This listening process can help us shift from adopting a conventional New Year's resolution to a way of cooperating with life-giving grace in the past year. It can help move us from a more self-focused determination to a greater responsiveness to the Spirit - to what God is doing in our lives.

This prayerful listening is best experienced in three steps, one each day for three days:

DAY 1 - Step 1: Listening for Life-Giving Graces (15-20')

  • I ask for the gift of listening.
  • I let my mind freely recall significant memories of the past year (without having to be comprehensive).
  • I pay attention to any experience that helped me GROW spiritually, particularly in becoming more:
    • fully alive (more accepting of my own dreams, desires, frailty, suffering, brokenness, or limitations)
    • truly myself (allowing myself to be fully seen, accepted or forgiven)
    • interiorly free (less attached to people and things I care passionately about)
    • self-giving (generous, sacrificing, etc.)
    • receptive to mercy or tenderness
  • With each event, I reflect on: What happened? Who was involved? How was I affected or changed? How was God caring for me, loving me, inviting me to grow (even through painful or difficult moments)?
  • I talk to God as if with a close friend about what emerges within me, listening to what this friend may want to communicate with me.

DAY 2 - Step 2: Choosing a Concrete Response (10-12')

  • I ask for the grace to listen more deeply.
  • I reflect on any life-giving graces I have observed in the past year, noticing any reoccurring pattern of growth.
  • I listen and speak to God about any of my habits or virtues that has helped in this growth, and how I can better cooperate with God.
  • I ask to see any area of struggle, unhealthy habit or attachment, that God may invite me to look into more carefully and humbly.
  • With God, I choose 1-2 concrete growth action(s) or behavior(s). This could be a new or a forgotten/neglected habit.

DAY 3 - Step 3: Seeking Confirmation (5-7')

  • I ask for the grace to confirm my decision to grow with God.
  • I bring to awareness the 1-2 growth habit(s) or action(s) I considered cultivating yesterday.
  • As I imagine living out that habit for the next 3 weeks, do I experience:
    • Being energized or drained?
    • Greater freedom (willingness) or more should'ing (willfulness) 
    • Consolation (moving toward God, peace, love) or Desolation (moving away from God to more dis-ease & fearfulness)?
  • I thank God for confirming my choice or ask God to help me choose a better response.