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A New Beginning

In a few days this year of 2021 will come to a close. Like 2020, 2021 has been a challenging year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. In July, it seemed things had turned for the better. The number of new cases was way down but then came the Delta variant and now the Omicron variant. We pray for an end to the pandemic.

On January 1st we will begin the new year 2022. Each year many see the start of a new year as an opportunity to start over. Our lives do not always go as they should. Sometimes we may bad choices. Other times we slip away from what we know is good without even realizing it. Either way, we welcome the opportunity to begin anew. When we sin, God gives a chance to start over in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we come to him with a repentant and contrite heart, God forgives our sins, giving us the opportunity to start over.

With the beginning of a new year, many people will make new year’s resolutions. Will you? What do you want to change? Why do you want to change it?

Some people will make a resolution to lose weight and/or exercise more. These are good things to do but can we look a little deeper at why. For instance, we may want to lose weight to look good physically. However, another way to look at it is that if we are overweight because we eat too much, then eating less leaves more food for those who don’t have enough to eat. Likewise, exercising is good to take good care of our bodies to help us live long and healthy lives as disciples of Christ.

In thinking about new year’s resolutions we can ask ourselves if we are looking for a short-term or a long-term gain. For example, it is good to lose weight now (short-term) if we are overweight. It is better in the long-term to develop good habits to keep the weight off.

If you are thinking about making a new year’s resolution, have you taking it to prayer to ask God what He might what you to do? When you make a resolution, are you planning to do it on your own or will you ask God to help you? God wants to help. God knows our lives can be challenging. God gives us help in the Eucharist, food to strengthen our souls.

What resolution might we make in our efforts to follow Christ? Men might think of St. Joseph as an example of what it means to be a good spouse and father (See my article “Praying the Litany of St. Joseph”). Women may look to Mary as our mother for guidance.

You might consider a resolution to work on your prayer life. Here, it might come in steps. If you seldom pray on your own, you don’t need to instantly start praying an hour everyday. You might start with five to ten minutes and after a few weeks increase it some. Working on your prayer life doesn’t have to be just a matter of how long you pray. Perhaps God wants to lead you to deeper prayer (see my recent series of presentations on prayer, Giving Our Hearts to God: What It Means to Pray.

Maybe God is calling you to read the Bible more. Maybe you could do some other spiritual reading from someone like Scott Hahn. Maybe you could use a website like www.saintoftheday.org to learn more about the saints.

What can you do to give your hearts more fully to God?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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