Happy New Year!
I love new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions! I think it has to do with the realization that I fall seriously short in many aspects of my life and sometimes all I want is a “redo”! I look to the future, to bigger and brighter days, to days full of good habits, good friends and good memories; despite my own shortcomings. I see this internal battle not only in myself but others as well.
The endless pursuit of diets and exercise routines and the self-help section at the library reveal a natural tendency to let ourselves go! We struggle to better ourselves and create good habits. The bad patterns we have created for ourselves can lead not only to our own feelings of failure and disappointment but also to our own destruction; physical, mental and spiritual. Our health, families, finances and communities can struggle if we have not ordered our lives to some higher good!
Often we realize we can’t do it on our own! We need help and motivation and a living example to reveal to us the way! We seek out professionals; personal trainers, gurus, dietician or life coaches. We want hope! It is a cottage industry showing others how to live well and get the most out of their lives. We want to know how others do it and be assured we can accomplish the same. We realize it takes more than positive thinking and good intentions. Within three months of wanting new beginnings, new change and renewed hope I fall back into old routines! We need a resolution!
St. Paul wrote of this struggle to the Romans in chapter 7, verses 15-25 in the New Testament, “What i want to do, i don’t, and what i don’t, i do! ” We are a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in us; a certain struggle of tendencies between “spirit” and “flesh”. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle. The Catholic Church calls this concupiscence! Concupiscence, is a fancy word defined by the dictionary as meaning a strong desire. The Catholic Church defines it as our inclination to sin. We all have concupiscence! We all have this internal battle to want to do good but many times fail because we are inclined to do the opposite and fall short of pleasing not only ourselves but, God as well.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak . Human nature, created good by God, is now fallen from its original grace. Our intellect is darkened, our will is weakened and there is disunity between body and spirit. Deep inside we yearn for this wholeness of body, mind and soul! We seek enlightenment. We desire goodness. We know something feels wrong but we just can’t put our finger on it. Our subconscious cries out and in the fullness of time God answered. In the Christian tradition the Catholic Church teaches that God became man, in Jesus the Word made Flesh, to save us and renew us. Through Jesus, God delivers us from our fallen human nature and restores us to a new life through baptism and the sacraments.
For Christians and all mankind, Jesus is our hope, He is our new resolution! He is the new beginning , the new creation, the new Adam making all things new in himself! Jesus is our Example, He shows us the way to live and treat others. He is our Savior by his life, death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead and Ascension into Heaven, he takes away our penalty for sin and reveals to us the only way to God the Father is through him. It is Christ that turns our struggles, weakness and failures into victory. When we accept Christ through baptism, because he is God in the flesh, he forgives us our past sins, makes us a part of his holy family, gives us a home in his Church and lifts us up into his divinity! We become one with Christ so that through his death we will also rise to new life. Accepting Christ and living a life in his Spirit according to his example makes us a new creation and He promises eternal life with him to those that believe!
It is through Christ that we can truly renew ourselves and make a better future for ourselves! Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John14:6) I want to invite you to a new way of life! It’s not about “me”! I want you to know “Truth!” It will set you “free”. If you are wanting a new start and fresh beginning then look to Jesus and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and begin a life of renewal, living in the spirit.
We strive to make promises to do better, to get healthier, to read more, to enjoy life and not “stress” ourselves out over every little thing! Can we not add more time for prayer? Can we take one hour to go to Mass on Sunday? Can we offer up our sufferings for others? Can we forgive more and do with less? Instead of despairing over some sin committed can I not promptly confess it? Who can I love more? What can I do for others? Who is in need that I can help? How can I give to God what is pleasing? By addressing the spiritual and physical needs of others and yourself and offering yourself to God and allowing him to work through you, your life becomes healthier, happier, and holier!
This year why not make a simple resolution. Turn away from at least one bad habit that you struggle with and turn toward reconciliation with God through Jesus and His Church. Offer your sufferings up to him for penance and ask God to amend your life. Take baby steps if you must. If you are not Catholic start going to a local Catholic Church. Talk to a Priest, go to Mass, learn more about the faith by going to RCIA classes. Maybe even consider baptism if you have not received it and/ or confession if you have not been in a while. Make a small commitment every week. We all have the choice to renew our lives daily. Because we are human we have the tendency to fail and that’s ok! Keep trying! It is a simple resolution that has an eternal consequence. Next year you will be able to look back and see the great journey you began started with one resolution! Taking the first step.
There is no better time than the present.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ; not counting men’s trespasses against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
~ 2 Corinthians 5:7-20