It is a very common tradition for people to set personal goals at the beginning of a new year. Some of these common goals focus on changing or adopting new lifestyles, eating healthier or achieving professional advancements. This is not wrong. Often, we do not think about incorporating spiritual goals that foster a deeper sense of unity and purpose in our lives. For our Catholic families, the New Year offers an opportune moment to strengthen our faith and collectively grow closer to God.
Below, I want to offer five simple goals that can help a Catholic family grow in their spiritual life during this new year.
Prioritize Family Prayer Time: The foundation of a Catholic family revolves around prayer. “A family that prays together, stays together” – this famous phrase from the Irish Father Patrick Peyton holds intrinsic truth. As a family, we must seek moments during the week for family prayer, whether attending Mass together, praying the Rosary, or participating in evening prayers. By prioritizing these moments, families create sacred spaces for spiritual reflection and community connection.
Attend Mass Regularly: Regular attendance at the weekly Eucharistic celebrations is the cornerstone of every Catholic family. As a family, we must resolve to prioritize attendance at Sunday Mass and, whenever possible, attend daily Mass to deepen our connection with the liturgical calendar of the Church. This commitment not only strengthens individual faith but also foster a sense of community within the family.
Incorporate Scripture Study: Our religious education never ends. As Catholics, we are called to nourish our faith daily through active participation in religious studies. As a Catholic family, we must immerse ourselves in the richness that the Sacred Scriptures offer us. It is essential to seek opportunities in our parishes to participate in Bible study groups suitable for each family member. Encourage yourselves to find opportunities for spiritual reading or attend retreats and workshops provided by your parish or diocese. This shared exploration can lead to opportunities for family conversations and a deeper understanding of the Church’s teachings.
Embrace Acts of Kindness and Charity: As heads of the family, we must instill values of compassion and empathy in our families, especially in our children and youth, by participating in acts of kindness and charity. An excellent way to foster these values is for the family to engage in community service projects or seek opportunities to volunteer in local charitable organizations or within our own parishes. This commitment to serving others reflects the fundamental principles of Catholicism, promoting a sense of gratitude and social responsibility within the family.
Cultivate a Spirit of Forgiveness: We must practice forgiving others, especially within our families, in the same way that Jesus forgive us. The New Year provides an opportunity to leave grudges behind and cultivate forgiveness within the family. Fostering open communication and emphasizing the importance of seeking reconciliation when conflicts arise should be a primary goal in our families. By practicing forgiveness, Catholic families can reflect the mercy and love shown by Christ to us.
These five simple goals go beyond individual aspirations to embrace the collective Catholic journey toward spiritual growth. By weaving these purposes into the fabric of daily life, families can create a nurturing environment where faith flourishes, and the love of Christ becomes the guiding force in all aspectsof their lives.