For many of us we are getting back into the swing of the new academic year, that, or preparing to go back to university. I love September for the fact that it feels like a second fresh start within the year. It’s an opportunity to realign my priorities and focus again after a slower summer. As we step into this new season of work and study, it’s worth taking the time to ask God where and what he is doing in it all.
Starting the year in a strong stead has always been important for me in setting the tone of how the rest of the year will be. Someone who continues to help me through the everyday tasks is St Josemaría Escrivá. He prompts me to address where I am failing and calls me on to be a saint myself. Here are the top tips from him in starting the year strong.
Be clear what you want to achieve
In this time of God, the time when you are in this world, make up your mind in earnest to do something worthwhile; time is pressing and the mission of men, of women, on earth is so noble, heroic and glorious when it enkindles withered and rotten hearts with the fire of Christ!
—It is worthwhile taking peace and happiness to others through a robust and jubilant crusade.(613, The Furrow)
The first Habit in the book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to ‘Keep the End in Mind’. Where do you want to get to this year? What do you want to achieve? This mission statement for the year, and for life, can help you stay focused on where you are going.
“Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love.”(489, The Furrow)
Procrastination is my worst enemy, putting off the hard work until I can’t hide from it anymore! St Josemaría Escrivá helps by reminding me that my work is not just for itself, but a beautiful offering of love to the Lord. With this in mind, work no longer becomes something I can’t stand, but something I can joyfully bring into my everyday.
Make sure you have balance
A calm and balanced character, an inflexible will, deep faith and an ardent piety: these are the indispensable characteristics of a son of God.(417, The Furrow)
Working hard is a gift and important in starting the year strong, however this needs a balance of the essentials: enough sleep, eating well, drinking water, exercise, and enjoying time with friends. All of these give my soul so much more peace and help me keep running the marathon. Along with making time for prayer each day, they keep me in check and help me not get too overwhelmed.
Persevere and be mission focused
Say to him: ecce ego quia vocasti me! Here I am, for you have called me!(7, The Forge)
In all things, Jesus is so ready to pour out his grace to help you fulfil the task that is right in front of you. He has called you for such a time as this! As irrelevant as it might feel in that moment, from school, to mundane tasks at work, Jesus has called you to be a disciple and to carry out this work with love. In the moments I have felt stressed, or out of my depth, a simple cry of my heart of ‘Here I am, for you have called me!’ has pulled me out of situations that felt too consuming and overwhelming.
Let us start this year ahead, serving God and offering him all moments of our daily lives!
Daisy currently works for a London based think tank on UK policy. She is a trustee for the Catholic Student Network and currently lives in Twickenham at the Loretto HOME. Get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org For more on the Catholic Student Network, go to https://www.catholicstudentnetwork.co.uk/.
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