In the spiritual life not to seek to advance is to go back. This is one of the consequences of original sin that we carry with us: the wound of weakness which makes us drag our feet in front of any effort, especially a spiritual effort. This goes against the virtue of fortitude which does not hesitate to tackle anything good that is difficult. This weakness is a particular laziness in doing spiritual effort.
As the Good Lord has brought us to the start of another year, let us “redeem the time” as St Paul says, let us examine the areas which need to be tightened up if we are to make a better use of the time lent to us by Divine Providence.
I will give herewith a list of points (it is not exhaustive): choose one or two only and work seriously at improving it in the coming weeks and months. To make it simple, we can divide the fields of our efforts in two general parts: something negative which needs to stop, something positive which needs to improve.
The negative resolution has to do with a bad habit we may have developed over time and that needs to stop. It can be the habit of wasting time (time is something so precious for a fervent Catholic!), particularly in the use of technology (internet, social media, films, just surfing for no reason…); it can be bad eating and drinking habits (not only detrimental to health, but also to the virtue of temperance); it can be some worldliness (vanity in dress, in showing off, in wasting money); it can be in my dealing with others at home, at work: lack of patience, of respect, of obedience, of charity… These are ideas of areas that need to be looked at.
The positive resolutions can be divided in three zones: my spiritual life, study and apostolate. In what regards my spiritual life, a simple check list is: am I faithful to my morning and evening prayers, to prayers before and after meals, to my daily rosary? Do I have a fixed time to go to bed and to rise? Can I make it to one or more extra masses during the week? Do I find time for a 10-15 minutes of spiritual reading every day?
A good Catholic knows he needs to continue to study all his life. By study, here we mean to deepen some points of the Catholic faith, eg., on the Holy Mass, the Angels, the Blessed Virgin Mary, points of Church history, of apologetics, matters concerning the present crisis of the Church, writings of Archbishop Lefebvre, the problems with the New Mass and Vatican II.
Finally, we must not keep the treasure of our faith to ourselves but make them fructify. Thus we need to be apostolic, we must do good to others, starting at home (have we done the enthronement of the Sacred Heart, are we regular at family prayers…); are we trying to promote the traditional Mass, do we ever visit the sick in hospital, have we thought of joining the M.I., the SSPX Third Order, of attending an Ignatian retreat and bringing our friends to it?
Let us examine ourselves in front of the Blessed Sacrament as we begin this New Year and choose one or another point that will be our annual resolution that will help us grow spiritually and give greater glory to God.