Monday, October 1, 2012

Living this Year of Faith

October 11th starts the year of faith, the Bishops have suggested that we spend the next 365 days delving deeper into our relationship with Christ and her Church. That sounds fine enough, but how?
Here are a few methods for turning this year of faith into a rich experience. The goal is to grow so pick a few that will stretch your soul and steel your faith.

100. Go to mass more regularly. If you do not go weekly, begin. If you go weekly, try for a daily.
99. The rosary. If not a whole one a day, a decade a day.  Grow into it as the year progresses.
98. Pick a saint, learn about them. Read their writings, know what made their lives sanctified.
97. Begin reading from the Old Testament regularly.
96. Sing at mass.
95. Perform a Corporal act of mercy --feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick.
94. Brush up on your church history.
93. Watch Catholicism, the series
92. Go to a Theology on tap series.
91. Receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.
90. Start saying The Divine Mercy Chaplet.
89. There are 35 doctors of the Church, look through them for the right specialist, then read that Doctor's writings for the year.
88. Practice spiritual acts of mercy.
87. Fast.
86. Read the daily readings online or via the Magnificat.
85. Pray with your family.
84. Adoration. Give an hour a week.
83. Give a little more of yourself at mass.
82. Give a little more in charity.
81. Surrender some time for others by volunteering.
80. Try the Total Consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary
79. Make a pilgrimage to a Cathedral or Basilica.
78. Visit a hospital, shut-in, or prison.
77. Place a crucifix on your wall in your home.
76. Listen to a Catholic speaker/Catholic radio.
75. Create deliberate beauty in your home.
74. Practice real forgiveness.
73. Find a spiritual director.
72. Create a spiritual bouquet.
71. Read a book from the New Testament.76. Listen to a Catholic speaker/Catholic radio.
70. Pray with your children.
69. Pray with your spouse.
68. Pray for your children.
67. Pray for your spouse.
66. Familiarize yourself with the catechism.
65. Listen to some of the great music of the mass.
64. Serve in your parish in some capacity with the liturgy.
63. Give something up.
62. Invite someone to come eat and share your faith with them.
61. Invite priests or nuns to come and dine and share their faith with you.
60. Abstain from meat on Friday as a little sublimation.
59. Tithe.
58. Be a part of the Liturgy of the Hours.
57. Research a lay order you might consider joining.
56. Read a psalm a day.
55. Discover the joy of Catholic writers like Percy, Chesterton and O'Connor.
54. Find and follow a daily meditation, like the three minute retreat, Pope Benedict XVIth's Reflections for day to day, or A Year in the Life of Saint Paul.
53. Take in great Catholic art.
52. Catholic bloggers, discover them.
51. Be present to your family, your friends, everyone.
50. Meditate on the 7 Dolors of Mary daily.
49. Participate in the seasons of the Church.
48. Teach CCD.
47. Learn the parts of the mass.
46. Become politically active and involved on Catholic issues.
45. Sacrifice something like diet coke or fast food, consider it a cross of toothpicks.
44. Ask God for something.
43. Work earnestly in all things.
42. Keep holy the Sabbath day.
41. Pray for those in purgatory daily.40. Foresake a bad habit you think you can't.
39. Wear the cross or crucifix.
38. Review the readings prior to the mass.
37. Get to mass on time.
36. Stay to the end.
35. Attend a mass said by a Bishop or Cardinal.
34. Read the letters/notes from the Bishop or Cardinal in your area.
33. Recite an act of Contrition every day.
32. Count your blessings.
31. Offer up your pains, struggles and petty grievances.
30. Cheer someone up.
29. Provide prayerful witness for the unborn.
28. Remove occasions of sin from one's life, even sins of convenience.
27. Reconcile with an estranged acquaintance, friend or family
26. Failing that, pray for the estranged acquaintance, friend or family.
25. Prepare a feast for your family. Invite the estranged.
24. Seek to have a family rosary once a week.
23. Love your spouse well.
22. Love your children well.
21. Create a Marian Garden as a place of prayer for your home, or a prayer table.
20. Take an online course on some aspect of your faith that you know to be weak, the Sacraments, Church History, apologetics.
19. Pray for the intentions of the Pope.
18. Do what is necessary for an indulgence.
17. Participate in a Novena.
16. Form or join a prayer group.
15. Attend other sacraments, like Holy Orders, Marriage and Confirmation, pray for those receiving them.
14. Go on a retreat.
13. Pray with your children before they go to bed.
12. Listen.
11. Keep a spiritual diary.
10. Visit a cemetery, pray for the deceased.
9. Subscribe to a Catholic magazine, read it when it comes, cover to cover.
8. Clean out your closet. Give away half. joyfully.
7. Live within your means. Give the excess away.
6. Dress beautifully and modestly.
5. Honor your father and mother in prayer, thought and deed.
4. Invite someone to come to mass with you.
3. Reaffirm what it means to be Catholic, what identifies you as Catholic.
2. Do all things great and small with great love.
1. Receive the Eucharist frequently.

Lastly, whatever you do, whether with a willing heart or merely a dutiful flesh, do. Sometimes the heart follows, sometimes the heart leads. Ours are faiths smaller than 1/1000'th a mustard seed. But perhaps this year, we can grow them to move the molehills if not mountains.


Helene said...

Great list! I will definitely work on some of these. I really like learning about the Doctors of the Church.

joanne lee said...

That was inspiring Sherry. I was encouraged to realize how much I already do and challenged by what I can still strive to do.

Alex Renn said...

A great way to accomplish #66:

Read the Catechism in a year with an online community. Stay accountable and ask questions/discuss with other faithful.

joachim ozonze said...

thanks Serry for the "how"

Beth Anne @ Beth Anne's Best said...

This is a great list! What ia a spiritual bouquet? I am very intrigued by that!!

Beth Anne @ Beth Anne's Best said...

Great list! But what is a Spiritual Bouquet?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, this is just what I needed as I try to figure out how I am gonna "live" this Year of Faith!

Sherry said...

A spiritual bouquet is a gift to someone where the giver dedicates a series of prayers. For the recipient, perhaps a rosary or a group of people praying the divine mercy chalet or a mass or adoration for an hour. Think of each prayer or supplication as a flower for the soul given the gift.

Sister Rosemary Sullivan, OP said...

A Spiritual Bouquet is a metaphor for offering a group of prayers for someone or some intention. It is comparing a bouquet of flowers to a beautiful offering of prayers. We used to give Spiritual Bouquets to our parents for gifts at Christmas and/or Mother's/Father's Day etc. Recently our school gave a Spiritual Bouquet to our pastor on the occasion of his 25th anniversary of ordination. Here's an example: I promise to offer 7 Masses, 7 Rosaries, 14 Our Fathers, 14 Hail Mary's, and 14 Glory Be's for your intentions during the coming week. The children are fond of drawing a bouquet of flowers and writing the prayer offerings on the flower petals. I think it is a practise that still has significance and I always appreciate receiving a Spirtual Bouquet.

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