- Grow in piety: Piety is a devoted fulfillment of one's duty. The pious person prays daily, frequents the sacraments, studies the Bible, and does other spiritual reading. These pious practices are like core exercises: they're sometimes boring, but they make your whole body stronger. Resolve to grow in piety by doing these things:
- Pray more/better. Check out this video from Ascension Presents for a plan to do this. https://youtu.be/1UPIvsvWcUc
- Go to Mass and Confession. Mass every Lord's Day (Sunday) and Holy Day of Obligation (there are 5... look them up!).
- Study the Bible/Read. Spend time every day doing this! Start with 10 minutes a day and grow from there. If your parish has a Formed.org subscription, there are plenty of study/reading resources there. If not, ask your parish priest for some resources.
- Be a better evangelizer: Evangelization is not much more than communicating the good news that Jesus is our Savior and in him we have hope of eternal happiness. We can do this though our words (spoken and written) and our actions (self-sacrificing acts of charity, both small and big). Using words is often a challenge for folks, so here's three simple steps to prepare yourself to be an evangelizer:
- Spend some time thinking about your own faith story. How did you come to know God and Christ Jesus as your Savior? What impact has that made on your life? What is the hope that you live with because of this?
- Write this story down and think about how you would share it. Most people don't talk about their faith because they've never really verbalized it. By writing it down, you give words to your story, making it easier to share when the opportunity arises.
- Share it! Now that you know how to verbalize the Good News (because you've verbalized how it has been good news for you), you are ready to share it with those around you. Do not be afraid!
- Help relieve suffering wherever you can: The Kingdom of God is a return to the Garden of Eden when all of creation dwelt in harmony. Sin destroyed that harmony and suffering is the result. But now that Jesus has conquered sin, we can begin to re-establish that harmony around us by helping to relieve suffering and by always striving to make a positive impact on those around us. Here are some ways to do that:
- Practice random acts of kindness.
- Engage in regular service to those in need.
- Perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
These are three very broad resolutions, but they are resolutions that can be repeated year after year and never exhaust their fruitfulness. Don't expect perfection for yourself, but do expect growth. Write down some weekly goals for each of these resolutions and spend some time writing down how you did each week. You'll begin to see your growth, even amidst setbacks. Still further, your relationship with God will grow, and there's nothing more valuable than that.
Remember that I'm walking this journey with you! Let us encourage and support one another as we strive for the heights of happiness in this world in anticipation of the incomparable happiness we'll know in heaven. May God bless you all in this year of grace, 2020! Verso l'alto!