Advent began on Sunday, December 3, and with it, the new liturgical year also began. An entire year to focus on the life and ministry of Christ stretches before us, complete with seasons, feast days, and days of fasting and penitence. Since we are in Advent, it’s important to focus on the season we are in, and to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas. However, I also find it beneficial to take a moment and look at the broad expanse of the year that lies ahead, and make specific goals — New Year’s resolutions.
The practice of making — and breaking — New Year’s resolutions is commonplace. Each winter, as the calendar year draws to a close, numerous people resolve to change their lives in some way. While this can be a worthy practice if one truly commits to working towards these goals, the idea of making resolutions to coincide with the calendar year has never really appealed to me. Why jump on the secular bandwagon of making resolutions for 2018 when I can instead dive deeper into the life of the Church and form my resolutions around the liturgical year?
For the past several years, in the final weeks of Ordinary Time, I start thinking and praying about what my resolutions will be. One year, I resolved to focus more on God’s mercy, and spent that year reading and praying with the diary of St. Faustina Kowalska. Another year, I decided to focus on modern saints, and spent my year learning about the holy men and women of the 20-21st centuries. This year, I made four resolutions, and will focus on each resolution for 3 months. Our resolutions don’t have to be huge or fit specific criteria; instead, they need to be small ways in which we can try to grow closer to God. In creating my resolutions with the new liturgical year, I find that no matter what my resolutions are — working out, reading certain books, doing certain activities — I am more attuned to God’s voice.