Happy New Year! Making resolutions is the norm this time of year, as we come up with a mental list of areas we want to improve or things we want to accomplish. While losing those stubborn pounds, exercising regularly, and getting to work on time are great resolutions, there’s one more important resolution that belongs on all of our lists: being more Christ-like. If you’ve fallen off the proverbial wagon in regards to praying, including God in your life, loving your neighbor as yourself, or practicing the other tenets of our Catholic faith, now is the time to hop back on that wagon and try again. As we start turning the pages of the book of 2015, here’s our list of faith-based New Year’s resolutions that you can try; we’ll be trying to stick to them right along with you:
Dust-off your rosary beads.
This year, make it your goal to pray every day. There are no formal rules when it comes to praying other than to just do it. You can pray when you’re driving to work, first thing in the morning, before you go to sleep, or when you’re folding laundry. You can read from a book of prayers or just speak from your heart to your most trusted confidant and mentor and the world’s best listener–God. One of the most powerful prayers Blessed Mary urged all of us to pray is the rosary. It was one of Pope John Paul II’s favorite prayers.
Read more about the lives of saints.
There are many books written on the lives of saints that are filled with examples of how men and women—just like all of us—experienced life’s many trials and tribulations. Learning how these saints navigated life’s difficulties while remaining steadfast in their faith can teach us how we can get through our toughest times. Let their actions and words of wisdom help us on our life journey. Check out some of our videos about the Saints in 60 seconds.
Scan the Ten Commandments—are you sticking to these important rules?
Many of us think that by not committing the “big” sins such as thou shall not kill and thou shall not steal we’re sticking to the Ten Commandments; but there are other important commandments that we must adhere to as well. Are you envious of a co-worker’s promotion or your sibling’s new sports car? That falls under commandment number 10: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods. Are you guilty of spreading along a little “harmless” gossip? That’s breaking commandment number 8: thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Print out the Ten Commandments and keep them somewhere visible as a reminder.
Seven deadly sins.
Along with the Ten Commandments, keep a list of the seven deadly sins handy. Also known as the seven capital sins, the seven deadly sins are: pride, greed, gluttony, lust, sloth, envy, and anger.
Pick up the phone or ring a doorbell.
If you’ve been neglecting broken relationships with family members or other important people in your life, now is the time to reconnect. Haven’t spoken in years to a sibling who has hurt you? As the Our Father prayer says, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” How can we ask God to forgive us our wrongdoings if we aren’t forgiving those who have wronged us?
Be a nicer person.
This resolution is simple and direct and is something we were all taught to be from an early age. Say please and thank you; let someone who seems to be in a rush jump ahead of you in the checkout line; carve out time in your schedule to spend with your aging parents; say “God bless you” to a stranger who sneezes. There are endless ways to be a nicer person.
Work on your short fuse.
If you have a short fuse when it comes to a difficult co-worker, a rebellious teenager, or a nosy neighbor, take a few deep breaths and pray for the patience to handle each situation.
How can you find happiness when there’s so much you have to worry about: putting food on the table, funding your children’s education, finding a job, the list goes on? Just as there’s always something to be unhappy about, there’s always something to be happy about. Try to find even just one thing to be glad about each day. “The true Christian,” says Pope Francis “exudes great joy. The Christian sings with joy, and walks, and carries this joy.” In true Pope Francis fashion, he goes on to say,
“Sometimes these melancholy Christians’ faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life.”