Call it what you will, but I believe in do-overs, a second chance, or a "mulligan" which is what most think of at the turn of the new year. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you some things that I feel very strongly about in the Christian life as a Catholic.
Communing with our God more and more will increase your faith, hope, and love for Him. A peaceful existence is hard enough without an active prayer life. This is not a hard thing to accomplish, really! Prayer is simply reaching out and acknowledging God, and communicating with Him on a personal level. You know you talk with those around you on a daily basis, well why not have a discussion with God? Who do you relate to more, Father/God, Our Savior/ Jesus, the Holy Spirit/spiritual director in your ear? Do you relate to our loving Holy Mother? Talk with them daily, develop a new appreciation for your many blessings that are revealed to you through prayer! One way to start is to find your own formula, if you will, for your prayers; one that I have heard of is: A.C.T. Adoration/Contrition/Thanksgiving. As we learned to pray from Jesus Himself in the Lord's Prayer, the first part is adoration, "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those...." Thank God everyday for the good AND the bad, for with the bad, we grow stronger, I truly believe. A short time ago, I delivered an hour lecture at a local parish on prayer, so you know I can go on here!
2. Continued Education in your faith.
As a Catholic Christian, I firmly believe that Mass is the source and summit of the faith in the world, BUT, we must find other times, resources, and people to glean more about God and His teachings. In this way, when we DO attend Mass, we come with more respect, reverence, and appreciation for this GREAT sacrament. Some places I go to are:
Podcasts: Catholic Vitamins, Among Women, Catholics Next Door, and Catholic Capt and the Catholic Foodie, Fr. Z's blog/podcazts periodically. There are so many more podcasts that I don't have time to check out, but you can find them at SQPN, which is an enormous website chocked full of Catholic stuff.
Music: There is so many Catholic artists and musicians out there to enjoy, since listening to the podcasts I mentioned, I've learned about several. iTunes carries many of these artists, so check them out. I haven't gotten into this too much this year, but am going to work on it this year....I need an iTunes card, asked for one for Christmas, but alas I'm still waiting....sigh.
Books: Personally, I can't get enough books and find the time to read them all!! As a mom, inspiration is a necessity and there are plenty out there to glean from. Some of my favorites are modern Catholic moms, Lisa Hendey, Donna-Marie O'Boyle Cooper, Michele Buckman, and Cheryl Dickow, who brought me way back to my Jewish Roots, which I will never forget. I know that I am forgetting several writers right now, but check out my sidebar for my book reviews done thus far, I hope to be reviewing more books this year, so keep checking back here for starters.
Websites: There is a flourish of blogs, websites, and e-zines now to learn what you need to online. Personally, I contribute to Catholicmom.com, Catholic Lane, and Scott P. Richert does a fantastic job reporting/teaching/answering all questions about Catholicism at About.com. At Catholic Culture I use this website for great 'watchdog' information, along with daily liturgical stuff. Blogs are amazing places to learn and get to know other Catholic parents like you and me,along with religious and writers. I have posted many of these links here for your convenience, but I realize that I need to do some housework at the 'Pillars" soon. Check back for new and updated information!
Anyway, this is just the tip of the Catholic iceberg for you to delve into in twelve!!
Christmas season blessings!