St. Francis Venerating the Crucifix, 1595. Oil on canvas. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Speaking out: A new year to renew my faith

By  Nicole Sciulli, Speaking Out
  • December 31, 2017
As I enter the first week of 2018, I fear that a lot of my New Year’s resolutions, like exercising and not procrastinating on school assignments, will waver.

However, one resolution that I am scared the most of giving up is my vow to renew my relationship with God.

I sometimes find that my spiritual journey can come to a halt when I let the chaos of everyday life replace the spot where God should be. I read the words that I should love God with all my heart, my soul, my strength and my mind, but I feel like I give up too easily on my faith.

Instead of working to reconnect with my faith through prayer, I choose to watch YouTube videos. Instead of going to Confession, I choose to play computer games.

With the beginning of the New Year, I want to break these superficial habits and have a conversion of the heart to renew my love for Jesus Christ. As said in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

A saint that I look to for inspiration is St. Francis of Assisi. He had a very affluent upbringing because his father was a silk merchant. He was well-liked, intelligent, a great warrior and was the heir to his father’s business. Still, he felt unsatisfied with his life.

During a war between the city of Assisi and Perugia in the early 1200s, Francis was captured and spent a lot of time in prison, meditating and reflecting on his past life. Through a series of visions, God helped Francis find his purpose to serve the poor and to spiritually rebuild the Church. He then went on to found the Franciscan Order, living a life of poverty and charity.

God reveals our spiritual purpose through positive and negative experiences and it is up to us to trust in Him, knowing He knows what is best for us. I always feel like I try to fight His guidance, which is what I want to stop.

At the beginning of the year, instead of focusing on my worldly aspirations, I want to strive for something, a deeper relationship with God. This year, I would like to take time out of my day to praise God for His blessings to me and to ask for help in making the right decisions.

Like St. Francis, I want to focus on seeing people for who they are and not the superficial labels I may place upon them. Instead of squandering the gifts God has given me, I want to use them for good and to make a difference in the community.

I want to take time out of every day to read the Gospel, just as St. Francis was called to bring the Gospels to the Church. St. Francis devoted his life to living humbly and to help the poor. I can also give my time to those who have less than I do, by helping out with fundraising initiatives like soup kitchens or shelters.

I want to stop acting like a Catholic in name only, but rather as a Catholic who practises their faith.

(Sciulli, 20, is a third-year Professional Writing student at University of Toronto.)

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