Year after year, sentiments about living a better and more fulfilled life are on social media and expressed by many. Losing weight, getting in better shape, reaching all kinds of career and life goals, having better relationships, and various additional thoughts and feelings are expressed in terms of making the most of life. It is not a bad thing to contemplate and give thought to how to make one’s life better than it was before, but where does that end? Is there a “best new year’s resolution” especially for people of faith? The answer is yes.
What is not a good resolution
First, let’s unpack what is not a good resolution. Since this article is a Catholic perspective, an ineffective resolution is one that does not include God and his plan for our lives. Wishing and hoping to be mega-rich, to have all of one’s earthly desires, and in having a life without any kind of sacrifice for the good is a poor way of living and looking at life. As Catholics and as Christians, our lives our modeled after Christ, the one who gave his life for us in order to live to the fullest. When we run away from the trials of life to our own utopia, this may be a worldly way of looking at life, but it is not following the gospel of Christ. A poor and ineffective new year's resolutions is one that says, “My life is all about my own happiness and enjoyment". We can never really be fully happy when the human family is still suffering so much. Perhaps the answer to that perfect new year’s resolution has more to do with others than of ourselves.
Finding that perfect resolution
Living a better, healthier, and more focused life is all good. But finding that perfect resolution won’t be about that more organized house, the more successful career, the new car, or that perfect marriage or relationship. We live on earth, not heaven. The perfect resolution is simple. Trust and love God more and follow the right path each moment by the grace of the holy spirit through a deep prayer life. Sound easy? Maybe, maybe not. This answer is pretty stream-lined, and it will look differently for each person. God has a plan just for you that he will reveal to you as your life progresses. We have been given the gifts of our faith, the sacraments of the church, holy saints to emulate, and more. With Christ as our guide, his word, and through prayer, we can not only have a happy new year but a happy life. This is the goal. The goal is not perfection on earth. The goal is eternal life with God.
The Rich Young Man in Matthew 19
The rich young man in holy scripture asked Jesus, “What do I still lack?”. Jesus replied, “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” (Matthew 19:20-21). There is no mention here about losing lots of weight, cleaning and organizing house, or achieving various worldly goals. Again, the goals are not the issue. Perhaps we can learn a final lesson about resolutions here. Loving and caring the marginalized is a worthy goal for life. If we ask the Lord what we lack, let’s not forget to include those who suffer, those who lack, and those for whom we may be able to be the face of Christ to in this life. Maybe…just maybe….this could be a perfect new year’s resolution not just for today but for always. The perfect new year's resolution is this: mission. Live your mission for and with God. We are all part of something much greater than what we see, feel, and experience in this life. Be blessed.