"For this new year, I want to focus on my inner self," Gabriela writes. Photo from Unsplash

Speaking Out: The new year is for spiritual growth

By  Speaking Out, Gabriela Pariseau
  • December 21, 2018

It is easy for me to search the Internet for “experts” who will tell me exactly what I should do to fix my life this year. 

As I scroll through social media, countless YouTubers and bloggers encourage me to eat healthier, exercise daily, cultivate good habits and spend time with friends and family.

Still, for this new year, I want to focus on my inner self. In 2018, God used various people and events to unveil areas of my life that I need to work on in order to grow deeper in union with Him. 

My summer as a Totus Tuus teacher kept me accountable in my prayer life and to actually deal with problems I had been hiding from. 

This year, I also realized that I have a lot of growing and vocational discernment to do before I am ready to begin discerning marriage with someone. And a course I took on spiritual theology showed me just how much Jesus desires to be intimately close to me if I would only let Him. 

In 2019, I resolve to do more spiritual reading. My spiritual theology professor explained that it is better to know a few great spiritual books really well than to only vaguely know lots of mediocre books. He suggested starting with the Imitation of Christ because it is full of things to meditate on.

This year, I also want to receive the sacraments on a more regular basis. I have access to daily Mass and confession, but I don’t often take advantage of these invaluable gifts. When I do take advantage of them I am often unprepared, lacking the proper attention and devotion these gifts require. I want to be strengthened by the sacramental graces. 

I want to work on eliminating vices that prevent virtues from growing in my life. Over the last year I have chosen to work on the virtue of humility. 

Humility is a difficult virtue to ask for because God will give you lots of scary opportunities to be humble. He also revealed to me the many ways I am prideful. Over the next year, I want to continue learning humility but I also want to pray for more emotional chastity and charity toward others.

And finally, I want to spend more time getting to know Christ and Our Lady. It has been my goal to do a half hour of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and to say a rosary daily, but I have been inconsistent. God has been tugging on my heart, telling me to come see Him, but I don’t always make the time so I need Mary’s help. She will lead me closer to her Son.

Right now, I am at a kind of a crossroads in my life and I am trying to figure out the next step after college. What I do know is that in order to figure that out, I need God. I need to get to know Him and how He speaks to me so I can hear Him and respond. 

God knows me and what I need better than anyone. So I want to do what He wants because He has a perfect plan for my life and I can’t wait to see the adventure He has planned for me in 2019.

(Pariseau, 21, is a third-year Catholic studies student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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