Resolve to flourish

By Kristine Schroeder

Lessons Learned

Shortly before Christmas, my car needed a wash. Not wanting to spare the time for it (not like my usual frugal self), I pulled in, paid the fee and proceeded to the wash. Upon entering, a sign read, “Put car in neutral. Take hands off the wheel. Do not use the brake.” Those instructions are a bit worrisome for someone who prefers to be in control of her vehicle! However, I followed the instructions.

After pulling out, it struck me that those directions are similar to what God expects of us. He wants us to take our hands off the wheel. Trust Him. Obey Him. Follow His plan. If we do that, His course for our lives will be far better than any we devise on our own. 

Here we are on the brink of another year, a clean slate so to speak. While I am still fighting the ten pounds I vowed to lose for the past five years, my piano skills show no signs of improvement, and my French is only slightly better, I have noticed that my trust in God’s plan has grown and my spiritual life has deepened.

How did that happen? I credit the change to different resolutions I have kept over the past five years. Some were encouraged by friends, some discovered through my reading, some while attending retreats, and others through prayer. I am convinced that God gives us graces for theocentric rather than egocentric resolutions if we are sincerely working towards an enhanced spiritual life. Here are six commitments that positively altered my life.

Make a weekly hour of Adoration. I credit this gift to my daughter Laura who encouraged me to sign up for a specific time. She wisely said, “It’s too easy to say you will come but then be swept away by the cares of the day.” She was correct. For the past four years, that hour each week has fueled my daily life.

Say a daily Rosary. In 2018, many cares spurred that commitment. Through meditating on the Mysteries and dedicating the time to pray for others, I have grown closer to Our Lady and have found great comfort in this prayer on many occasions.

Read the daily readings. Catholics are often criticized for not being familiar with the Bible. However, I was once told by a priest that if we read the daily readings for the three-year cycle, we would have a good grasp of the Scriptures. It has proven true.

Read the Bible. In 2020, Father Michael Schmitz and Ascension presented the podcast “The Bible in a Year.” Many times I vowed to read that book only to fall short within a month. His lively reading and discussion encouraged me to continue. On the last day of 2021, I completed that resolution! Now when listening to the Mass readings, I feel more connected to what I hear. That podcast is available anytime.

Read the Catechism. In 2023, Father Schmitz and Ascension offered the podcast “The Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church in a Year.” A member of our CRHP group suggested listening to it and meeting two times a month to discuss our findings. That proposal has proven enlightening about all aspects of our Catholic faith. I highly recommend it.

Attend a retreat. Five years after reluctantly agreeing to attend Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP), I continue to sing the praises of the group of women I met. We have spent these past sixty months sharing our faith through monthly discussions on Catholic literature and podcasts. It has been nothing short of life-changing!

Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” In some ways, our faith   reflects that idea. If we content ourselves with following the same routines we have always known, our faith will not flourish. It’s only when we venture outside the confines of our routines that we experience a rebirth of excitement and awe for the blessing of our Catholic faith. This year, let’s treat ourselves to the joy that is promised when we vow to “take a closer walk with Him.” Happy New Year!