Happy 2015, y’all!
It’s a new year. A chance to start over. A chance to begin anew. A chance to experience the love and mercy of Our Lord more fully in our lives and for us to trust in Him with reckless abandon.
Last year, I decided to forgo my annual (lousy, fruitless, lame?) tradition of making numerous New Year’s resolutions I was ill-equipped to keep, and instead select a word for the year. This word would be something I strove to seek, to live out, and to make a part of my daily existence. The hope for me was that by keeping my focus broad, I would be able to seek out multitudes of ways throughout the year to fulfill this goal. And it worked. The word for 2014 was “Quiet.” My life had become too loud, too busy, and filled with too much Noise. Not just noise, but Noise. Screwtape said it best when he praised Noise and its effects:
“Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end.”
Yikes. It makes sense, doesn’t it, that the Enemy would love to drown out the voice of the Lord, often manifest to us by way of a whisper, a passage in Scripture, or a silent thought weighing on our hearts? 2014 was the year to learn to turn off the Noise, to avoid distraction, and to “be still, and know that [He is] God.” With His grace, I was able to cultivate pockets of quiet and serenity; focus on gratitude with more clarity; and pray more often and with more dedication. I signed up for a weekly Holy Hour. I turned off the radio in my vehicle. We kept the TV mostly off. More quiet, less distraction. More God, less me.
This year, I have vacillated between two words for 2015 – prudence and connect. I have struggled to choose the right word for me, for this year, and after weighing the merits of each, I have settled on prudence. It is my hope that by exercising prudence, the connections I long for will naturally follow. Let’s take a look at prudence:
“The quality of being prudent.” “Prudent” is defined as “acting with and showing care and thought for the future.” This. I would like to try to be more prudent in all areas of my life. Prudent in the time I spend on social media, or staring at glowing screens. Prudent in the amount and types of foods that I eat. Prudent in my time management, with less procrastination, and more of being fully present in the moment. Prudent in what I say about people and ideas. Prudent in dress, thought, and habit.
From this prudence, this deliberate act of being wise, I’d like to connect more fully in my relationships – with God, with my family, with my friends, and with my community. To take the time to discern where to spend my time, talent, and treasure, and to utilize each in strengthening connections with the people, places, and things that I hold dear.
I couldn’t help but notice that the graph showing the “use over time” for the word “prudence” is a reflection of society’s declining esteem of virtues in general. Whereas the pursuit of true virtues such as prudence and charity were once considered the foundation of character formation, today false virtues of being “outspoken” and having “tolerance” are considered to be attributes of a “good person.”
**definitions and screenshots courtesy of Google, access 01 January, 2015
Just an observation. Just sayin’. Anyway, prudence.
Another fun tradition I’ve enjoyed over the past few years, first introduced to me by Allison of Totus Tuus, is the idea of picking a patron saint for the new year. Or, rather the idea that the saint picks you! This is our fourth year to have a patron for the family for a particular year, and we have loved learning more about our saints and asking their intercession throughout the year. Our saints have picked us as follows:
- 2012: St. Teresa of Avila
- 2013: St. Thomas the Apostle
- 2014: St. Sebastian
On New Year’s Eve this year and last, we have enjoyed using Jen Fulwiler’s Saint Generator to find out whom our saint will be for the coming year. Last night was no exception! Our saint for 2015 is…drumroll, please…St. Therese the Little Flower! She is an especially wonderful saint for our family, as she is the patron of our youngest and my confirmation saint 🙂 I felt such immense comfort and peace at seeing her name for this year. May our 2015 be the year of her showering many roses upon our family! We love you, St. Therese.
How about you? Have you chosen some resolutions or a word for 2015? How about a patron saint? I’d love to hear all about your plans for the new year. May God richly bless you and shower you with abundant grace this year.