September always feels like the start of a new year, so it’s a good time to consider what we might want to accomplish over the next twelve months in terms of growing closer to God.
First and irreplaceable is, of course, Sunday Mass and the reception of the Holy Communion. Our faith and the experience of the saints teach us that there is simply no substitute. If you’ve found yourself getting a little ragged in attendance, this is a good time to make Sunday Mass an every-week priority for the coming year.
This is especially important if you have any influence on children – as a parent, aunt or uncle, grandparent, or the like. Children are keen observers; and if they see that you go to Mass only when you have to (to bring them for Faith Formation, for example), they’ll learn Mass doesn’t really matter to you – and so shouldn’t matter to them. Research shows that fathers’ practice of the faith is especially important in raising children to be believers; moms can’t do it alone.
Second is daily prayer. There are good instructions in the book we gave out at Christmas last year, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Look at page 61 for a simple outline, and commit to some time of private prayer – even only a few minutes – every day, without exception. (And again, if you have care of children, they will see the importance you put on contact with God in prayer and, hopefully, learn from it.)
Third is the daily practice of charity in thought, word, and action.
Beyond these critical three, here are a few things that are in the works for the coming year in our parish so that we can deepen our faith:
The goal of parish life is to make saints – of ourselves and one another and those around us, and to participate in God’s transformation of His creation into one in which justice and mercy abound. Each year is an opportunity to start anew. Until next week, Peace.