Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef Murray

I’ve always been a fan of New Year’s resolutions and goal-making, despite a nice dose of cynicism acquired from years of failure and burning myself out on unattainable targets.

Last year, I revisited resolutions and made a few strides in the right direction. No shock: I won some, I lost some. Despite my best efforts, the exercise thing wobbled. Despite my life’s chaos, my version of bullet journaling has flourished. Despite my tight budget, we’ve had more dates this year than since we’ve been married.

And so I can’t help but look at this resolution thing with a bit less cynicism than I approached it last year. (I was really just playing along a bit…I can’t say I was expecting success.)

new-years-list-featured-w480x300In that optimism, I can’t help but see a bit of Mary. It can be no accident that January 1, that day of Lo Those Many Resolutions We Shall Forget Within a Month or Two, is also a Holy Day of Obligation, the feast of Mary as Mother of God.

Isn’t it just like a mother to encourage us to examine where we can improve our lives, to nudge us closer to the path of holiness, to cheer for us to get off our collective duffs and stride toward success?

This January 1 marks my tenth year as a mother. My oldest child — a daughter who’s almost as tall as I am, has a sassy streak and a sense of humor, and looks so much like my husband that it’s a bit uncanny — was born on this feast, this last day of the Octave of Christmas, feast of Mary, and the beginning of the year.

It’s almost like God was making sure I would always have to take January 1 seriously, no matter what. No, scratch that. It’s almost like Mary was making sure I was paying attention.

She’s had it out for me for years, now that I look back. I can see her at work in my life, and I can’t help but smile a bit. It’s the subtle little nuances, the coincidences that really aren’t, the ways my life has turned out so unexpectedly different than I planned.

Those resolutions I may (or may not) make this year will undoubtedly be a work in progress. They always are. Sometimes they give me a light, a map of sorts. Other times, they give me the nudge I need to pursue something specific.

This year, though, I want to make sure I’m growing closer to Mary’s Son as I begin my year. I can’t help but think that’s what she really wants.

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