Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for the "Year of Faith"

On Oct. 11, 2012, Pope Benedict initiated the “Year of Faith.” It will conclude on the Solemnity of Christ King in November, 2013.  This year is significant since it marks both the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Benedict wrote an apostolic letter, Porta Fidei, in which he invites all of us to make a concentrated effort toward renewing its Faith in the Lord Jesus - in terms of personal union with Him and knowledge of His person and the Faith He imparted to the Church.

Both the Pope and the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) made suggestions for how we can best take advantage of this year.  On "St. Joseph Radio Presents..." (airing on EWTN and Sirius Satellite at 1p.m. and 11p.m. ET on Saturday, 1/5/13) Dr. Kevin Vost and I shared their main points and offered practical New Year's Resolutions for how we can put them into practice.  See what you think:

So far as I can detect, a unifying principle that seems to run through Benedict and the CDF's suggestions is to renew the faith of the entire Church through the renewal and reinvigoration of each individual member's relationship with Christ Jesus and that means putting ourselves into direct contact with Him.  I would suggest making a resolution to place yourself before Jesus in prayer at the beginning, middle, and end of each day.  Everything thing else the Pope and Bishops, or Dr. Vost and I, suggest can be placed into that matrix of at least three times of daily prayer.

Feed ourselves on the Bread of Life, Jesus present in the Eucharist, and the Word of God, Scripture and Tradition. 
  1. Make Mass the most important part of the weekend.  Resolve to speak about it as a privelege instead of a chore (this has a big impact on little ears). 
  2. Resolve to unite yourself with Jesus in the Eucharist one additional day each week. (Look at your morning schedule, locate the day it would be easiest, and put it on your calendar.)
  3. Make a visit to Jesus in the tabernacle or Eucharistic adoration chapel when you are out running errands or on the way home from work.

Read Scripture everyday by ...
  1. Having the Gospel reading used at Mass delivered via email each morning.  (Sign up at Daily Gospel) 
  2. Have the Bible waiting for you on either the breakfast table for when you get up, or your nightstand for when you go to bed, and spend five minutes reading from the Gospels.  It's a daily opportunity for you to see and hear Jesus.  (Might I suggest a Bible with excellent study notes, such as the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament
  3. When you exercise, either read the Bible or listen to it read aloud on your iPod.
  4. Listen to an audio version of the Bible as you drive.

Memorize the Creed and make its recitation part of how you begin each day.
  1. Incorporate it into your morning workout, strengthening your soul and mind along with your body.
  2. Make it part of your morning shower or dressing routine, getting "your head on straight" before you head out into the world

Study the Catechism of the Catholic Church this year.
  1. Portions of the Catechism can be emailed to you each day (Sign up here)
  2. As with the Bible, keep the Catechism on your breakfast table or nightstand.   (Just three pages a day and you should have it completed within the year!)
  3. Read the Catechism online for free.  (Here it is, all indexed with hyperlinks.)

Be inspired by how the saints lived and explained the Faith (by reading books written either by, or about them).
  1. There are hundreds of these books that you can read on the internet or download for free.  (Check out the Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
  2. Join Dr. Vost and I for our "radio book club" over this next year as we pick a different Christian classic to read and then discuss on-air once a month.  Our first book will be St. Patrick's Confession, and you can call in to discuss it with us on-air March 16th at 1:30 p.m., ET - (855) 447-6000.
Cultivate a deeper relationship with Jesus by seeing him through the eyes and heart of His Mother, Mary.  Pray the Rosary (Creed & Scripture) daily.
  1. Make it part of your morning drive to or from work.
  2. Take 15 min. to pray it with your family after dinner.
  3. Incorporate it into your workouts.  Peggy Bowes has developed an entire plan to help you - The Rosary Workout
Share the Faith with others!
When your co-workers ask you what you did last night or over the weekend, simply honestly share what you have been studying or what Christian activities you participated in.

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