You can ask that this year is better or you can pray that it’s better, but you should also prepare for it to be better. It’s okay if you didn’t come out stronger from everything you may have gone through, but now is the time to make positive New Year’s resolutions.
I’m talking help-you-to-Heaven life changes.
Here are ten things everyone can do better in the New Year, and if you can only work on one at a time, that’s enough. Pick one a week and rotate them all year. Whatever you need to do to make this a year of spiritual and personal growth.
10 Things Everyone Can Do Better This Year
1. Be grateful for the past year, even if it’s for knowing you never want a repeat.
Make a list of the hardest things you’ve been through and cross each off when you can write something good God made from those struggles.
2. STOP COMPLAINING.
A more theological way of saying this would be: Embrace the cross with enthusiasm! But to avoid any confusion, what I mean is to stop complaining. No gossip, no slander, no ingratitude. Just shush yourself and ask how you can solve or deal with whatever it is you would be complaining about in these “unprecedented times.”
I’ve heard good Catholic people say that we should just let everyone who is weak die of corona… and it doesn’t matter what you think about masks and lockdowns and herd immunity and vaccines, you shouldn’t say uncharitable things. Period. Comfort the sick. Care for the most vulnerable. Do what you think is best—what’s best will never be cruel or neglectful.
4. Pray better.
You’ve had plenty of “alone” time. What’d you do with it? Waste your time on social media? Your life is more important than screens, Facebook likes, and Tiktok videos. In the silence you find putting down your phone, pray—even if it’s just in the bathroom to start.
Okay, you can’t literally always do this, but have you ever felt trapped? Like you didn’t control your life? As if someone else was calling all the shots in your life? Find a way to reach out however you and others are comfortable to those who are isolated.
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, can be with you in any chaos. Don’t try to control what’s happening around you and control yourself. Have a healthy relationship with your emotions. Make positive life choices. Go to confession. Forgive. Earn back trust. Smile at a stranger, even if that means drawing a smile on your mask or doing some silly dance in the car for those around you at a stoplight.
7. Write letters.
Sure, you can “google” an old friend, but that’s kind of creepy. Just call them. Write that letter. Reconnect. Go on a genealogy website and find long, lost relatives with whom you can become pen pals. Write to your civic leaders to let them know your opinion and gratitude for what they do, or at least respect for their office. While we’re at it, how’s your bishop doing?
8. Get a real hobby.
What do you do? I’m not talking about your career, unless you are blessed to work in your field of passion. I’m talking about a real hobby. Do you make things with your hands? Do you grow plants and share the fruit of your labor? Ora et labora, my friends. We were created to work, to produce, to protect. Do good with your time, words, thoughts, and body—it is good for your soul and definitely clears the mind from the fog it might be trapped inside.
Imagine being a priest, living alone, or with a very limited amount of people in the rectory. Seriously, you haven’t called him? Sent him a care package? Written a kind email or letter? I’ve heard more about priests these days receiving “hate mail” full of other people’s opinions on liturgy and social distancing than anything about gratitude for the vocation of priesthood, celebrating the Sacraments however it may look and whatever it takes to baptize, absolve, marry, provide Communion, and everything else our souls thirst for! Do you hastily walk by him after Mass? Can’t you spare a minute to check on him who has given his life to the Church and God to serve you?
Because of politics or the pandemic, some may feel even more isolated than we may think. A person disagreeing with family or is not allowed visits still needs family. Society falls apart without family, but we can still stay connected with those we love and connect with others in need of company. For instance, our daily Mass crew is our own little “faith family” in the bigger picture of our whole Church, community, and biological/legal families or households. We all find each other at Mass and at whatever distance we are comfortable with, we chat or hug or wave or simply gain the human interaction we need to give and receive.
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