Resolutions for the New Year
“No matter where you go…there you are.” A tricky little truism, but here we are in our “New Year”, and it’s already getting old…four weeks old to be exact. Still time, however, to firm up some resolutions to make this new year…a year that is truly beneficial to us in the most important of ways. And what could be more important than our growth in the grace, love, and peace, that is so abundantly available when we align ourselves with God’s Will? We pray that all the time in the Our Father…“Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done.” We should mean what we say to our Father, God. Do we really?
So God’s grace, peace and love should sound attractive, particularly if we have been undergoing any hardships or heartbreaks. If we can simply commit this year to cut through the clutter of worldly attractions and distractions, and, in their place, let us embrace with conviction, that the most important objective we have, from the moment we are born, is to attain life everlasting in His heavenly kingdom…our heavenly homeland. This had been lost…and His ignominious death on the cross regained it for us. Take a moment and consider…that our God suffered and died…to re-open the doors to His eternal kingdom of glory, peace, beauty and love; a kingdom beyond our imagining.
With this considered …back now to our resolves to make this a bountiful and blessed new year. Prosperity, good health, peace, and contentment, I sincerely desire for you. But my fervent prayer, for all in our parish family, is for you to experience the glow, comfort, consolation, grace and peace that will flow out upon you, when you increase your reliance and trust in God. Our trust and reliance will be exhibited by how well we live in accord with the precepts Christ gave us for a holy life.
We all know He desires that we pray with regularity; read His sacred Word in the Bible; maintain a state of grace with Mass and regular confession (don’t let the evil one deceive you that you don’t need any forgiveness and your little sins don’t matter); celebrate holy Mass with attentiveness and piety and try adding a weekday Mass to your plans; make, at the minimum, a monthly Holy Hour before the exposed Body of Christ; with your health considered, add a weekly fast to your prayer life (Jesus taught us that it adds power to our prayerful petitions); humbly respond to Our Blessed Mother’s constant appeal for you and I to say a Rosary every day; and then add a Corporal and a Spiritual Work of Mercy into each week.
Obviously there are myriad other spiritual endeavors and activities that will enrich your spiritual life and increase the consequential peace and happiness. Also, included in our quest for eternal life in His Kingdom, is our commitment to display good stewardship of our gifts. Not often thought of by many, as being a spiritual consideration, our life of strong faith and our call to be generous stewards with our gifts… are inseparable elements of being charitable disciples of Christ. Stewardship is every bit as much a part of our call to discipleship as our sacramental and prayer life.
So, while looking to embrace, and perhaps reinforce, our spiritual path to Heaven, I would ask that you consider your pledged support to our recent Stewardship of Treasure appeal for this year, as being a means for your spiritual strengthening and growth. Our Lord did not separate tithing and charitableness from our path to holiness, even though many today tend to think of them as separate. Our renewal pledges began January 1st, and with all the busyness of the recent months, not much has been mentioned regarding our renewed pledges.
I do want to again thank the many loyal and generous parishioners for your commitment to supporting our parish. In a recent brief review, some interesting data was brought to my attention, that raises concern, and I would like to share it with you. The percent of non-givers, and givers of less than $2 per week is growing rapidly. The percentage for those categories prior to 2016 was around 35-37% and then in 2016 it grew to 43.6%. And then this past year, 2017 it has grown to 46.7% of parishioner families. While in no way judging any one, we do need to remember the poor widow, and emulate her spiritual commitment to making even a small sacrifice.
Please consider, if you have not already done so, helping to reduce that growing number of non-givers, and may your spiritual life bring you great peace in this new year.