Yes, yes, I’ve resorted to the cliché for New Year’s Resolutions. I can’t help it. I drove by a gym on my way to church today and was thinking how full that parking lot will be for the next few weeks. And it got me thinking about fresh starts, resolutions to motivate us in the new year, and why the Catholic Church has us start the calendar year with Mass.

January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. It is a day that the Church sets aside to honor Mary as, well, the Holy Mother of God. Without her, without her “yes, without her fiat, where would we be? Maybe living lives of superficial happiness but always asking ourselves, “Is this all there is?”; maybe despairing that life is just too hard and asking ourselves, “Is this all there is?”; maybe waiting for the Messiah who will bring the hope, love, and joy we were promised so that we could say to ourselves, “This is all I need.”

So, how fitting that, at the start of a new calendar year when people are busy making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and drink less, the Catholic Church calls us to worship together, to honor this woman, who was a girl, really, when she became the Holy Mother of God, because we would have no Church without her. Despite what your teenagers may think, this is not a day set aside to punish party-goers for overdoing it on New Year’s Eve. But it’s a day of spiritual renewal, an opportunity for us to make a fresh start in our faith journeys. What better way to start a spiritual resolution than with the celebration of Mass?

I encourage you at the start of this new year to make a fresh start on your faith journey, maybe a new resolution that will enrich your spiritual life. Find a way to say “yes” to God in a way that you never have before or in a way that you know you can do on a regular basis. Maybe it’s going to Adoration once a month, maybe it’s reading the Bible for a little bit each day or each week, maybe it’s carving out daily prayer time, even if it’s only five minutes. Whatever you resolve and for however long you can do it, know that the benefits will last longer than any benefits you might get from losing weight, running a marathon, or skipping happy hour. This is the kind of resolution that can truly make you a newer, better you in the new year.