A New Year’s Resolution in the Year of Faith
It is appropriate that this is the time when people make resolutions to improve themselves in the coming year because Mary Mother of God, whom we celebrate today, forever carries with her a new beginning, who is Christ the Lord. Most New Year’s resolutions usually involve things like losing weight, exercising more regularly or reading a certain number of books each month. In this Year of Faith, though, we might consider resolving to take specific actions to deepen our own faith and prepare to share it with others.
By renewing and deepening our faith, we gain a greater confidence in the truth of the faith and the mission of the Church, which is that we proclaim glad tidings of great joy to the world. Mary’s first action after learning that she was to bear Christ to the world was to go to her cousin Elizabeth and share her joy. We are missionaries of joy! Yet all too often, what we hear from some of our brothers and sisters are complaints about certain teachings or practices of the Church. It should be no surprise, then, that such representations of the faith hold little appeal for those who have drifted away. Why would anyone want to come back to the Church, or explore it for the first time, after hearing from Catholics themselves about how bad things are? What would be more positive would be a moratorium on complaints about the liturgy, the homilies, the state of catechesis and how “the Church” isn’t doing enough. As Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians “Do not add to the darkness of the world – instead, live as children of light.”
We have a great story to tell, much to offer the world; there is much that the Church has already given the world, from the Good News of the Risen Lord to culture, art, music, law, and science. Thus, we should rejoice and go about our lives as people of hope living with an urgency to share the gift we have received in Christ.
In a world where “breaking news” dominates a twenty-four news cycle and not much of it is good news, we who have good news of our salvation seem unsure that it is worth sharing. Catholics especially are notoriously reticent to share the faith. Too many of us are more comfortable as passive members of the Church rather than active participants in her mission. This can change if we reflect on the great gift we have been given. We have a precious pearl in our faith that we must be willing to share with others, and be bold when we see an opportunity to do so. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem who heard the glad tidings from the angel, we must go in haste to see the Good Shepherd, and then we must hurry to invite others to come and see. Like Mary who visited Elizabeth, we must make haste to share our Lord and our joy with others.
Our New Year Resolution: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.
What we are really talking about is how Mary is the model of the New Evangelization, a way of responding to the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit, which brings us to what is ultimately our only New Year’s resolution – to seek first the kingdom, His will be done.
In choosing the Lord, – we choose life. We must resolve and pray to be where God wants us to be, to do what He wants us to do, to trust in His Providence, seeking and cooperating with His grace, conducting ourselves always in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ, and allowing His light to shine through us before others to the glory of God. If we do this, the whole world will be renewed.