And whatever you do, in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Happy New Year!
Yesterday I returned to Dayton after spending a few days with my sister and her family. Before I left, my sister and I went to Mass together at her parish. I reflected on the readings yesterday before Mass... prayed with them again during the liturgy... and found myself returning to them this morning after reflecting on today's readings.
Well, I'm typically not one for New Year's resolutions. The way I see it, each day I should try to renew my commitment to the life to which God has called me. In that way, New Year's Day is not that different from every other day. But... the second reading from yesterday - an excerpt from chapter 3 of Paul's letter to the Colossians - caught me. It was as if St. Paul was saying, "this should be your New Year's resolution."
And what might that be?
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Goodness knows that sometimes I'm not so good at being kind and gentle! And patience? Yeah, not so much. I love the way Paul says, "and be thankful." For me, it should have an exclamation point instead of a period... "And be thankful! For crying out loud..." (I like to give Biblical writers a little sense of humor in the way I read Scripture). One of the most important lines for me is "Let the word of God dwell in you richly." That's a great sentence. For, if one were to really let the word of God dwell richly in their in most being, then I think everything else would fall into place a little more easily ("... seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given unto you ...").
Which leads me to the only real resolution: to be faithful to time spent in personal prayer each day. If I can continue to be faithful to time spent in contemplative prayer each day... faithful to meditating on the word of God (and letting it seep deeply)... then perhaps kindness, gentleness, heartfelt compassion, patience, forgiveness, and thankfulness to God won't be as difficult for me. Maybe?
So, I suppose that even though I'm not a person who makes a list each New Year's Day of all the seemingly impossible things I will accomplish in the new year, I am recommitting myself to grow each day in virtue and prayer. That's about all one can do, isn't it?
May the New Year bring each of you who read this much peace and joy...