Last year was very difficult for me because of my school schedule, and much of my prayer life went neglected. Before, I had kept a fruitful schedule of prayer and reading which I loved, and in 2015 I hope to reestablish it. It will be difficult, but necessary. My New Year’s Resolutions are as follows:
1. I will pray the Rosary each day. The Rosary is the most beneficial yet most neglected part of my daily routine. When I began my journey back to Christ and his Church, the first prayer I learned was the Rosary. At that time, I was struggling with deep depression and impurity. I wanted to improve, but it seemed like every effort was useless. My first night of RCIA, I was given a simple plastic Rosary and taught the prayers and Mysteries. That night, I went back home and prayed. I immediately felt peace, and over the next week I saw progress in my fight against depression and impurity. I have always loved Mother Mary since then, and I hope to have a deeper devotion to her this year.
2. I will pray the Divine Office regularly. During RCIA I was invited to Adoration and Evening Prayer by a good friend. I had never been to Adoration and I so desperately wanted to go, so off we went. I didn’t know what the Divine Office was, and the little red books were so confusing! Still, I loved praying the Psalms. I found the prayers online and began to pray the Office at school. Praying the Psalms each day helps remind me of God and his presence in my life. I’ve already started praying the Office over Winter Break, and I hope to continue praying it during the school year.
3. I will read Scripture and meditate each day. When I saw St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life in the bookstore, I picked up a copy. I had no idea how much this little book would change me. I had heard of mental prayer from one of my RCIA teachers, who was a Secular Carmelite, and from reading about my patron Thérèse, but I always found mental prayer hard. The Introduction gives a wonderful guide to mental prayer. I started praying slowly, until I spent an hour each day with Jesus. Last year, I was so frazzled that I seldom meditated. It left such a hole in my heart, and I missed Jesus’ closeness and peace. This year I want to strengthen my relationship with him through daily prayer and reading.
4. I will better learn how to defend my faith. I attend a predominately Protestant Christian school. While I know enough about my faith to explain it, I don’t always know how to respond when my friends bring up “problems” with Catholicism. This year I hope to learn more, and to “always be prepared to make a defense…for the hope” (1 Pet. 3:15) I have. I hear Scripture read often, so I can remember the words of a passage and the book it’s in, but I want to memorize the chapters and verses for my Protestant friends as well. I also hope to read the Catechism, using this resource.
This year I want to say with Samuel, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:10). I can’t expect to hear the Lord speaking to me if I don’t listen to him in prayer! It will be an adjustment, but with the help of the Holy Spirit I know I will make progress. As we each start the New Year with new habits, let’s remember these words of St. Francis de Sales:
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set out in remedying them. Every day begin the task anew. — from Introduction to the Devout Life
May the Lord guide you in your own challenges this 2015, and bring you safely to another year. If you need help making resolutions, please read this lovely post from my all-time favorite blog, Shameless Popery.
In His Sacred Heart,