It’s that time of the year again. Introverts are trying to gather strength for one last socializing push for the New Years celebrations while extroverts are relishing in the celebrations with no issue. We Catholics are still celebrating Christmastide despite what secular media, stores, and radio stations may be saying. We want to carry that Christmas spirit into the New Year, but how? Well, that depends on your temperament, but there are some things you should definitely not do.
Want to avoid starting the new calendar year on a spiritual slump? Here are 5 ways to have an epic fail start of the new year as a Catholic.
1. Avoid going to Mass on January 1st
“I already went to Christmas Mass. I’m good.” Nope. Friendly reminder that New Years Day is a holy day of obligation in almost all dioceses. The first day of the year falls on a Saturday so many people will be tempted to skip it and just go to Sunday Mass the next day or vice versa. To start off the year with the necessary graces, try to go to Mass both days.
2. Focus on the physical, mental, and emotional but skip the spiritual resolutions
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making New Years resolutions. Even though most of us don’t make it past the first 3 weeks of insert resolution here, we still try them to help improve some part of our lives. While we should definitely take care of our physical, mental, and emotional health, many of us don’t think about our spiritual health. If you want to grow in your spiritual life, try making an “easy” resolution that will most likely stick. Whether it be a decade of the Rosary once a week, confession at least once a month, or reading a spiritual book every two months, try challenging yourself. I bet it’ll stick more than your resolution to go to the gym every week (why would you do that to yourself?!)
3. Don’t even consider having a patron saint for the year
This is a tradition I’ve personally had for over a decade but one that Jen Fulwiler made even more interesting years ago. Through the Saint’s Name Generator <https://saintsnamegenerator.com> I’ve gotten some saints that became the heavenly buddies I needed that year. If you don’t want to take a chance on the randomly selected saint, you can take it to prayer and see if any saint sticks out for you. The point is to have some backup for when you’re going through spiritual dryness or difficult times during the year.
4. Do all the things to ensure you get good luck and all you want through dodgy traditions
I’m sorry to be a wet blanket but walking around the house with a bowl of water and then throwing it out your door at midnight doesn’t “cleanse” your house of evil. Eating 12 grapes at midnight won’t get you those 12 wishes. Grabbing a suitcase and stepping out of your front door with your right foot first at midnight won’t guarantee that you’ll travel more in the new year. And wearing a specific color won’t “attract” money, love, or anything else you desire.
All these fall under superstitions, which are condemned by the Church. Instead, ask God that He may grant you what you want and need if it is in accordance to His holy will.
5. Listen to “psychics” to predict what will happen this upcoming year
Say it with me: condemned by the Church.
Growing up, I used to hear all these predictions by so-called psychics on TV since the Hispanic culture is so heavily embedded with superstitious traditions and beliefs. Walter Mercado, anyone? If you’re watching something on TV or listening to someone who claims they can predict what will happen, turn the source off or step away from the place if you cannot turn it off. No one knows exactly what will happen except God. It is not our job to know the future. We should pray, follow His commandments, and try to live a good life. We don’t need any occult practices to try to trip us up; we have enough spiritual warfare to worry about without it.
These seem like common sense things but, sadly, common sense seems to be less common these days. With fear mongering and false information floating around social media and poorly catechized Catholics, it’s a jungle out there. I hope these tips will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that could bring an epic fail to the start of the year.
Do any of you have additional suggestions on how to avoid other epic fails?
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