A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

I Resolve…

Posted on: January 5, 2015

With a new year come new resolutions—or old resolutions that we vow, once again, to keep. For example, I’m renewing my New Year’s resolutions to reach a healthier weight and to arrive a few minutes before the start time for lessons and appointments.

Many of us have resolved to find exercise that we enjoy, to quit smoking, to get organized, to cut back on or cut out caffeine, or to meet some other goal.

I heard on the radio the other day that most people give up on their resolutions by mid-February. Perhaps it’s because of black-and-white thinking: either we stick perfectly to our resolutions or we quit. But maybe it’s time to stop hoping that we can snap our fingers and instantly be the people we want to be and to stop trying do things in our own strength, whatever aspect of our character, our habits or our lives we want to change.

We need to make our goals specific, measurable and achievable and plan how we’ll accomplish them. And we can ask others to use their talents and abilities to help us, to keep us accountable, or to join us in striving to hit these targets. But maybe, in making our plans, we’re ignoring the spiritual side of things.

In the “Celebrate December 2014” column of last month’s Catholic Digest, I read this quote from St. John Chrysostom:

Grace can do nothing without the will, and the will can do nothing without grace.

Rather than just trust our gut feelings about the changes we should make and rely on our willpower to make them, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to show us how God would have us transform our lives with his help, and to pray that the Spirit would guide and strengthen us in going forward.

For those who, like me, make New Year’s resolutions and struggle to keep them, I pray that we would take heart in remembering that Jesus, “because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18*).

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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