A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘resolutions

I’m not a huge fan of spending the better part of an hour clearing away snow right after breakfast. But I have a bulldog who won’t venture down the deck stairs if I don’t clear a good path, and so I can’t just clear the driveway.

In any case, I’ve always loved the way a fresh snowfall makes everything seem like a blank canvas, clean and new.

snowy park

The view from my living room today…

Kind of like the way a new year feels like a fresh start.

We’ve begun a new liturgical year with the start of Advent, and a new calendar year is just around the corner, hard as that might be to believe.

It’s the perfect time to look back at whether we achieved our goals, realized our dreams, or made changes for the better and to look forward to where we’d like to be one year from now. And that includes reflecting on our faith life.

Is this the year we learn more about what’s really in the Catechism or make a point of reading about the lives of the saints? The year we step into a new ministry role by becoming a lector or leading a sacramental preparation team? The year we try praying the rosary or take a class in Christian meditation? The year we make a pilgrimage to a holy site?

The year we spend more time actually living out our faith instead of talking about our plans for living out our faith?

Part of our Christmas preparations could include making the time to attend a reconciliation service and to ask God’s guidance about whether we’re following his plan for our lives or whether we need to make some course corrections.

I pray that, during this busy season, we would find moments for time in God’s presence as well as quiet reflection on the year nearly over and the one soon to begin.

They shall bring gold and frankincense,

and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

~ Isaiah 60:6*

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Epiphany. As the priest pointed out, we think of this as the time when the Wise Men—however many there were—followed the star to Judea and sought the king of the Jews. When they found Jesus in Bethlehem, “they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

As the priest also noted, these Wise Men came from the East. This “showing forth” of the Messiah wasn’t just for the Jews but for all peoples. And we are to show Jesus to others.

So how are we doing on that score? Is our faith made plain by the way we live? For example, could we be more forgiving and generous? Could we worry less, letting “the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day” (Matthew 6:34), and trust God more? I know I could.

Do we invite others to come and see? Could we invite someone to a Catholic Women’s League or Knights of Columbus event or a Bible study? Could we encourage our teens to invite a friend to a youth group activity? I know I’d like my husband and I to have more friends who share our faith, and I’d like the same for my son.

And do we share our treasures? We may not have a lot of “gold” to offer, but do we offer the best of ourselves—our time and talents—in serving our family, our parish and our community? I’d like to find more ways to share in the life of my parish and this city—to let the things that touch my heart move me to act.

Early January feels like the right time to set in motion changes in our lives that we’d like to make this year. Beyond the usual resolutions to quit smoking, lose weight and get organized, we can resolve to show Jesus to others and share the gifts he has given us. To give others the opportunity to know about his love and receive his blessings.

For you bless the righteous, O LORD;

you cover him with favor as with a shield.

~ Psalm 5:12

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

The turkey dinner, presents and Christmas Day itself are now a happy memory. But the best part of the day was the peace.

Yes, everything was hushed in our neighbourhood—no traffic sounds, barking dogs or even shovels clearing the latest snowfall—since people were spending the day with their families instead of rushing off to work or go shopping. But I don’t mean peace and quiet. I mean the sense of peace that comes only at Christmas.

Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I spend time with my family and we enjoy just being together, rather than running errands, nagging about chores, hurrying to make appointments, or dealing with the day-to-day. We’re at peace with one another and home is somehow happier.

In the community, people tend to be kinder and more generous to their neighbours and charities than at other times of the year. And more people attend church at Christmas to enjoy that sense of peace. My parish church was standing room only, both in the nave and in the church hall.

I wish every day could be like Christmas. Not for the presents, the preparations or the food, but that spirit of goodwill. I think that’s why many of us suffer from the “January blahs.” Read the rest of this entry »

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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