Each year people firmly believe that this will be the year – the year they lose weight, the year they make more of an impression at work, the year something is better than the previous. But how many of us make New Year’s resolutions to follow Christ?
New Year resolutions are popular near the beginning and end of each year, but very few people actually dedicate themselves to following their new proposals.
Though it is difficult to change habits or incorporate new ones, there are certain things all Catholics should aspire to each and every day of their lives.
Here are Catholic Online’s top five resolutions every Catholic should make every single year:
5. Educate yourself
Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise listen and learn yet more, and a person of discernment will acquire the art of guidance.”
Educating yourself can mean you go back to school, delve deeper in The Holy Scriptures or simply doing a little research online to better understand what is happening around the world and why.
Understanding the world, even its horrors, can help you understand what you need to pray for, and for some it can open the door to a ministry you didn’t even know you were meant to enter.
This year, please consider learning about the Syrian war, Yazidi slaves, displaced migrants and what being a Muslim is really about, not just what tabloids claim.
4. Learn to listen
Listening and patience go hand-in-hand. Learning to listen, rather than merely being present, can make a world of difference both to you and the person or people you are talking to.
Note that the art of listening is not limited to the people around you. God speaks to us every day, but how many of us can say that we have the ears to listen? Listening to God can be difficult, particularly when you are in desperate need of answers.
James 1:19 helps us understand what listening means. “Remember this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to human anger…”
A good way to practice listening to God is to sit in a quiet place. Ask God to help you be more open to what He has to say, and ask for the patience to actively listen to those around you.
Bonus: Putting down electronics and looking people in the eye helps you become a better listener.
3. Be generous
This is not limited to money! Remember, when we offer to help people pack for a move, practice for a speech, listen to their worries or feed the hungry, we are being generous and mirroring Christ’s heart.
Think of 1 John 3:17, “If anyone is well-off in worldly possessions and sees his brother in need but closes his heart to him, how can the love of God be remaining in him?”
2. Read the Bible
Recall Hebrews 4:12: “The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgement on secret emotions and thoughts.”
Understanding the Word of God is an important part of being Catholic. The Holy Scriptures are alive, meaning they can move in and through you and can bring power greater than that of a sword. The Scriptures are there so that we can learn from them and be held accountable, even for our “secret emotions and thoughts.”
Remember to read your Bible, participate in Bible studies and know that as you read and understand, you can catch yourself before falling into sin. With awareness comes discernment.
1. Be more like Jesus
We are called to follow Christ’s examples, all of which are clearly outlined in the Bible.
Remember John 8:12, where Jesus says, “…I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life.”
Note that the first three things mimic attributes Jesus Christ has. In knowing about things before we speak ill of them, learning to listen, being generous and by reading God’s Word, we are not only improving our relationship with God, we are also improving our relationship with others.