Same old, same old…and/or A time to die and a time to be born…

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP
Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

Endings and Beginnings

What personal rituals do you have for the ending and the beginning of a new year? Do you throw things out which you are no longer using, or begin new projects or new resolutions with the start of a new year? Is this time of year just like every other time of year for you?

One of the practices that I have retained from my novitiate experience is taking time for a reflection day, looking back over the past year and looking ahead to hopes and dreams I have. I find it helpful to ponder where I’ve been, where I gave my energy during the past year, and where I hope to grow, especially in regard to my relationships with others.

Here are some exercises I use and questions I ask myself –

  1. What three things would you do today if you found out that you will die tomorrow?
  2. Write a three sentence obituary about yourself.
  3. Create a bucket list of 5 items which you hope to complete within the next year, 3 years, and 5 years of your life. What steps do you want to take to bring these hopes to life?

I’ve also borrowed a few reflection questions from Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Mary Ann Nelson, OP. These can be helpful as you ponder. I encourage you to give yourself permission to spend some reflection time, and then ask a friend or two to share responses with you.

…Looking Back at the Past Year…

  • What seasons and times have surprised and delighted you?
  • What seasons and times have transformed you? In what ways have you changed? How do you feel about that?
  • Do you have any regrets, hurts and pain you are carrying from the year? How can you leave it behind?
  • What from the year do you want to take with you into the future personally? Within your family or community?
  • If you think of this year as a chapter in the book of your life, what title would you give it?
  • What, if any, Scripture passages have touched you this year?

…Looking Forward at the New Year…

Ours is a God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises. We are gifted with a new year.

  • What do you look forward to in the new year?
  • Do you have any anxieties about the coming year? If so, name them.
  • What questions are you hoping to answer for yourself?
  • Every year, every day holds surprises. How do you want to meet this new year and all that each day holds personally and within your family or community?
  • What, if any, Scripture passages give you hope for the year ahead?


From your reflection, what stands out for you that you’d like to share?

Posted in God Calling?

3 responses to “Same old, same old…and/or A time to die and a time to be born…

  1. Thank you Sr. Cathy. I love this piece. The questions can be used individually or in a group as Sr. Amy says. Peace!

  2. Thanks for sharing this Cathy will be useful for discussing with family and friends in this new year.

  3. Thanks, Cathy. These are great questions for a new year reflection day! They could even serve as conversation starters for sisters/friends at a dinner table any day…

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