Happy New Year! You did it! You survived the Christmas Preparation Season! You wrapped up 2018 and you’re facing 2019 with high hopes for a great year. Hopefully, you’re now in full-on Relaxation Mode. Wait a second … why do I see long to-do lists in front of you? Where are your jammies and your cup of hot cocoa? Oh no … I see what happened … You went straight from Christmas Prep to Resolution Mode without stopping at Relaxation Mode first, didn’t you? I’ve seen this before. We’re going to need to get you away from self-help books right now before things get serious.
I know, I know. Everyone is in the New Year’s Resolution frame of mind right now. I get it. After the busy Christmas season and the mountains of Christmas cookies at every corner, I’m feeling the need to eat more vegetables and get more exercise too. But maybe, just maybe, we should dig a little deeper this year. Let’s spend some time this year on resolutions that improve our spiritual health and not just our physical health. And maybe, just maybe, we can do it without getting stressed out.
Today is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The timing of this celebration is perfect for spiritual goal-setting. Mary, as the Mother of God and the First Disciple, always points us to her Son Jesus. So, by starting off the year with Mary leading the way, you’re sure to be pointed in the right direction.
Here are a few ways that Mary can give you some ideas for spiritual New Year’s resolutions. Pick only one at a time though. And don’t feel obligated to stay with only one choice. Mix and match to keep it low-stress and to keep your interest and motivation up. The key is to set a reasonable goal that won’t leave you feeling defeated and discouraged. Pick something that you can do and get an easy win. If you are a regular Rosary-pray-er, try and make it more regular by upping your frequency by a little. But if you’re not someone who prays the Rosary regularly, maybe don’t resolve to pray a Rosary three times a day. That’s all I’m saying.
- Rejoice like Mary. By praying the Magnificat, we can rejoice in God our Savior like Mary does. That’s something we could all do more- rejoice in God.
- Trust like Mary. Mary didn’t fully know God’s plan for her or for Jesus but she knew that God was worthy of her trust. Pray Thomas Merton’s Trust Prayer to help you focus on giving over control of your life to Jesus. Or you can repeat, “Jesus, I trust in You” three times before undertaking any task that requires your trust in God.
- Depend on Mary. Mary is there for us at all times as the handmaid of the Lord. She’s available to journey on our path to salvation with us if we ask her. Pray the Memorare especially in times of need and Mary will send her comfort and will intercede for you with her Son.
- Obey like Mary. If stubbornness is something you struggle with in your spiritual life, follow Mary’s example of obedience by praying her words to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, “Let it be done unto me according to thy word.”
- Be a disciple like Mary. Mary was there to witness all of Jesus’ life including His hidden life and His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary as if you are Mary living these scriptural scenes out before your very eyes. Don’t rush through them, though. Pick a mystery a day or a week to meditate on so that you can go deeply into each scene and its richness.
If you let Mary point your way into 2019, I guarantee that you’ll be much more like her by the time that 2020 rolls around. Happy New Year!
Copyright 2019 Laura B Nelson