Here are tips to make that happen in 2021!
The two fundamentals most lacking in the spiritual lives of most people today, I believe, are curiosity and imagination.
How can we grow in relationship with God if we are not the least bit curious about who he is and what he’s about?
Inquisitiveness concerning this most mysterious person(s), God, prompts sincere attentiveness in prayer and at Mass, but it also motivates the searching of the Scriptures, Catechism, and other resources to engage the divine adventure.
What we have read and heard we store in our memory, which becomes a holy repository of sacred words and saving stories. The imagination, then, re-invigorates them so that we might relive them, hearing the words of God spoken to us and seeing Jesus’ actions performed on us in our mind’s eye. The point is, we are no less privileged, no less with Jesus than his Disciples then because that is what we are now.
First, be curious and use your imagination to pray and study. If you are, you will fill your mind and heart with God’s holy words and deeds spoken and done to you.
Next, live the liturgical calendar. Firmly resolve to observe the liturgical season you are in. If Advent, display an Advent wreath in a prominent place in your home, lighting the candles during prayer and meals. If Lent, then fast, pray, confess, and give. If Christmas, celebrate the Christmas Octave with games and festivities. Commemorate saint’s feast days and you and your family’s baptismal anniversaries with a special meal and recounting of the event.
We are baptized into the life of Christ, so that’s how we mark our lives and our time; and it’s always best to invite others to join the party.
Consequently (and third), be hospitable. People are so busy these days, connections can be lost if not intentionally maintained. So, connect with friends, family, fellow parishioners, or maybe even your priest.
Finally, consider what form of self-denial you’d like to take on this year. This is sometimes called asceticism or penance. Maybe you’d like to pray an extra 15 minutes a day, so wake up 15 minutes earlier. Maybe you’ve always wanted to pray the rosary daily. Or perhaps you’d like to fast from one meal a week or try going to confession monthly. Whatever it may be, put it on your calendar and make the sacrifice to do it. It will bear fruit in your spiritual life.
May God bless you and your resolutions in this new year of grace!
This column originally appeared in Catholic Times in 2020 and was written by Father Seth Brown, former pastor at St. Mary Parish in New Berlin, Sacred Heart Parish in Franklin, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Alexander, and St. Sebastian Parish in Waverly.