This post is a little late because we were in New Mexico for the New Year’s celebration this year. I wrote it a couple of days ago, but we were traveling all day yesterday. As a kid we always took road trips when we went on vacation, so I was really excited for the long drive with my boys. 15 hours in the car may sound miserable to many people, but I really enjoy the time in the car with my family!
We had plenty of time at home this year to visit with family and friends for Christmas and New Years. It was a great end to a wonderful year. 2014 was incredible to us. We had our first full year with our beautiful baby boy, and we bought our home. We hope that 2015 will be a great one too!
It’s that time of the year! The time where everyone begins evaluating where they are at, what they’ve accomplished for the year, and where they can do better in the next. It’s the time for starting anew, and for hope for the future.
The themes for resolutions always seem to be the same, though. It seems that people are yearly thinking of ways in which they can improve their bodies and minds, but what about our spirits? Just as we need to evaluate where we are in our minds and bodies on a regular basis, it is incredibly important that we do a spiritual checkup as well. What better time to do an evaluation of our spiritual lives than at the beginning of each year?
In light of that, I wanted to offer a few different ideas that will help deepen our spiritual lives, and strengthen our relationship with God. May 2015 be a year of growth in faith and love for God for you and for your family!
Pick up a copy of 33 Days to morning glory. Consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary.
A friend of mine mentioned to me how wonderful this retreat was, and so I picked up a copy as soon as I could. I have always had love for Mary and revered her as our holy Mother, but making this retreat really opened up my heart to her, and helped me see more clearly how through her we have the most brilliant model of faith and intercessor for our needs. She is our Queen Mother, and she brings our needs to the feet of her son in her love for us. 2015 might be just the year for you to grow closer to the Mother of God, and to her Immaculate heart.
Pick a family member or friend, and pray for them on a regular basis. Choose a devotion (a rosary, an hour in adoration…) to offer up for them specifically. This is especially good to do for those who are in our lives the most (our spouse, our parents, or siblings), but also for those whom we have drifted apart from, or whom we have lost touch with for whatever reason.
Take on an hour in the adoration chapel weekly. An adoration hour is a great way to grow closer to the Lord. Being in his presence, and devoting specific time to him will draw us nearer to his heart and make us more aware of his presence in our lives. Check your parish’s bulletin this week for hours in your community’s perpetual adoration chapel that need to be filled, or pick an hour that works best for your schedule and make a commitment to fulfill it each week.
Make it a point to read books that inspire your faith. Read about the lives of the Saints, and spiritual books that enhance your knowledge of your faith, and strengthen your spiritual life. I spoke a bit about some of the books I read this year here, but the following books specifically impacted my life immensely:
Reading books that are inspiring to us is so important. The words and lives of holy people become fuel for our journey. It is incredible how our minds pull from spiritual reading, and apply this material to our spiritual life. The inspiration that I received from reading about Saint John Paul II’s life, his struggles, and his prayer life has had a wonderful impact on my own life. When I am too tired to pray, too stubborn to open my mind and heart to the Lord, or become too self-involved, I think about this holy man and how he overcame so much and offered himself completely to God.
Seek out a spiritual director, and try having one for a year. A spiritual director is someone (a priest, nun, for example) who meets with you on a regular basis and talks with you about your spiritual life. They are there to guide you, help point out areas where you can grow in your faith, hold you accountable, and inspire you to dig deeper in your spiritual life. Contact your local parish for more information.
Listen to the advice of Saint Josemaria Escriva:
Fast. Pick a day out of the week, or even biweekly, and offer up your hunger for the Lord. Fasting is a great reminder of our true hunger—our hunger for God. When we order our bodies and are able to say no to them, it becomes easier to order our spirit. Take your fasting a step further and offer it up for someone you love, or for a specific reason.
Become knowledgeable about the certain feast days in the Church, and learn more about the lives of the saints. Pick your favorite, and go to mass on their feast days. Catholic.org lists the feast days for each month.
Go to daily Mass, and frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacraments open up the merits of Christ’s death and resurrection in the fullest way. Jesus offers himself to us in the Eucharist, and he offers his grace of forgiveness in Reconciliation. Take advantage of these beautiful spiritual blessings. They will strengthen your faith, give you fortitude against sin, and draw you closer to God.
Make a commitment to go to confession at least once a month, and/or to attend mass more than once a week.
Make it a point to read scripture daily. Remember that scripture is the Word of God. Make note of the capital “W”, and its significance. This reminds us that this is a living Word. God is waiting to speak to us in and through the Scriptures, personally. God wants to speak to you in the depths of your heart, and the easiest way to tap into this is to open his Word, and to open your heart and listen.
You can also commit to a bible study and join other people in reading God’s Word. Contact your local parish and find out if there is a bible study you can join this year.
Work on expanding your knowledge of the Church’s teachings. There is so much depth and beauty to be discovered in her, and if we are seeking truth and happiness in life, we surely will find it in the Church that Jesus established for us. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or research and read the documents of the Church. One of my favorites is Veritatis Splendor, Saint John Paul II’s document on the “splendor of truth.” Saint John Paul introduces the encyclical with the following words:
Who better to learn from than our Holy Fathers? There are many other documents and encyclicals that are available on the Vatican website that you can check out as well.
These are just a few ideas for some resolutions for your spirit. I encourage you to write down your spiritual goals for the year and remind yourself of them daily!
What are your resolutions for 2015?
I pray that you have a wonderful year!