Happy Church New Year! A Fresh Start
Every September 1st, we are invited to renew our commitment to live out our faith with intention, or, as my Spiritual Father puts it, “to be Orthodox on purpose.” Here then is an invitation for us to start the ecclesial year strong and put our priorities in order. No matter how lukewarm we’ve been in the past, this year, let us renew our commitment to follow Christ with zeal and steadfastness.
What does it mean to live our faith with intention? It means harmonizing our lives- our way of thinking, speaking, and acting- to the rhythm of the Church. This rhythm, the rhythm of the saints and angels, is shaped by the liturgies and the sacraments. By entering into this divine rhythm, we will be shaped into Christ and our hearts will be filled with the “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” the Holy Spirit promises to gift us (See Galatians 5). By tapping into this rhythm, we tap into the gift of peace the world cannot give- peace of mind and heart (See John 14:27).
To live in harmony with this rhythm, we must choose to intentionally live liturgical and sacramental lives. Here are some suggestions for our fresh start:
- Let’s renew our commitment to set aside time in the morning and at night to say our prayers. We will be starting and ending our day with repentance for our sins and gratitude for God’s mercy. If, like me, you have trouble standing still, take your prayer rope with you as you walk around your neighborhood.
- Let’s keep an Orthodox calendar in a visible place at all times, whether on our refrigerators or our phones. In this way, we can make arrangements ahead of time to go to Church not only on Sundays but also on the Great Feasts of the Church.
- Let’s also make a commitment to frequent the Sacrament of Confession and follow the guidance of our Spiritual Father.
- Another suggestion is to keep a book on the faith on your dinner table and read a few pages out loud after the meal. You can also listen to an Ancient Faith Podcasts in the car. And, if your schedule allows, you can participate in one of the adult education classes offered at your parish.
- Finally, ask yourself how you can put your talent and treasure to the service of the Kingdom of God in your local parish and community. Let us, like Christ, be people of the towel and water by having an attitude of service.
Happy Church New Year!