We all like to make resolutions, having a grand plan for ourselves. If you’re like me (and most of society), you make them with the very best of intentions. Sometimes they don’t work out exactly as we had planned. Early this year, I printed an article entitled “A New Year, New Beginnings for the Christian Steward”. Maybe you remember reading it. Maybe you even vowed to put a few of the suggestions into action. I invite you to take a few minutes to reread the suggestions. You will not be graded on your responses. We’re almost halfway through the year. Now’s as good a time as any to begin.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR PARISH COMMUNITY: Believe it or not, your parish community can use your talents. Offering your talents to your faith community is one of the most effective ways to feel useful and connected to others, and it is a potentially life-changing resolution.
RESIST OVERWORK: There is a pressure to produce, to meet goals, be successful. But activities that lead us to overwork, constant fatigue and worry do not give glory to God. What God calls us to do we can do well. Be mindful that life requires balance, down time, and letting go of unrealistic goals.
NURTURE FRIENDSHIPS: Our friends are those with whom we choose to spend our time, with whom we vacation, to whom we go for advice. Friends are gifts from God who give us a greater appreciation of God’s love for us. Friends need our time and love.
GIVE MORE: Good stewards realize that everything they have is entrusted to them as gift to be shared. There is no better place to begin than sharing with the community that gathers around the Lord’s table at Mass. Consider what you are giving to your parish (weekly collection /designated gifts) and local diocese (Annual Catholic Appeal) and commit to an even greater contribution as circumstances allow.
LIVE MORE SIMPLY: We cannot find fulfillment in possessions. They add nothing to our self-worth. Jesus blessed the “poor in spirit’ in his Sermon on the Mount; and St. Francis of Assisi urged us to live with only what was necessary, for that is how we begin to find God.
GET HEALTHY: Are you accelerating your own decline into premature old age, owing to poor diet and lack of physical activity? Be a good steward of your body. Plan a complete overhaul of your diet and exercise habits. Schedule an annual physical.
PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Cultivating a grateful heart is the hallmark of a Christian steward. Every day, express thankfulness to the Lord and to others. Seeing the good in your life will allow you to keep your heart compassionate and loving.
ENCOUNTER THE LORD EACH DAY: Find time to be with the Lord each day, whether it be for an hour or ten minutes. Have a conversation with the Lord. Give your joys and worries to Him. Allow God’s love to transform you. Our regular encounters will keep our eyes and ears open to the presence of Christ in our midst. Be present to others—there is much celebration and mourning, joy and sorrow in people’s lives. What a blessing it is to be able to share those times and not let others experience them alone. The gift of your presence is much more valuable than you probably realize.
DON’T GIVE UP: People give up their resolutions because of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. So take it slowly, be kind to yourself, and keep trying. Resist the urge to throw up your hands and quit. You succeed through small, manageable changes over time.
TURN TO THE LORD: Add some planned daily prayer time to your busy schedule. Start asking God’s blessing before meals. Start praying the rosary once a week. Take time for God. Ask the Lord for guidance, strength, and perseverance in achieving your resolutions. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul writes “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”. (Phil 4:13) If God is the center of your resolutions, they have a better chance for success. With God, all things are possible!