Discover the beauty of making the best New Year Resolution this year
As we stand on the cusp of a new year, the air is filled with anticipation, hope, and the promise of a fresh start. For many, this transition symbolizes a chance to leave behind the burdens of the past and embark on a journey of growth and healing. I, too, have walked this path—navigating the complexities of life, finding solace, strength, and joy through the transformative grace of prayer.
A few years ago, I found myself grappling with the remnants of past pains that seemed to weigh heavily on my heart. The scars of disappointments and losses had etched their marks, leaving me yearning for a fresh start. It was in this introspective moment that I made a resolution—a resolution that would set me on a path toward grace and healing.
As the clock struck midnight, I resolved to dedicate myself to the transformative power of prayer. This resolution was not borne out of a fleeting desire for change but from a deep-seated need to mend the broken pieces of my soul and find the joy that had eluded me for far too long.
In the early days of the new year, the familiar ache of my past pains made the journey of keeping my resolution a challenging one. Distractions and doubts attempted to derail my commitment, but I clung to my faith and determination. Through persistent prayer, I began to experience subtle shifts within me—whispers of grace touching my wounded spirit.
As the months unfolded, the graces poured into my life like a gentle rain, soothing the parched land of my heart. I found the courage to forgive those who had wronged me and understand that forgiveness was a gift I gave myself. It was liberating, a divine grace that released me from the shackles of bitterness, allowing me to embrace love and joy.
The path wasn’t without its thorns, but the grace of prayer infused me with the strength and resilience to persevere. I realized that this journey was not merely about sticking to a resolution—it was about embracing a life illuminated by the radiant light of faith.
Consistency in prayer played a pivotal role in my journey of healing and renewal. I often found it challenging to maintain this new habit amidst life’s struggles and distractions. Here are a few tips that helped me stay on track and keep my resolution alive:
Today, as I reflect on that pivotal year and the subsequent ones, I am filled with a profound sense of joy. The pain that once held me captive has transformed into a wellspring of strength, compassion, and a deepened relationship with God. The scars remain, but they are now a testament to the grace that brought me through the storm.
As we stand on the threshold of a new year, I encourage you to embrace the power of prayer in your life. It’s a beacon of hope, a source of comfort, and a lifeline during the darkest of times. Whatever your resolutions may be, may they be steeped in prayer and nourished by faith, knowing that God’s grace will guide you every step of the way.
Sharon Justine is a devoted practicing Catholic and serves at Shalom World. She lives with her family in Bangalore, India.
I was driving home when I noticed two street signs that seemed incongruous. The train station and shop signs were pointing in the wrong directions; the exact opposite ones, to be precise. If I were a tourist, a traveler who is not familiar with the suburb, I would have followed the sign and got lost. I guess somebody had moved the street signs as a prank or even as an intentional deception. In our walk with the Lord too, we need to know who is navigating us—God, ourselves, others, or the evil one. If we are not aware of our surroundings, we can easily get lost or misled. This Lent, whose voice will we listen to? Judas…the crowd…Pilate…or Jesus…?
To be good at anything, we have to put time, effort, and practice into it. The same applies to our preparation for eternity. How well are we going to do at the end of year exams if we have put little or no time towards studying during the year? Similarly, how well will we stand up on judgment day when we are held accountable for our lives? In our preparation period on earth for eternity, how much of our life was spent in prayer, good works, and sacrifice? Our Lord paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but we have to play our part. As He has graciously allowed us to be part of that sacrifice, let us not waste this valuable opportunity. He, through Calvary, has given us a chance to be part of His redemption, to be part of His sanctity, consequently allowing mere humans to be called into sainthood. What a privilege! As my mother would always remind us, children, this life of ours on earth, short or long, is but a preparation period, the springboard to eternity. How we fare in the structure of eternal life will be determined not only by Jesus’ death and resurrection, but by every thought, word, and deed we perpetrated during the time we spent on earth.
If your sacrifices are dragging you down and causing you to dread Lent—take heart. Our Lady at Fatima gave the children a prayer which offers compelling reasons to sacrifice. Her words may help dispel your Lenten dreads. The prayer begins: “O Jesus, it (this sacrifice I am making) is for love of You.” Why not borrow those words and make them your own? Telling Jesus you are doing this hard Lenten thing for love of Him may remind you why you are denying yourself in the first place: you are making room in your heart, so that you may love Him more. Further, the prayer helped the children offer their sacrifices for “the conversion of sinners.” You can do the same. When you make a Lenten sacrifice, offer it for a specific loved one who is living far from God. “O Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of......” Praying in Our Lady’s words will not lessen the difficulty of your sacrifices; but, because it sweetens them with love for Jesus and for lost souls, her words may truly help to dispel your Lenten dreads.
I am not one of those holy souls who look forward to Lent. However, I do have a few friends and family members who do. So, I try to take note of why that is the case. Just last week, my mom mentioned she was looking forward to Lent so she could invite her band, who are all senior citizens, to her parish fish fry. She said she’s really looking forward to it, since most of them aren’t Catholic but have mentioned that they like attending fish fries. After enjoying their traditional fish and chips, my mom is planning on reserving a room in the parish hall so the band can make music together after dinner. They call themselves the Silver Foxes and often visit nursing homes together to spread a little joy. My mom is a joyful evangelist, even at age 80! And she has unlocked the secret that Lent is for more than making penitential acts, but it is a time for growing the Kingdom of God by growing the Body of Christ.
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