Offer your New Year’s resolutions for the glory of Christ and His Church
St. Jerome is unequivocal: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” If you attend Sunday Mass and Daily Mass for a full three-year liturgical cycle, you will only hear a fraction of the Bible. It’s an old myth that Catholics don’t study the Bible; in fact, the Catechism commends us to spend time with the Word of God.
We built Verbum to make serious study of Scripture accessible to all Catholics, whether you’re reading Genesis for the first time or comparing the Vulgate and Septuagint renderings of 1 Maccabees. The secret is to begin: start a reading plan on your own or join a parish Bible study.
Our Lord asks us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead, and give alms to the poor—and to do so as if each person we serve were Christ Himself. Begin the new year by helping a neighbor or stranger in need.
Make the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) your prayer companions
Blessed Father James Alberione and Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo founded the Daughters of St. Paul in the 1920s as a religious order devoted to spreading the Faith through media. Originally, the sisters ran printing presses and wrote books and newspapers. Today they evangelize through all sources of media: print, music, video, and digital. On social media they’re known as the #medianuns, and their tireless evangelism is bringing the message of Christ’s love to new audiences around the world.
A novena is a nine day period of prayer devoted to a particular saint or petition. “Novena” comes from the Latin word meaning nine, novem. Novenas became popular in the Middle Ages and have antecedents in the early Church. Some trace the inspiration for the practice to the nine days the disciples spent praying between Jesus’ ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Often a novena is directed to a saint, with the final day of the novena coinciding with the saint’s feast day. Throughout the year, we’ll be announcing novenas on our blog. Share your intentions with other Verbum users in the comments so we can pray for each other.
Discover a new saint every month
While we try to live out our calling to become saints, the saints intercede for us in heaven. How well do you know them? Join us in studying the life of a different saint every month this year.
Pray for the dead
The dead are physically separated from us, but we remain spiritually connected to them in the Mystical Body of Christ. In 2 Timothy 1:16-18, St. Paul prays for the deceased Onesiphorus: May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
So let us follow the example of St. Paul and pray for the souls of the dead throughout the year. Praying for the dead is also a helpful reminder of our own deaths and our proper aim: eternal life in heaven.
Spend the year with a Church Father
The Fathers of the Church lived between the end of the apostolic era and the death of Pope Gregory the Great in 604 AD. Patristic writing is a rich source of theological truth and spiritual strength and serves as one of the foundations for the teachings of the Church. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his exhortation Verbum Domini, “The Church Fathers present a theology that still has great value today because at its heart is the study of sacred Scripture as a whole.”
Spend the year studying the works of a Church Father with whom you are unfamiliar. There are many Fathers to choose from. Here are a few to consider: Tertullian, John Chrysostom, Pamphilus of Caesarea, Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, Hilary of Poitiers, Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine of Hippo, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, Novatian, Cyprian of Carthage, Gregory of Nyssa, or Ambrose of Milan.
Our faith thrives when we worship and pray together. This year extend your worship beyond Mass: gather with friends and neighbors at home to recite the evening office or study the daily gospel reading. Make a simple meal and delight in the goodness of friendship directed to God. Remember that when we come together to worship and pray, we join each other in the presence of Christ, as our Lord tells us in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”