My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
As we begin a New Year let us reflect upon what is truly important in our lives. New Years is normally a time of year where we welcome in and celebrate a new beginning in our life. It is a time when we leave behind an old way of life and look forward to something new and better in the coming year. We make resolutions or a commitment to one or more personal goals that we would like to form or change in our lives and it is seen as being advantageous to do so.
The practice of setting a resolution has a religious origin. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. Many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions at services held in their church.
As you prepare for this New Year, consider making a resolution that will deepen your faith, your prayer life or your relationship with God. If you are going to succeed at resolution, you must have a plan in place on how you will accomplish it. It is wise to begin small and build from there. It is better to have a specific resolution rather than a general. I will say my prayers and/or pray the rosary every day. I will read two books about the Catholic faith or on some area of spiritual growth. I will spend one hour each week of uninterrupted time with my spouse and/or family each week. I will attend one weekday Mass each week in addition to my Sunday obligation. If you try to do too much too quickly, you normally get discouraged and give up on your resolution. That is why we seldom are able to keep our resolutions.
I would encourage all families to develop a “family goal” together. A commitment to each other to do something as a family, ideally spiritually or something that will bring you closer together as a family. We will say the blessing before Sunday meal or before every meal. We will turn off our cell phones during all meals so that we can visit uninterrupted. We will pray the Rosary as a family one day a week. Family time is something that seems to be harder and harder to fit into our busy schedules. We will attend Mass every Sunday. So if our family is important to us then we can do without some of the other things that we put ahead of our God and our loved ones and show and teach them the importance of faith and family.
As we begin this New Year I wish you a Safe, Happy and Healthy New Year filled with an abundance of God’s love and blessings.
Fr. David Hebert