Chaplain’s Corner – January 2018 – “Resolutions That Matter”
Every year, countless people set goals or resolutions in the new year that each person intends to live out; for new year’s resolutions some choose fitness goals, some hope to be more involved with their hobby or pastime, some simply want to make the new year a time to get more focused on their career. Whatever the resolution may be, each resolution is selected for the sake of intending this coming year as a new opportunity to grow into a “better version of oneself”. How often do these resolutions go unfulfilled? Even if one is among the minority group that actually completes their new year’s resolution, does it not leave that person still wanting… unfulfilled on a deeper and more profound level? In this coming year of 2018 lies the opportunity to make concrete resolutions that will fulfill on the deepest and most profound level. This coming year is yet another opportunity for all Catholic Christians to participate in the gifts that are, too often, unfortunately so profoundly neglected.
In the depths of the human heart is the desire to become the best version of oneself; each effort to get in peak physical condition, to intellectually stimulate one’s mind, and to strive for perfection on all levels of one’s life is a cry to participate in that which we cannot attain for ourselves. We want perfection, and yet on this side of eternity, it remains an impossibility. The most physically fit person will eventually pass on into eternity, there will always be someone more capable or more intelligent, especially with the growing availability of knowledge at each person’s fingertips, and all that is in our midst will come to pass. With the inevitability of these realities, why does the human condition perpetuate this desire for perfection? It is because we are made for perfection and it lies before us in the beautiful mystery of the Sacraments of the Church.
So many people ask how they can grow in faith or come to understand the Will of God in their lives, and yet so many of these same people remain far from the greatest gift that we have here on earth to help us become who we were created to be and to get to where we were created to end up for all of eternity. Let this coming year be the year where you make the firm resolution to participate more intimately and regularly in the sacramental life of the Church. If you have not been to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in years, come back; make it a plan to attend Confession at least once a month for the rest of your life. If you are capable, and most people are, attend Mass more frequently than once a week on Sundays. If you wanted to get to know someone or wanted to figure out what they wanted, would you only speak to them or visit them for an hour a week? Of course not! Christ waits for each of us on the altar not just once a week but on countless altars throughout the world each day. Start with one extra day a week for the first month, then two a week, and so on.
It is true that in the spiritual life it is not so easy to see the fruit of our labor in the way we can pass a test after studying all night or see muscles grow after considerable time in the gym, but what is at stake is far more important than a test grade or how much weight we can bench. What is at stake for us, our families, our friends, and all those whom we encounter in our day-to-day life, is eternity. We run the risk of losing eternity because making the Sacramental life a priority in our lives can be inconvenient or maybe we do not “believe we need to go to confession to a priest”. Christ knew the human heart and the human condition better than anyone who has ever lived, because He is the one who made the human person. The gifts of the Sacraments speak to what we need as sons and daughters of God, striving for perfection in this world. This is the concrete way that the Son of God chose to participate repeatedly in the lives of all His sons and daughters from one generation to the next. Frequent participation in the Sacramental life of the Church is the only sure way of attaining what we all desire above all else… eternal life.
The question remains for each individual, is this year going to be different? Are we going to set aside concrete times and dates in which we will make it a genuine priority in our lives to go to Confession at least once a month, or go to daily Mass, or is this coming year going to be another year that goes by where the priorities of this life get in the way of what should be an upward gaze. God created us for Himself and these gifts of Himself continue, most especially in the Western world, to be unused, neglected, and ridiculed as antiquated old folklore. This year must be the year that we change our lives so as to encounter Christ on the simplest and yet most profound level, because the reality remains true from year to year: this could be our last year. In this new year, take advantage of the greatest gifts this world has ever seen, the Sacraments.
God Bless and be saints, nothing less.
In Christ & Mary,
– Father Eric Silva
Chaplain – Candlewood Lake Council No. 11913