Did you attain the spiritual goals you set for yourself last year? One of mine was to have a greater devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and while it is a work in progress, I have a greater understanding of her through the books I read last year. The two books called The Imitation of Mary, one by Thomas A Kempis and one by Alexander De Rouville are a wonderful resource; also The Glories of Mary, and From the Rose Garden of Our Lady. This year I intend to focus my Marian devotion on Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, for the assistance I will need in this year's goal of penance and fasting. I intend to do the Lenten fast, all 40 days, and also to fast on Fridays throughout this year. And for the penance, I want to do one act of penance every day; perhaps following St. Therese's example of offering up small sacrifices as penance. There are many ways of doing penance. A simple one in these days of cold weather is to endure the cold without complaint, or to give to a charity that gives warm clothing to the homeless. My little book, Purgatorian Manual, has this to say:
Although great works of penance and mortification are not expected of everyone, yet there is no one who could not occasionally deny himself a part of some favourite dish or some amusement, mortify his eyes, ears or tongue, observe silence for a short time, bear in patience the pain of sickness, heat or cold, or any other adversity, or curb his self-will and evil inclinations; in fact, bear with submission and gratitude to God everything that causes pain and distress.
O Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
I also wished to increase my devotion to St. Joseph, whom I have taken as my patron saint for this year. What an easy devotion this has proved to be! Several things happened last year that I attribute to St. Joseph hearing and answering my prayers, and I continue to pray daily to him and to pray the "to thee O blessed Joseph" prayer after my daily rosary. The little prayer book from Tan, Favorite Prayers To St. Joseph, contains wonderful and simple prayers and devotions. This saint is powerful in his assistance, and I urge you to pray to him with confidence.