I love a good holiday gift guide, but — a goal guide? Now we’re really speaking my love language.
Here are some of my favorite resources to help you accomplish your spiritual goals in 2019 (and I’ve thrown in some resources for your kids, too):
To strengthen your prayer life
- Pray More Novenas (1): If you’re not signed up for this super handy email service, I highly recommend it. The lovely couple behind the ministry send novena prayers to your inbox so you don’t have to remember when to pray a popular novena or worry about skipping a day.
- A Parent Who Prays: A Journal to Guide You in Praying for Your Children (2): This journal is meant to help you pray in a more intentional, focused way for your children. It offers 52 unique, beautiful intentions to focus on in prayer for each week of the year, short saint quotes, Bible verses and prayers, along with some space to fill in personal intentions and spiritual bouquets. There are also versions for Grandparents, Godparents, Sponsors, Teachers, and a Spanish version.
- Sweet Oak Kitchen abacus rosary (or similar) (3) or Catholic Woodworker mini prayer stand (4): These resources are ideal if you’re looking to pray the Rosary more but struggle to find the time to really focus on this devotion. The kitchen rosary allows you to pray as you go about your housework, while the prayer stand is perfect to pack and take along with you – along with your rosary (there are beautiful ones available through the same site) – if you travel for work or otherwise – a great tool to keep your prayer life on track even while away from home.
- Printable quick-reference prayer guide for families (5): a one-sheet with simple ideas for family prayer. This resource is easy to print, free, and can even engage children by allowing them to take part in guiding how and what the family prays together.
To read the Bible more
- Blessed Is She Catholic Journaling Bible (6) or The Great Adventure Catholic Bible (7): Sometimes it just takes a really beautiful Bible to breathe a little extra energy into your Scripture reading routine. These are two of my favorites that are both new and have unique features that will leave you craving time in God’s Word even more.
- Bible in a Year (8): Anything by the Augustine Institute is well worthy of landing on a quality resource list, and Bible in a Year is no exception. If you want to work your way through the entire Bible while reading solid, inspiring and informative commentary from some of the best Scripture scholars today, this book is for you.
- The Word of the Lord: A Child’s First Scripture Verses (9): this one is for the little ones in your life – a great primer to a full-length Bible, this board book has verses straight from Sacred Scripture accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It’s wonderful to have a good children’s Bible in the home, but if you also want to fill your child’s heart with inspiring Bible verses that are especially relevant to little ones, or if you want your child to start memorizing Scripture, you might really enjoy this book.
To enhance your experience of the Mass
- First, start with this short video by Fr. Mike Schmitz (10). He reminds the listener that Mass isn’t about us, it’s about worship. If you find yourself falling into the trap of expecting to be entertained at Mass or asking “What can I get out of it?” then this will help you reset your thinking and focus on what you can give to God.
- Every Sacred Sunday (11): This takes the cake for the most gorgeous Mass journal. I recently finished working my way through the first edition and I couldn’t wait to open this up to review the Sunday readings each week. I ended up popping this journal in the car to review the readings with my husband and kids on our weekly drive to Sunday Mass.
- To Hear His Voice (12): This is a Mass journal for Catholic kids. If you’ve got Every Sacred Sunday or a similar journal, why not get your kids in the Mass journaling habit as well? Holy Heroes offers a free Sunday Mass prep (13) email service, which is another great resource for kids.
- Homily/Sunday reading podcasts (14): There are a number of good ones out there, and they really do help you dive deeper into the Scripture you will hear at Mass each week. I find listening to a good podcast one of the most important parts of my regular Sunday Mass prep, especially since my little children can innocently distract me from listening during the liturgy. Bishop Barron has a good sermon podcast with short, powerful Gospel reflections and The Word on the Hill podcast by the Lanky Guys unpacks all of the readings and finds their common thread.
- I Went to Mass: What Did I See? (15): Our favorite picture book to read during the week to get us excited about going to Mass. Best for little ones. Think Brown Bear Brown Bear - but with all Catholic things.
To get to know the saints
- Saints name generator (16): This handy little resource will give you a random saint which you can spend the next year learning about, while imploring your new patron’s intercession. Have the whole family do it so you can take turns sharing about your saints with each other.
- Books like A Year with the Saints (17) (for adults) and Cloud of Witnesses: A Child’s First Book of Saints (18) (for kids): These are perfect resources to learn more about the saints and from the saints by immersing yourself into their very own words and writings.
- Saint dolls: These are so popular now – and for good reason. Kids learn so much through play, and many Catholic artisans have taken to producing beautiful wooden saint peg dolls on Etsy (like these, for example), and companies like Shining Light Dolls (19) also get adorable little saints into the hands of little ones (and the saints come with handy little cards explaining a little about their lives).
- Saint movies (20): I love the selection of saint movies for both adults and children on FORMED.org. Check with your parish to see if they have a FORMED subscription. If they do, they can provide you with a login code to access all of the great FORMED content for free.
To improve your marriage
- Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage (21): I love a good devotional, but one I can do with my spouse is even better. This six-week devotional, inspired by Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, will have you both reconnecting in an intentional way.
- Beloved (22): This video series, also from FORMED.org, is great for use at home or in a group setting. Recommend it to your parish or grab some couple friends and go through the series together.
- Popcak books: I think Dr. Greg Popcak from the Pastoral Solutions Institute and the More2Life radio program offers some particularly helpful books on marriage. I particular recommend The Exceptional 7 Percent and When Divorce is Not An Option (23). Don’t let the title of the latter steer you away if you’re in a healthy marriage; I found the strategies in the book excellent for all couples.
- Retrouvaille program/retreat (24): If your marriage is struggling and you feel like you need a lifeline, this is it. Don’t keep putting off help; this resource may be a lifesaver for you and your spouse this year.
To study the Catechism
- Catechism in a Year (25): Read the entire Catechism in a year with these Monday through Friday emails sent to your inbox.
- Lego Catechism of the Seven Sacraments (26): Such a neat book in terms of design, and the content is excellent, too. The adults will likely learn right along with the kids.
- Catholic Sprouts (27): My new favorite podcast for kids. Nancy, the host, will deliver short, catechetical episodes to your kids Monday through Friday each week. My kids look forward to listening to them every morning at breakfast.
To live the liturgical year at home
- Celebrate the Feasts e-book (28): This free e-guide offers a summary of each major solemnity, some reading recommendations, and simple ideas for celebrating. Keep it on your desktop for easy reference.
- Catholic Family Crate (29): This awesome subscription box service themes their crates and allows you to live the faith at home with your kids in a very doable way.
- The Catholic All Year Compendium (30): This book was just released but was immediately popular based on its both comprehensive and easy to reference content for liturgical living at home.
- Observe the Ember Days podcast or year-round no meat Fridays: This podcast overviews what Ember Days are all about and this article explains why abstaining from meat every Friday is a good Catholic practice that shouldn’t just be reserved for Lent.
To do more spiritual reading
- Best Catholic Books of All Time: Great reading list from Brandon Vogt. Try to pick one a month.
- FirstFaithTreasury.com (31): A new line of picture books and board books for Catholic kids. Solid catechesis and adorable illustrations – there are several more coming out next year, so pop in your email if you want to know when new books release.
- Fr. Jacques Philippe books: These are usually my favorite spiritual reads. Start with Searching for and Maintaining Peace (32), The Way of Trust and Love, and Thirsting for Prayer.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive, so, please, fill up the comment section with your own favorite resources to help you and others reach their spiritual goals this coming year.