Do you need more time like I do to bask in the spirit and joy of Christmas? To invite Christ to be your center and North star? After the year we have had, I really want this gift of goodness to continue, especially to influence the new year. Goodness is about tapping into Christ born in us. It is created by God’s grace and my response to it. When I respond with tears of gratitude for His love and mercy, that is goodness. He is always inviting us forward and I can accept that invitation or not. When I focus on the things that feed my soul, I can see the pathway to holiness a little clearer each year and be Smitten with Goodness.
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Focus on His truth, Matthew 5:16
Our Christmas journey continues until February 2, we can reclaim daily the Christmas miracle to feed our hearts with joy. Now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday baking and gift giving has come to an end, the rhythm of my normal routine beckons me. This includes prioritizing my daily spiritual readings, scheduling more prayer time – the soul food that satisfies much better than the sugar and wine I overindulged in for the past few weeks! Here are my current goals for the new year:
First, I plan to keep my nativity up through the Feast of the Presentation since it points us toward Jesus’ birth. The Presentation is celebrated February 2, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. The Presentation of Jesus is also called Candlemas, since the mini epiphany expresses the Jesus is the Light of the World. I am praying that I might be able to attend mass in person and take my candles that I will use in my home on the Sabbath or feast days and have them blessed.
Second, having found that structured prayer time has catapulted my spiritual growth this year, I commit to the following:
- Continue praying my daily rosary with Many Hail Mary’s at a Time. There are immeasurable spiritual benefits in praying the rosary. The Blessed Mother was my 2020 Saint Buddy – she has become a spiritual mother, friend, and all-time role model for me! She prepares our hearts to accept grace!
- Dedicate time to my Centering Prayer practice. This is a receptive method of Christian silent prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, thinking and consciousness itself.
- Participate in the By Their Fruits Prayer Pledge. Every January the Blessed is She community comes together to dedicate the first 31 days of the year to prayer to begin, or reenforce the daily habit of prayer for the rest of the year and hopefully our lives. This year the theme dives into the fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary.
Third, I am excited about Richard Rohr’s daily meditation theme of A Time of Unveiling. This series is an opportunity to awaken to deeper transformation, love, and hope. Accepting reality offers us an invitation to depth and to discover what is lasting and what matters.
Fourth, I love the practice of having a saint buddy each year. My Saint Buddy for the new year will be St. Joseph. St. Joseph has been speaking to me throughout this past year but when Pope Francis proclaimed 2021 as the “Year of St. Joseph” that sealed my decision!
Finally, I will continue the path of simplicity. My tolerance for chaos and clutter has lessened over the years. Simplifying my life helps me focus on the things important and establishing priorities like my relationships, with my creator, myself, my husband, family, and friends – doing what matters most first is the key to living a busy life with inner calm. If you are up for taking a Simplicity Challenge, Emily Ley has a great one when you feel you need a little bit of simplicity in your life. Physical clutter = mental clutter so both are addressed through the challenge and most tasks can be completed in 20 minutes or less.
Hopefully, my goals might provide some inspiration for you. Let me know when you finalize yours and how you plan to be Smitten with Goodness.