New Year Resolutions are a tradition of beginning or continuing good practices or changing or ceasing an undesired trait or behavior. Resolutions focused on our practice of charity can improve life for ourselves, our loved ones and for our communities. Here are a few tips for some charitable resolutions for 2024:
Take your charity to prayer – Giving is not only about our treasure; there are many ways we can give to others.O However we offer it, our charity is about what is on our hearts. Our words, our actions and where we do place our treasure reflect what we value most. Recognizing that all we have is a blessing from God and returning those blessings to God through stewardship of His Church and creation requires prayer. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” We should pray alone and listen for God’s voice to guide us individually but can also pray with our family and friends. At The Catholic Foundation we pray weekly with our team our St. Katherine Drexel prayer reminding us of her example of selfless charity (shared below).
Complete or update your estate planning documents – Most Americans have not shared their wishes through estate planning documents. Estate planning documents ensure that your wishes and intentions are followed and can help you take care of yourself, your loved ones as well as causes you care about. The Catholic Foundation offers resources and referrals to everyone, regardless of budget and preferences, to help with completing estate planning documents which record your wishes and ensure they are followed. If you have completed estate documents, consider a resolution to review them each year to address any changes needed.
Pass on your values more intentionally – engage family and friends in rich traditions that share beliefs and values. Likely you experienced this recently through our Advent and Christmas seasons with the traditions of an advent wreath and house blessing. Consider the year ahead and the liturgical seasons and engage others to join you. Perhaps plan a family prayer time or plan to attend an event or service that you have not attended before such as a choir concert or adoration. Invite friends to prayer services or mission programs to share the spiritual enrichment opportunity with others. Consider our free online resource for you and your family to create a family mission statement.
Being more strategic with your financial giving – planning, researching, leveraging and setting goals for yourself helps you grow in charity. Each of us have different circumstances and so will have different goals. Some may have a goal to try to give more of our first fruits rather than giving from the remainder. Others may have a goal to understand the impact their giving is making. They engage with the parish, ministry or nonprofit to better understand how they are using the gifts they receive. Others may need to research themselves or engage with a professional advisor to plan more tax-wise strategies which help us give more. The Catholic Foundation has Chartered Advisors in Philanthropy and a Planned Giving Advisory Council to help you on your charitable journey.
Be grateful in all circumstances – it is easy for us to be grateful when good things happen to us, however we are called to be grateful in all circumstances. Paul advises in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Being grateful in difficult circumstances is not as easy and requires a deliberate effort which can perhaps be a resolution for the new year. Practicing deliberate gratitude can have positive effects on ourselves and others. For ourselves, being grateful can improve our physical and mental health. For us and others, gratefulness improves relationships and can inspire others. Studies show that individuals who are grateful are more charitable. Most importantly, living gratefully increases our trust in God. Consider a resolution to express gratitude every day for someone you appreciate, incorporate a prayer of thanksgiving to God into your daily prayers or begin a gratitude journal or blessing jar.
Whichever resolutions you choose for 2024, write them down, be specific, be realistic, engage others for support or accountability and give yourself some grace as you strive to achieve them throughout the year. The Catholic Foundation team would be honored to walk with you through the year and support you in any way we can. We hope our resources are helpful to you and please reach out to us for additional support.
Kimberlee Riley CAP® President & CEO