My column published recently in The Catholic Weekly.
Many of us love to launch into a new year with resolutions that only see us through the first couple of weeks of January, as popular website and magazine publishers know too well.
We start the New Year with goals and resolutions, some serious, some more frivolous, but the resolution-making is a good thing in itself.
The Catholic author GK Chesterton beautifully wrote that, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions.”
So I have made a few resolutions, and hope to see them through to 2016. But as I was reflecting over the last year, one thing I realised was that the aspects I’d enjoyed the most were not really of my doing but someone else’s or God’s.
Even my energy and health, which I rely upon so much but are easily take for granted, are given by God. I really can’t take all the credit for what I’m able to do because of them. They could be taken away from me at any time, and sometimes are taken away with something as simple as a headache or a cold and there’s nothing I can do about it and no reason to feel like a failure.
There’s no reason for me to be too proud of my good resolutions and successes, and there’s none for me too discouraged over my failures. A particular man may make New Year’s Resolutions, and should make good ones, but essentially it is God who remakes the man through them. God will use both our success and failures to bring us a little closer to him by next January.
There is inspiration everywhere in the world at the moment, such as in the faith of the Christians of the Middle East who continue to suffer from persecution. I recently came across the online journal of a 34-year-old mother of six who died in December, Kathy’s Miracle.
Kathy was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I found her unfailing trust in God, her courage and thoughts on life and motherhood deeply inspiring. I hope that, with the additional help of the Catholic Church and especially its sacraments, I can live a little more in that same spirit every day.
And so this January I’m thinking less of goals, although God-willing I will accomplish a few small personal and family goals this year, but mostly I hope to give the Holy Spirit a little more room to make me into the person I am meant to be.
That is, a person looking less like the perfectly groomed, tanned, and lean people in the January editions of the magazines, and more like someone who is related to the Person who is Christ.