Most of us begin a new year with hope and a positive attitude. We take advantage of the new year to make resolutions and set goals for ourselves, perhaps goals we did not manage to accomplish during the year that just ended. I would like to propose to you that the most important goal and the one that will have by far the most impact in your life—for your happiness and that of many others—is to get closer to God. Nothing will fill you with more happiness than strengthening and deepening your relationship with Jesus Christ.
As with all goals that are truly worthwhile, we need concrete steps, or means, to accomplish the goal. Thus, if you want to have as your primary goal to grow in your love for God (and I hope you do), then consider the following practical means:
- Begin your day with a morning offering. In your own words offer your day to God. Offer up to Him as a gift all the work you are going to do that day. while you make your morning offering ask God for the grace to carry out your work with a pure intention and with a desire to serve Him and all your fellow men and women.
- Spend at least 10 minutes a day speaking with God face to face; and I mean speaking to Him from your heart to his heart. Do not read prayers or other spiritual stuff. Speak to God the Father, to Jesus his Son, to the Holy Spirit, to Mary the Mother of Jesus from your heart using your own words.
- Make a brief examination of conscience at the end of the day; this is enormously important. At the end of your day, take two or three minutes to go over your day to see where you went wrong, what you could have done better, where you let God and others down. Avoid using ready-made examinations; they are too general. Your examination is more helpful when it is very personal, custom-made to your life and your needs. At the end of your examination make a good and sincere act of contrition, telling God that you are sorry for all the times you let Him down. If you don’t fee sorry tell him that you would like to be sorry. And then, end the examination by making a resolution for the next day.
I promise that if you do these three things your relationship with God, the most important of all your relationships, will blossom this year. Give it a try; it’s worth it!
Finally, 2017 brings two significant anniversaries. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation; a time of great turmoil that led to yet another split in the Church. During 2017 we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mary appearing in Fatima, Portugal. Both anniversaries have something in common: a call for all Catholics to truly embrace our Christian vocation as a vocation to holiness, carrying out Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, all Catholics by their Baptism are called to evangelize, carrying out a daring apostolate in and through their work; among their family and friends. May we take this teaching to heart! May God help us; and may his Mother help us!