CATHOLIC AT HOME: A RESOLUTION THAT REALLY MATTERS
I have to admit, though, that I’m not anticipating the same New Year’s Day thrill this year. I dread that the events of 2020, both widespread and personal, will leave a lingering smudge on the canvas of 2021. Though a new year typically stirs the soul and invites change, I’m convinced that, instead of committing to any form of self-improvement, what we really need is MORE JESUS.
Personally, I’d like a little more certainty in my days. I want life to be better – to be, after the chaos of 2020, peaceful. So, I’m proposing a New Year’s resolution for the entire archdiocese: to increase our intake of Christ.
I know it seems like an ambiguous concept, but if we make specific changes in ourselves and with our families, we’ll see holy fruits beyond our expectations.
DON’T WAIT TO PRAY
Too often, we put off prayer because we’re discontented with ourselves and we regard God as an authority who wants us on our best behavior. Though the Lord wants us to do good, He accepts us without condition.
Lately I’ve found incredible freedom in knowing that the Lord takes me as I am, and there’s more wisdom in asking Him to uphold me and walk with me than trying to handle life alone. Practically speaking, this resolution means offering simple pleas: Hear me. See me. Show me where You are. Give me strength and grace. We can’t hide anything from God, but because of His infinite mercy, we don’t need to.
In anything that burdens you, whether current events or personal temptation, just start talking. Jesus hears you and works for your good. Kneel before sacred images in your home. Sing your favorite hymn as you go about the day. Pray with family before the day ends, letting each member voice his or her intentions.
INCREASE THE SACRAMENTS
When I recall gospel stories that involved desperate circumstances, uncertainty or chaos, I take note of how Jesus reacted. Aboard a storm-tossed boat, He rose from sleep to calm the storm. When an angry mob tried to throw Him over a cliff, He passed peacefully through the crowd. Granted, Christ’s divinity allowed Him to handle crises miraculously, but, still, I can try to imitate His confidence and faith. This happens when I get to know Jesus through the sacraments. In order to reflect His mercy, I need to receive it, and this is best experienced in Confession. In order to love as He loves, I must receive the Eucharist. John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).
As your parish allows, attend Mass not just on Sunday, but at least once more during the week. When this is impossible, make a spiritual communion and trust that Christ will draw near to you. Attend Confession as a family when it’s offered on a weekend, or to avoid lines, make an appointment with your pastor for yourself or your whole family.
Praying without hesitation and receiving the Lord as a family through the sacraments amplifies our peace and confidence. We’ll be grounded, ready to handle both personal and common difficulties with grace. With a new year ahead, let us live with divinely-seeded peace. Plans may get canceled. There will be uncertainty, but we will plant ourselves firmly, confident in God’s faithfulness to us.
This article appeared in the January 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.