Zack Candy

Resolutions for the new Church year

By  Zack Candy, Youth Speak News
  • December 7, 2012

This year for Advent I decided to do something I’ve never tried before: New Year’s resolutions for a new Church year (a Year of Faith, in fact).

As part of this, I’ve started praying the rosary more of ten. This might seem like a fairly run-of-the-mill commitment for a Catholic, except I’m in the unusual situation of never having prayed the rosary before.

It’s not all that surprising given my background. I grew up in a Baptist household, became an Anglican in my teen years and just this past April was received into the Catholic Church along with the majority of my Anglican parish here in Ottawa. I was received as a Catholic of the Anglican Use — a special branch of the Catholic Church which draws heavily on the Anglican liturgical, musical and spiritual tradition — and while we certainly pray the rosary within our particular customs, we don’t place as much emphasis on it as other Catholic parishes would.

I received a rosary as a confirmation gift from my godparents in April, and in the following months I tried, on a few different occasions, to figure out exactly what this business is all about. Each time I was invariably confused with the seemingly endless variations of Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers and gave up, resolving to buckle down next time and really get it straight. Finally, quite recently, I sat down and prayed the rosary all the way through, meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, as suggested by a priest I know.

My first impression? This is hard! I found myself continually having to bring my mind back to the mystery I was supposed to be meditating on, rather than letting my thoughts wander while I prayed the words. Though I had struggled with the suspicion that so many of the same prayers in a row must surely qualify as “vain repetition,” the profundity of the repeated Hail Mary was brought home for me as I meditated on Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. I realized that part of my meditation was the resolution to respond more fully to the Holy Spirit’s call, and also that my ability to respond in this way on my own was doubtful to say the least. But here I was asking Mary to pray on my behalf, and she knows only too well how to respond when God calls.

I’ve made my first step in taking up a traditional and unfamiliar Catholic practice — and I challenge others to do the same. There are countless devotions, prayers and readings which we’d all do better to at least try; perhaps we don’t know the Daily Office as well as we could or we could stand to get more acquainted with the lives of the saints. Whatever you choose, my challenge to you is to let it be a means for your fuller communion with the life of the Church, a means of continuing the journey through the “door of faith” of which the Holy Father speaks.

(Candy, 21, is a third-year English student at the University of Ottawa.)

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