ask God for the grace to forgive him or her.
9. Choose to do a good deed. Mother Teresa often told her sisters to remember the “Gospel on five fingers.” She would say, “You-Did-This-For-Me,” as she held up each finger of her hand. These words come from Matthew 25 where Jesus tells us we will be judged by how we helped the thirsty or hungry or sick.
10. Perform an act of justice. Think of an injustice in your work environment or your neighborhood and carry out a small action toward making it right.