It’s the last day of the year, and we wanted to make sure to end 2017 with Confession and Mass. Experiencing the cleansing mercy of absolution, closely followed by the reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist, was just what my soul needed on a day when the temperature outside is dropping like a rock and the hours of the year dwindle to a close. We went to one of the only parishes in Houston that offers Reconciliation on Sundays – Our Lady of Czestochowa on Blalock. Would you just look at this gorgeousness?
Without further ado, here’s where my head’s at we venture in 2018, knowing full well that the Lord is the one in charge and there’s no telling where I will actually be 365 days from now.
St. Justin Martyr, as selected by Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Name Generator. This is a fun tradition we picked up a few years ago. Before clicking the button to select the saint, we pray briefly to ask God to choose a saint for us that will intercede for us for the year and help us grow in holiness. I don’t know much about St. Justin, but I’ve already learned he was an early Church Father. Not many of his writings still exist, but this year I’d like to read what I can about him, and try to track down some of his writings. There’s also a parish here in West Houston named for him, so I think I’ll make a pilgrimage to visit there.
A few years back, I quit making complicated, overwhelming resolutions and instead chose a word to focus on for the year. It can be kinda challenging to come up with this word. Sometimes, I just now what it’s supposed to be. Sometimes, I scramble, like last year. This year, though, I heard the Lord whisper to me in the recesses of my heart as I knelt after Communion on the 4th Sunday of Advent. In 2017, Jesus made it clear to me in my post-Communion reflections that my tongue that enthrones Him during Mass is the same tongue that most deeply offends Him with the words I speak. Words of gossip, slander, acidity, unkindness, untruth, and anger. So many words. This year, my word for 2018 is “words.” I want to be mindful of the words I speak and type, using them as tools to reach out and build others up, not tear them down. The fact that St. Justin Martyr is the patron of philosophers, apologists, and lecturers is interesting to me too – all of these roles, at their very essence, are based on words.
Scripture & Virtue
New this year, I wanted to select a Scripture verse for the year. Since I want to focus on portion control and healing my disordered relationship with food, I selected 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” My hope is that by approaching eating as an opportunity to give glory to God by eating for the purpose of eating to nurture my body, I will be less inclined to squander that opportunity. Hand in hand with my Scripture verse, I chose to work on the virtue of temperance this year. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1809) reinforces this, declaring that
“the temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.”72 Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.”73 In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.”74
The rest of my 2018 goals are pretty simple:
- Adoration at least once a month
- Confession at least once a month
- Retreat once this year
- Institute a weekly family Rosary, and pray the Rosary myself daily as often as possible
- Read at least 24 books this year. This year, I want to focus less on reading popular, modern works of spiritual direction and more on the lives and writings of the saints. These have fallen by the wayside for me, so this year I declare “the year of the Saints,” and my reading choices should reflect that. So, twelve of my 24 books must be saint-related. So far on the list: reread Louis deWohl’s Lay Siege to Heaven (about St. Catherine of Siena) and finish reading St. Faustina’s diary.
- Participate in Young Living’s Slique in 60 Challenge, to keep me accountable and on track for the first two months of the year. If you’re interested in joining, let me know!
- Exercise at least three times a week. I’m loving the variety at Fitness Blender. Also, they have a customizable calendar feature for you to plan which workouts you want to do each day, all varying in intensity and length. My favorite feature? It’s free!
- Complete Couch to 5k
- Run my first 5k, start to finish, without walking at all
- Budget, budget, budget – give every dollar a name before it’s spent
- Pay off my credit cards
- Meal planning to avoid falling into the temptation to just order pizza or eating quesadillas for the billionth time
- Spend no more than $50 total on eating out for the month
So what are your plans, goals, and dreams for 2018? Let me know. Let’s encourage each other together!