A New Year, a fresh start

January 9, 2018

We have made it to 2018! We have faced that time of the year when we go through the dreaded process of making a New Year’s resolution. We might have asked any of the following questions: “What food should I give up to shed a few pounds? How can I shed my credit card debt? What books can I add to my reading list?” 

We prepared for the coming of the Infant, and joyfully celebrated the Incarnation. New Year’s resolutions are great because they allow us to become the better versions of ourselves. But how often do we focus on searching for ways to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ? Do we find ways to improve our prayer life or have we sought relationships that need mending? These can be tough questions to ask, but they are necessary. 

Resolutions hold us accountable to the goals we have set. Have we tried to look at our own lives to make faith-based resolutions? Psalm 66:10 states, “You have tested us, O God, tried us as silver tried by fire.” Thus, it is by lifting up our sufferings and going through hardships with God that we can be purified and draw closer to Him. 

We unusually use Lent as a time to check how we are with God, but it may be a better practice to do this on a more regular basis. The Catholic Church invites us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where our sins are forgotten and forgiven.

The YOUCAT 224 says the following about the Sacrament: “Christ’s love is shown in the fact that He seeks the lost and heals the sick. That is why He gave us the Sacraments of healing and restoration, in which we are freed from sin and strengthened in our... spiritual weakness.” If it has been while since your last confession or you need healing, do not be afraid to come to the Lord. Like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Lord is waiting for us to approach Him in the confessional.

The father in the parable lavishly welcomes the son who had ungratefully and selfishly spent his entire inheritance. Instead of rejecting him, the father takes him back with a celebration. God the Father is always willing to pour His mercy upon us. All we have to do is come to Him. 

It is still early in the new year; it is not too late. Make your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, save money, or gain some more knowledge. But do not forget to make a faith-based resolution as well. Think of ways to get closer to the Lord. Try a new prayer or devotional. Or, schedule a time to go to confession. Whatever you decide, the Lord is waiting to spend time with you! 

Dunn M. Estacio is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.