Preparing for the new year by examining the last one and considering what is really important, with a free printable worksheet.
Catholicism, Musings

The Act of Contrition: a Meditation for the New Year

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New Year’s Resolution time!

But first, 2017, y’all.

Crazy town. Is there anybody who didn’t have a rough go in 2017? That whole 2016-2017 package, guys. Can we all just breathe a collective sigh of relief that it’s about behind us?

I do love New Year’s, though. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning. Like a blank notebook. Or like walking out of the confessional, ready for whatever comes next. Resolved to amend our lives, to sin no more. With the help of God’s grace.

That’s big stuff. “Sin no more!?” Really? Talk about goal setting.

My Dreams for 2018

I’m working on setting some goals for the new year. I’ve always been a too-many-irons kind of gal, and I am ready to set just a few concrete goals and really focus on them. I’m not quite ready to set them down yet, but I know there will be goals in these areas:

  • Spiritual
  • Family & Marriage
  • Personal growth
  • Fitness
  • Business (that’s this blog! I’m planning some new directions for 2018; watch the Green Catholic Burrow Facebook page for a poll coming soon to help me plan the content you’d most love to see!)

But, before I get down to setting any goals, I need to take a step back, tell myself to shut up for a minute, and take stock. I need to consider not just what goals I want to pursue, but which ones I should. 

The Act of Contrition

I love using the Act of Contrition as a kind of examination of conscience. Yes, I know, that’s backwards – but it helps me see where I’m going and how to get there. Today, I’m using it as a meditation to prepare for all the goal-setting and resolution-making that’s coming with the new year.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

Let’s take it line by line:

  1. My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. Did this year go well? Not go well? How did I respond to that – in gratitude and faith or in anger and fear? What did I do to contribute to any difficulties? Can I identify any patterns in my own thoughts and actions that are not helping me be my best version of myself?
  2. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. What actionable steps can I take to improve how I react to trials? How can I amend habits that have been damaging to my body, family, spirit, heart, mind, finances, community? With whom do I need to seek reconciliation this year? Am I seeking grace through prayer and the sacraments?
  3. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. This is the great truth of our lives. How can we live our lives to reflect the Gospel to the world? What suffering can we alleviate? Is there something I feel God calling me to do that I am avoiding? How can I let the light of the Gospel shine to those I meet on my way through 2018? How can I remind myself of the joy of the Gospel life? How can I nourish my soul so that I can overflow joy and life to those around me?
  4. In his name, my God, have mercy. I choose to walk into the new year clothed in God’s mercy, in Jesus’ name. God’s mercy is infinite, tender, and covers all my failings. Mercy covers all my woundedness, all my sorrow, all my sin. Mercy gives me the courage to face a new year even after the perfect storm of trouble that hit us recently. While I live and breathe, I can share God’s mercy. 

Printable New Year’s Resolution Worksheet

For when you’re ready to get down to setting some goals, I tossed together a free printable worksheet to help you choose a few goals for the new year. Enjoy!

Free Printable New Year's Resolution Worksheet

This post is part of the CWBN Blog Hop. Check out what other Catholic bloggers are dreaming about for the New Year at Reconciled to You.

4 thoughts on “The Act of Contrition: a Meditation for the New Year”

  1. Such a great way to approach the Act of Contrition, and using that to guide your approach to nailing down a list for the New Year!

    I look forward to seeing what comes with your blog, but also with these goals as they become firmer in your mind!

  2. Brilliant! My heart has been aching for something like this for awhile now. Thanks for breaking down that Act of Contrition . . . now I feel like I have somewhere to go in planning goals for 2018!

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