Orthodox New Year’s Resolutions

 New Year’s Day is almost here; the start of a new calendar year and a time when we all seem to give in to the cultural imperative to renew and remake ourselves.   Are you planning on losing 5 lbs?  Taking up an exercise program?  Stop (a) smoking (b) overeating or (c) overspending?  Why do we devote so much time and effort to reach our life goals, worthwhile as they may be, and fail to put the same effort into our “eternal” life goals?   By all means lose those 5 lbs, but while you’re at it, adopt some spiritual resolutions and give them the effort that our Lord and Savior asks of us – willingly, joyfully and with the assurance that this is what truly renews our lives.

  1. Attend Vespers and/or Divine Liturgy for all major Feasts.
  2. Attend Saturday night Vespers.
  3. Read the appointed scripture readings for each day.
  4. Say your morning and evening prayers faithfully.
  5. Commit to bringing your children to church school every Sunday.
  6. Pray the Hours during the day.
  7. Practice regular tithing.
  8. Pray the Jesus Prayer daily.
  9. Memorize one scripture verse a day.
  10. Phone or send a card to a parishioner you haven’t seen in a while and let them know you miss them and ask how they’re doing.
  11.  Talk to, not at, a young person in your parish.  Befriend them; learn about their interests, their life, their goals.
  12. Make a special intention to pray for the spiritual lives of our young parishioners.
  13. Volunteer for church activities; your time is a gift to God.
  14. Learn the lives of some less well-known saints.
  15. Make a point of greeting every visitor and new comer to your parish – answer their questions, invite them to coffee hour,  make them feel at home.
  16. Say a kind word to everyone you meet.
  17. Commit yourself to arriving at church before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.
  18. Practice secret and spontaneous acts of charity.
  19. Be an evangelist; bring a friend to church, talk openly about your faith, be a witness to the truth of Orthodoxy.
  20. Pray, pray and pray some more.
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