Getting Mary’s Help in this New Year

Happy New Year!  Usually, my first post of the year is about how we should not make “praying more” a new year’s resolution because making something a new year’s resolution almost guarantees failure.  However, this year I’m going to take a different tone based on the homily I heard last Sunday on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary.

At my parish, Father Tony talked about the importance of asking Mary for help with all the challenges and concerns in our lives.  He iterated the Church’s teaching that Mary will clarify and amplify your intentions before her son, Jesus Christ, and act as your mediator.  You may only have a vague notion of what you want or need but Mary will help you better understand those needs and help you present them to Jesus.

That homily got me thinking about new year’s resolutions.  What if they don’t fail because they are often rather vague promises made on a somewhat arbitrary day on a calendar?  Instead, maybe new year’s resolutions do not stick because people try to accomplish them on their own without any help.  Maybe we should ask Mary for her assistance in trying to accomplish our resolution.  After all, she desperately wants to help all of us achieve true happiness by eventually living in God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

But how will Mary help me lose weight?  How will Mary help me earn $10k in the stock market?  Does she really care about helping you achieve any non-spiritual goals?  Probably not.  And maybe she wants us to take a hint.  If certain goals are not a priority to Mary, maybe they shouldn’t be a priority for us either.  Like I said earlier, part of Mary’s intercession is to clarify what we truly need.  Finding a meaningful resolution is just as important as following through on one.

Yes, but will it buy you true happiness?

In the spirit of including Mary in helping me throughout my life in all important matters, not just a single new years resolution, I’m going to try to remember to add the Memorare prayer to my daily routine.  I invite you to do the same.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but, in your mercy, hear and answer me.

Coming Soon: Free Kindle Edition of my Rosary Guide

51Jfa8esBjL._BO2204203200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-clickTopRight35-76_AA278_PIkin4BottomRight-6422_AA300_SH20_OU01_Did you promise to pray more, be better about practicing your faith, or resolve to start connecting with your spiritual side? As some of you know from previous RosaryMeds articles, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions as they are usually just promises no one actually keeps. But at the same time, I know that people do make them and if your New Year’s resolution involves improving your prayer life, I want to help.

Next week I’m going to offer the Kindle edition of my rosary guide, The Rosary for the Rest of Us, for free. For three days only (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) you will be able to download it to your tablet, Kindle reader, or computer and it won’t cost you a dime. Already have the book? This the perfect opportunity to tell your friends, family, and fellow parishioners about it so they can pick up a great praying resource at no cost.

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Do Not Make Prayer Your New Year’s Resolution

English: New Year's Day postcard mailed in 190...Just what you need, another New Year’s resolution idea right?  That is why I’m not going to suggest that you make a resolution to pray more in 2012.  I’m not suggesting this because I don’t want prayer to join “getting in better shape,” “getting more organized,” and “quitting [insert vice here]” in the pile of resolutions that you will abandon by February.  It almost feels like something labeled a “New Year’s Resolution” is almost guaranteeing it will be forgotten come Martin Luther King Day.  So no, I’m not going to suggest making “more prayer” a New Year’s resolution.

I think many New Year’s resolutions fail because they have no roots in your life.  A New Year’s resolution is like a thin layer of top soil that blows away with the slightest disturbance.  For example, your effort to exercise derails the first time you skip the gym.  Or your effort to lose weight flies out the window at the first social gathering.  The problem often lies in that we are still fundamentally the same person, with the same flaws and weaknesses, on 1/1 as we were on 12/31.  Our lives are not like nutrient-rich soil for our resolutions to take root and fundamentally transform who we are.

How do I transform my life into something better and more fulfilling?  Well, any long time reader of my articles or someone just glancing at the title of my website will know the answer.  Prayer!  Honest, heart-felt prayer (especially the rosary) is one of the key ingredients to transforming yourself into living a better life.  Unlike a resolution that addresses the outer layers of who we are, prayer helps builds and strengthen our foundation making us more receptive to how God calls us to live.  God, through the Holy Spirit, will give us the strength to do what is important, the understanding to ignore what is not so important, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

We remember our call to conversion in the Third Luminous Mystery of the rosary — Jesus‘ Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven AND the Call to Conversion.  Jesus does not ask us to make a few little tweaks and resolutions in our lives.  He goes much further than that.  Jesus calls us to fundamentally change who we are.  As humans we are fundamentally flawed, first by original sin and then by our weakness of committing other sins.  So there is little wonder why we are subject to fail living God’s will.  But Jesus and His Church teaches that we all have the ability to convert our lives and truly live in God’s grace.  We can do this through prayer and receiving the sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  When we focus our lives around prayer our souls become like nutrient-rich soil ready to bare the fruit of God’s grace.  Jesus used this soil analogy throughout His teachings.  In Mark 4:1-20, He talks about seed being scattered on the ground and how only the seed that fell on good soil grew strong.  Ask yourself, is your soul “good soil?”

Again, don’t make prayer a New Year’s resolution.  Make prayer the root of your life’s transformation!  Have the courage to allow God to fundamentally change who you are.  You will like what God can do to you when you let Him into your life and listen to Him in prayer.

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