Most New Year’s resolutions usually fail within the first month of the year. Instead of making resolutions, why not try daily sacrifices instead? I got the idea when I read about St. Therese of Lisieux and her “pulling beads”. St. Therese would carry in her pocket, a cord with beads on it. Every time she made a sacrifice, she would pull a bead to the other end. The sacrifices she made were gifts to God. The beads are called Good Deed Beads or Sacrifice beads and they are a powerful tool in effort for growing in virtue. And, the best way to combat vice is with virtue.
I decided to “pull beads” instead of making resolutions. However, my sacrifice beads will have a twist, I won’t just keep track of my daily sacrifices but I will track sacrifices for the year. The beads will be loose beads and I will collect them until Advent. During Advent, I will string the beads to create garland and hang the garland for Christmas.
The first thing you will need is something to be able to track your daily sacrifices. Using a set of Good Deed Beads is a great way to track daily sacrifices but it is not necessary. You could use a small notebook, piece of paper, etc. It is good to have something that you can keep on your person so that you don’t forget to make your sacrifices. St. Theresa’s Good Deed Beads are easy to make and instructions are available here.
You will need at least two containers to hold the loose beads. One container to hold the beads that are not used yet and the other to hold the beads that represent your sacrifices. It is a good idea to label the sacrifice bead container so that you don’t get the two confused. I say, at least two containers because it depends on the size of the container and the amount of the sacrifices. With more sacrifices, you may need more containers.
The next step is finding what beads to use. You could buy them at a craft store, but it might be more interesting and lot less expensive if you create beads from what you have on hand. For example, you could use old costume jewelry, buttons and religious metals. I’m also going to try and make beads from recycled Christmas wrap and Christmas cards.
Once Advent starts, you will need string to pull all the beads together and create the garland. Advent is a time to slow down, a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Stringing the beads together is a great way to just that, to slow down and to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
This project would be great for an individual or a family. And, the stringing of the beads would make a great Advent tradition. My main hope though, is that the sacrifice beads draw us nearer to God.
He must increase; I must decrease – John 3:30