And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12
For years, as I have consulted businesses all over the United States. When a businessman says that he wants to maintain the status quo, I remind him of this simple reality; you can only coast in one direction!
In business, you are on one of two trajectories, getting better, or getting worse. Either you are growing or you are contracting. Either you are eating or being eaten! There is no staying right where you are now, no status quo.
The same is true of our spiritual life. We are either on one of two trajectories, growing in our relationship with God, or frankly, we are growing away from God (toward the devil). As we are reminded in the book of Romans; we are either moving toward darkness or moving toward the light.
Daniel Burke, in his book “Navigating the Interior Life” makes this point in a profound way. We are either headed for heaven or headed for hell!
Most of us eat three meals a day to sustain us and keep us alive, physically. But for most people, an hour, once a week at church, is the extent of what they are doing to fuel their spiritual lives. If our spiritual lives are to grow, then we need to do more.
So what are you doing to change the trajectory of your soul? What are you doing to throw off darkness and put on light?
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. –G.K. Chesterton
Let me suggest that in addition to same old New Year’s resolutions about losing weight, working out more frequently, or stopping smoking, we add some spiritual resolutions as well.
Here are a few ideas of what you might resolve;
- Pray the Morning offering. This simple prayer of offering up to God all that I may encounter today is a beautiful way to start. Here is the prayer;
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.
2. Attend mass and receive the Eucharist more frequently. Try adding a mass during the week to your schedule. It is difficult for those people who are working, but many churches have and early morning or noon mass that you can add to your calendar to attend every week, just as if it were an appointment.
3. Spend an hour each week in Eucharistic Adoration. If you are lucky enough, as I, am to be in a parish with perpetual adoration, try making a commitment to an hour each week. For some people who travel, as I often do, a set hour might be impossible, but there is always an hour each week you can get away to spend an hour with our Lord.
4. Spend a little time each day with the word of God. The Bible is an excellent source for spiritual growth. Read a small section from the New Testament and reflect on what you have read for a few minutes.
6. Pray the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Try to pray the Rosary every day, if you can’t, then the Chaplet of Divine Mercy might be a great devotional to add to your daily routine. It takes on five minutes and you can do it easily on your drive to work.
7. Examine Your Conscience at the end of the day. A great idea is to take a few minutes before you go to sleep to review your day. Recall the things you did that were positive and bringing you to a closer relationship with our Lord. And, consider those things that happened or your reactions to thing that happened that day that weren’t positive and spend a few seconds reflecting on what you might do differently tomorrow. I promise you’ll sleep better!
I like to take some time during the Christmas and New Years season to plan out my goals for the New Year. I don’t call them resolutions, but goals. I make sure that I always include my spiritual goals on my list. I write them down. I keep them with me.
Do this and you’ll be putting on the armor of light and changing the trajectory of your soul in a positive way. Remember, you can only coast in one direction!
I hope you have a healthy and blessed New Year.