Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009: Resolutions for the New Year Ahead!

It’s that time of year again. Just as the year begins to wind down toward it’s end, thoughts turn to resolutions for next year – how can we improve … do better … weigh less … etc.

When I was little, resolutions were like the “what did you do this summer” – resolutions became a 500 word essay we had to write every year just after getting back from Christmas break. The resolutions were written either to look good in front of the teacher or to be sassy (think Lenten sacrifices for kids that include giving up spinach, avoiding reading books, etc).

As I matured (that is, as I got into high school and undergrad), resolutions began taking on meaning but they were all “me” focused – looking better by losing weight, getting more sleep, eating right or just generally externals that would make me superficially better. Why look deeper – wasn’t it all about me anyway and how people saw me?

Now that I have children – especially since we started home-educating – my resolutions have gotten more focused and have more meaning. I try and think how we can improve our family internally and spiritually. I really try and devise ways of making ME better internally and spiritually. I take much more time on formulating these resolutions – even started thinking about resolutions back in November this year. I like to post them on this blog, not as the 500-word essay I have to still do but so I can try to keep us more accountable for what we say we’re going to do and what we actually do. [Here is a great reason for blogging – when I write something on here, I feel accountable and responsible for making things happen, for doing what I said I would do, for making things work.]

I also try to synthesize our resolutions down to a word or two.

This year – our family resolution will be PEACE; peace that can only be acquired by re-ordering our priorities and thus our lives and home.

This year St. Athanasius Academy will focus on setting our priorities to be: God, family, school and all else.

In other words, we’ll try to focus our family on going to daily Mass as often as practicable, living the liturgical year (with all Her feasts, fasts and festivities), and generally serving God first and foremost.

Than the next priority would be peace in the family – joy and love with a true reduction in bickering and sarcastic comments. We’ll work more toward focusing on our family – more family game nights, reading together, movies, etc. We’ll go on weekly outings. During the day, we’ll focus on helping each other – with the older ones helping the younger ones with school work, with playing games, with being a family. We’ll work on getting outside every day to enjoy God’s creation, regardless of the weather – something I am not good about but really want to change.

Our next priority than becomes our school-time. We need to refocus our time and energy so our days are more organized for doing the school work we need to get done. Reading, writing and math will be the focus … but with all the other subjects included. Focus will be not only on attaining the proper skills and subject mastery but also in fluency and ability to tell and live the story of our Faith, our History, our world.

Our special prayer, that we will add to our evening meal prayer, will be:
Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Peace
Glorious Queen of Peace
grant us peace in our hearts,
harmony in our families
and concord throughout the world.

Immaculate Mother,
as patroness of our beloved country,
watch over us and protect us with your motherly love.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

A book that will help us – especially me – in finding and maintaining peace is, oddly enough, titled Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Phillipe. This is one of those tiny volumes (only a slim paperback) that packs a punch in every paragraph. Fr. Phillipe gently and lovingly explains why many of us are restless and not at peace; how to re-order our lives to ensure that we obtain peace, and finally, how to retain the peace we find, primarily through living the lives God wants us to live.

My personal resolution this year is Humility:
  • Humility instead of tearing down others through gossip or conjecture.
  • Humility by striving to put others first.
  • Humility to joyfully accept God’s will for me and mine.
  • Humility to put my own wants and desires after all else.

Here is the prayer I’ll be praying at least once per day:

Litany of Humility
by Cardinal Merry del Val
(1865-1930; Cardinal Secretary of State under St. Pius X).

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.

In addition, I’ll be praying this short prayer throughout my day:

Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner
Lord, Jesus Christ, help me to joyfully embrace the Will of the Father
Lord, Jesus Christ, help me be a living example of faith, hope and love

In today’s Magnificat, there is a reflection from Pope Benedict XVI, that sums up my need to do resolutions and try to keep them:
A new beginning is something precious; it brings hope and possibilities as yet undisclosed…. we can use the time of reflection in order to stand aside and widen our vision, thus gaining inner freedom and a patient readiness to move on again.
Blessings and prayers for
a healthy, holy and happy 2009!

1 comment:

Leonie said...

Thank you, Mary. Very inspiring.