It’s such a cliché, the New Years’ Resolution List. Each year we are programmed to begin anew by making a list to correct our various shortcomings. We set goals to be more organized, save more money or get in shape. We are filled with hope, yet statistics show that the resolutions will likely be abandoned and forgotten before the annual Super Bowl game.
Perhaps we should resolve instead to simply practice virtue by turning to the twenty mysteries of the Rosary for inspiration. Each mystery contains a fruit or virtue that shines forth. For instance, The Annunciation shows the virtue of humility. The Visitation exemplifies Love of Neighbor, and so on. Frequent Rosary prayer and meditation help us to practice these virtues.
The Rosary mystery that best fits our drive to write New Year’s Resolution lists is the Fourth Luminous Mystery, The Transfiguration. When Pope John Paul II instituted the Mysteries of Light, or Luminous Mysteries, he put an emphasis on the fourth mystery:
“The mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration… The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit.” (Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae)
We can transfigure our own lives by embodying the virtue of this mystery: To become a new person in Christ. The key words here are in Christ, for “…with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26) Yet how do we begin this transformation?
Clearly we must heed the advice from heaven and listen to Jesus, who will guide us on our own journey of transformation. It is important to pray, but we must also take time to place ourselves in Jesus’ presence and simply listen. Throughout the day, be receptive to his gentle but firm guidance. With practice, you will soon learn the little clues that tell you if you are on the right or wrong path. Regular Rosary prayer will also help us to convert our lives. Study and meditate on the 20 mysteries of the Rosary for they are our guide to practicing heroic virtue.
It is also important to note that like Jesus, we must suffer. We cannot begin anew unless we learn to patiently bear our own crosses with humility. By accepting and offering up our suffering, we receive grace, practice virtue and become more Christ-like.
This year, throw away that itemized list of resolutions and decide to become a new person in Christ. I found further inspiration at www.how-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com: “Let your life be transformed by Jesus. Offer yourself to Him and let Him transform you.”