Pray Tell Poll: New Year’s Resolutions

What are your liturgical and spiritual resolutions for the New Year? Share your response in the comments below!


  1. My New Year’s Resolution is to clean up the clutter and chaos in my office. I need to be free of the mess in order to transition from Advent and Christmas preparations to clear my head and heart toward Lent and Easter. The physical process of sorting, filing and throwing out the clutter is done from a place of prayer allowing me to be open to the Grace of God and the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

    I have been in my current position for only three years. My time has been a careful and prayerful process of discerning realistic goals and objectives in choosing Liturgical music that honors the current parish repertoire and introducing new music and Mass Settings. The positive response is a bit overwhelming, so much so, that I want to be careful to make sure that I stay on task with my focus ever present to God’s grace. Happy New Year’s.

  2. my New Year’s resolution seems to remain always the same: to seek to encounter God more deeply in the coming year. What might change from year to year is how I envision going about this, and for 2019, it occurred to me that I should ask how and where God seeks to encounter me, without warning and without striving on my part?

  3. Just to be different (or liturgically relevant!) my new year’s resolution began the First Sunday of Advent — I am hoping to be more aware of wonder and beauty in this world, where it seems there exists way too much cynicism, doubt, and ugliness nowadays. It may be a difficult task at times to be sincere about this, but it would seem, to me at least, to be the appropriate position of a believer.

  4. I don’t really go in for New Year’s resolutions. For me it seems like a way to either pile up guilt if I don’t follow through or court pelagianism if I do. But I will give this a go.

    I had a spectacular Advent. Fantastic homilies all four Sundays. Exquisitely beautiful music at liturgy with surprises as well as classics. There was a sense of austerity and waiting; I really kept a fast from Christmas carols and didn’t decorate the tree until Christmas eve. Surprisingly, the little 60-Second Sermon I prepared for Pray Tell also had an effect on how I celebrated the feast. (They say you preach what you need to hear, and perhaps it’s so.) I found myself saying in that reflection that when you meet people at Christmas: “Tell them that you love them, if that’s how you feel.” I tried to follow my own advice (!) this Christmas, and I found it was surprisingly difficult. The usual exchanges we are programmed to have around the holidays can hide as well as reveal the word spoken within the heart. But I tried.

    This Christmastide I received word of four deaths. Two high school classmates, a friend of a friend, someone’s mother. Two very dear older friends had strokes. I was also in a car accident. Emerged unhurt, but the other car spun around and could have killed us; it stopped within a couple of feet of a head on collision.

    “Tell them that you love them, if that’s how you feel.” I would not like to have left this life without telling the people I love that I love them, or without saying thank you for being my friend. Grateful that I have a new year, another year, I shall try to do this more often. That’s my resolution.

  5. For a number of years, I’ve made my resolutions beginning on the First Sunday of Advent – I know I’m not alone in this, as we see in other responses here. The turn of the calendar year never felt quite as right as the turn of a new year of grace in the Paschal Mystery of Christ to hang something substantive upon.

    Most years, I have turned to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) for a focus. I do like to note that Galatians refers to a single fruit with different segments, like a citrus fruit.

    Though my 2018 resolution (begun on Advent I 2017) was a year-long focus on Incarnation & the ongoing enfleshment of Christ in my own life, the life of the church, and the life of those around me, I’m returning to Galatians this year.

    I’ve selected “kindness” as my focus. Many years it’s been “patience” which I usually consider to be my weakest segment of the Spirit-fruit. I take a bit of time every day (OK, most days) and spend some quiet time with just that word – either repeating it, or making it into a short prayer (Source of all kindness, may others see your image in me today) or a scripture passage (The Lord is kind and merciful).

    What I’ve learned in the month or so I’ve been doing this is that kindness and patience are at least first cousins, if not siblings. Much of my lack of kindness flows directly from impatience. I’ve also learned that true or authentic kindness is truly difficult, especially for someone prone to passive-aggressiveness, as I am. I’ve also started to notice how often the word “kindness” as a divine attribute is paired with other words – love, mercy – not because it’s unable to stand on its own, but because it truly is one of the things at the heart of our spiritual living. I doubt that it is possible to be cruel and merciful, for example. So it looks like my spiritual project for this year of grace will be more daunting than merely “being nicer” (which is what I thought it would be).

    Whenever and however and whichever spiritual resolutions you make – may your life and the life of others be blessed…

  6. My liturgical new year’s resolution is to find a liturgical, spiritual “home.” I’m beginning this year by moving to a big, new city (Los Angeles) where I don’t have any roots or many connections. My first concern is where I will worship, and whether that worship will truly, spiritually feed me. I plan to start out at my geographical parish, the church just down the road, but others have encouraged me to do some parish seeking. I’ve had some interesting conversations about which parishes have the best preaching versus solid liturgical music programs versus vibrant community life. Why can’t all three be found in the same place? Maybe there is a place that holds all of these things and more (though I do not by any means wish to “consumerize” or commodify worship and parish community life, so the idea of “parish shopping” makes me a bit uncomfortable). Inherent to this resolution is my search for a spiritual community where my gifts as a lector, cantor, and musician can be put to use for the good of the community, and that I might live out these callings. [If any PTB readers have parish suggestions in the L.A. area or thoughts on seeking a spiritual home, I’m all ears!]

    1. It might help if you were to indicate whereabouts in LA you will be, and even the geographical parish you will be living in. LA is a big place!

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