Want to Change the World? Grow in Holiness
Culture of Life column
Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions — exercise; read a book a week; learn a language or improve our career. How about, this year, we resolve to do something that can change the world?
This year, resolve to grow in holiness, deepen your relationship with Christ and make your faith life something beyond whatever it is today.
There are several methods for beginning this miraculous journey.
1) Pray the Rosary. When you’re stuck in traffic, while you drink your morning coffee, when you’re getting in three miles at the gym or waiting to pick up your kids from practice, get out your rosary. If it feels too intimidating to do the 60-plus prayers (depending upon whether you include the Fatima prayer or not) at one time, begin by praying a single decade. Offer a petition with each Hail Mary for someone, be it the Pope’s intentions or a call for priestly vocations, your children, your marriage or those you know to be suffering. The decade will speed by, and you will discover you will run out of Hail Marys before you run out of people for whom you wish to pray.
2) Go to adoration. Find a church that hosts perpetual adoration and schedule an hour a week to spend time with the Lord and allow yourself to be steeped in his presence. It is good practice for heaven to begin the work of adoring him now.
3) Discover God’s word. These days, the daily readings can show up in your email, along with a reflection homily. There are several devotionals, both online and in print, that provide a portable means of reading what God wants to give us every day.
Perhaps this year you will place the Bible by your bedside and let 365 days of God’s grace be revealed to you.
4) Provide deliberate beauty. We’re called to be salt and light in a tasteless, dark world. If you make a meal, the saying goes, you eat with your eyes first. Make meals with a sense of helping your family discover something of beauty. Make use of fresh flowers. This is not about making your home magazine-ready; it is about giving your family the pleasure and joy of beauty in their everyday lives. Make your home warm and welcoming, and it will be beautiful, no matter the color or the decor.
5) Seek out the sacraments — often. We can feast on the Lord daily, and confession is there to keep us close to Jesus. Sundays and holy days are the minimum, but we won’t grow in skill or capability if all we give is the least possible. So add a sacrament to your week.
How can this change the world? What person who comes closer to Jesus is not radically changed? What person who encounters Christ does not then begin to bring about the kingdom of God in his or her life as a result? God always gives more than we expect and is waiting to pour down graces for us to use in ministering to everyone who does not yet know the great joy of knowing the Lord.
Why should you do this? Look at the world: It is broken, bruised, burning, hurting, hungry and raging. It cries out for healing, kindness, cleansing, forgiveness, feeding and peace. It is starved for kind hearts with honest words and willing hands. What a year 2015 can be if we just begin — and then the next day and the next, begin again.
Sherry Antonetti writes from Gaithersburg, Maryland.