Wow, January 2019 – time again to make those New Year’s resolutions and probably for many of us, these are top on your list: lose weight, do better financially, take more vacations, get a better job, get organized, and spend more time with family. I’m sure all of us have had one of those on our list and in reality, how long do we really keep them (if we even start them at all)?
If you’re the type of person that has a hard time keeping these typical New Year’s resolutions, how about trying something new this year? How about making resolutions that will make you become a better Catholic in 2019? If we try to become better Catholics, in return we will become better individuals and be able to grow in our faith in this upcoming year. Surprisingly, none of these on this list are difficult at all. Let’s take a look at them.
Since our smart phone is at our hip or in our hands 24/7, this is the best place to start. Download Catholic apps such as prayer, Catholic radio stations, Bibles, church locations for mass times, Catholic podcasts that talk about the faith, etc. Keep theses apps on the first page of your phone, maybe in one folder so you can easily access them and in your spare time you can make use of those apps to learn more about your faith.
Once you’ve downloaded the app that tells you what time masses are, you can start attending one extra mass during the week; you will be surprised how many churches offer masses before you go to work. Shrine of the Little Flower has 6:00 am daily mass followed by confession every day. Our Chaldean Churches and ECRC all offer daily masses. You will receive many graces and blessings just by doing that one thing.
Consider going to confession once a month. Yes, I know it’s difficult to go to confession, but once you start going, maybe once a month and you notice you are committing less and less mortal sins, you will want to keep going to keep your soul clean and in good standing with God.
Almost every parish and ECRC offer some type of bible study or faith class. Attend one and read your bible daily. The bible is the word of God and it is alive and active in our lives today, but you must allow the word of God to be active in your life. Read it and live it.
Daily prayer is a must and the best way to pray is the daily rosary. The prayer of the rosary is the most asked for in the Message of Fatima. The Blessed Virgin Mary requested in all of her six apparitions to pray the rosary every day. Every pope and saint in the Catholic church had a devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary and the rosary. We must remember that our ultimate worship and praise is to God and God alone, but the Mother of Jesus, the second person of the blessed Trinity will lead us to her son if we are lost.
If you are like most Catholics and only go to church on Sundays just to fulfill your obligation, you are missing out on many beautiful teachings of the faith. Read a book about the faith, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church, books by popes or saints, anything that will help become a better Catholic. Go on Amazon and type in “Catholic books” and you will find many books about the faith for a reasonable price. Once you start reading about the faith, you will not want to stop.
Find a Patron Saint and learn about their lives. Saints are a valuable resource to us that have been given to us by God. They can help you in many aspects of your life. We are able to relate to the Saints because many of them lived lives like ours and were able to achieve heaven as we can also achieve heaven. They give us hope in Christ.
Finally, I want to share with you something that changed my life forever; Eucharistic Adoration. I started with 15 minutes a week and fell in love with being in the presence of our Lord. It did not take me long to work up to an hour a week to 3-4 days a week. Jesus is waiting there for us to come pour out our hearts to him. To praise and adore him as did the Magi when he was just a baby. Jesus wants us to spend at least an hour with him a week “So, could you not watch with me one hour?” (Mt 26:40). For me, the best part of my week besides mass is holy hour. Find a chapel near you that is open 24 hours and go and spend some time with Jesus.
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we all want to become better people and do better things in life, but it all must start with God. He sent us his son because He loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus is alive, make him a part of this amazing year that is coming up in your lives, get to know him, love him, pray to him, follow him, but most of all let him be the center of your life in 2019.
Jeff Kassab has a BA in Pastoral Theology and is on the board of the Eastern Catholic Re-evangelization Center (ECRC).