by Allison Mallory
That time of year is approaching again. Time to make commitments to change the quality of our lives. Time to make plans that are believed to be a sure path to happiness. The time we seek the better, more-perfect version of ourselves through dedication to New Year’s resolutions.
The most popular resolution to make is to “get in shape” and regularly make it to the gym. When this commitment is made, “resolutioners” are thirsting for happiness, completeness, and contentment within themselves. Many people hungry for a more satisfied life flock to their local gyms for the first couple weeks of the month, then slowly return to their prior way of life when they do not find the gratification they were seeking.
Unfortunately, when participating in the New Year’s tradition, we often make resolutions that overlook our spiritual fitness. While we make commitments to better our lives, we tend to ignore the only sure way to improve the quality of our lives: to grow closer to God.
The consistency that “resolutioners” lack, the emptiness that they wish to fill, the more-perfect person they seek can not be found at the gym, but instead is found at the heart of Christ. Unlike the inconsistent relationship “resolutioners” may have with the gym, God is waiting patiently to reveal the truth of His love for you. He offers the most consistent, reliable relationship one can ever have. All we have to do is pursue the truth that He has revealed.
Here are five ways you can resolve to seek the truth God has to offer you throughout this coming year:
- Grow in Intimacy with Scripture
A great way to find truth is to read truth. One way God has revealed truth is through Scripture. Saint Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. The more we read and know Scripture, the more we will reflect on Scripture. Since Scripture is God’s word, the more we reflect on Scripture, the more we reflect on God. A continuous reflection on God’s word leads us to be more Christ-like. Every time we read the word of God, it is etched on our hearts, uniting us ever closer to God.
Scripture was written just for you, to bring your understanding of Christ to a much deeper level. Scripture will teach you not just about the lives of those within it, but also about your life; what you are going through and what you will go through. If you consistently read Scripture, you will always find something pertinent to you. This common occurrence gives us the opportunity to quietly reflect on what God has to say about us.
Here are some more helpful quotes on Scripture:
Become familiar with the Bible so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. Pope Benedict XVI
We speak to God when we pray; we listen to Him when we read the Scriptures. Saint Ambrose
The Bible is a love letter from God with your name on it. Peter Kreeft
- Read about a Saint You Have Never Studied Before
As Catholics, we have role models living in heaven in complete unity with God. These holy men and women fought some of the same battles that you and I face in our lives. They have left behind a story with each of their lives to encourage us on our road to sanctity. Their lives reveal the truth of what it means to be a disciple of Christ; to pursue Him instead of the world.
Reading about a saint helps us to become familiar with them, as well as the particular struggles they faced in their lives. To help us better prepare for challenges we may face in the future, we must first recognize the challenges in the lives of those that have gone before us.
Better yet, the saints are just waiting to grow in a relationship with us. They long to intercede for us in any challenge we encounter. They long to bring us closer to Christ. Understanding the life of a saint prompts us to really make them a friend. When we grow in friendship with the saints, we ultimately grow in friendship with Christ, since the saints are in total union with Him. Growing in friendship with the saints can deepen our longing for truth and lead us to practice the faith more intensely.
- Become Consistent in Prayer
We live in a time that is full of noise, confusion and hurry. Because of our comfort with distraction, it is easy to avoid, even dread, any time in prayer. We must be persistent in prayer to come close to the truth.
Making a commitment to do one act of prayer every day is a good way to start if you have no consistency in prayer. So, if you are currently not praying the Rosary every day, start with the commitment to pray a decade each day for a week. Then, add a decade each week until you are praying the full Rosary.
If you are a “prayer warrior” that currently has a constant prayer life, think of ways in which you believe your prayer life could be enhanced. This could be by fasting, attending the sacraments more, or even by reciting more Rosaries than you usually do. Turn to God. Ask Him to reveal what prayers would please Him most this year.
- Start a Bible Study/Prayer Group
You may have heard the saying, “Humans are social animals” before. It is true! God created us to be in communion with one another (you know… the whole “It is not good that man should be alone” Gen 2:18 thing?). It is hard at times to maintain a strong foundation in faith when you are alone. Life gets busy, you get tired and before you know it, you fall into a habit of ignoring God. If, however, you are part of a group of people that wish to seek truth, it will keep you accountable for pursuing Christ. Studying God’s word together and seeking truth with one another deepens the bonds of friendship, ultimately bringing everyone closer to Christ.
- Mark Your Calendar for Ignited By Truth
Attending this year’s Ignited By Truth conference in February is a great way to kick-start a year of seeking truth! This year’s Conference will feature speakers who dedicate their lives to speaking and seeking the truth of the Catholic faith. They will offer practical advice and inspiration for living a fruitful Catholic lifestyle.
Young Adult & Youth Tracks
This year, Ignited By Truth will be hosting a special night for young adults, as well as present unique talks for high school & middle school students. Young adult (Friday) night will include short talks interspersed with lots and lots of Christian music, meeting and hanging out with other young Catholic adults, and food! There will be a full program dedicated to high school and middle school students on Saturday. For more details visit https://ignitedbytruth.org/2017-youth/.
Ignited By Truth is offering special pricing for students as well as discounts for early registration. Young Adult night on Fri, Feb 24 (8-11 pm) is FREE for ages 18-29. With early registration, the entire Sat (Feb 25 from 8am–5pm) conference costs only $25 for students ($30 at the door). Sat will feature speakers like Abby Johnson and Leah Darrow. There will also be lunch, Mass, Adoration and many Catholic vendors to take advantage of! What a great opportunity for students to grow in faith! To learn more about the conference and to register go to ignitedbytruth.org.