A New Year
The book, The Family that Overtook Christ by M. Raymond puts these words in St. Bernard's mouth when he speaks to his sister of his near departure to Citeaux Abbey in search of God and holiness: "Day is done, and yet, do you know what I feel in my soul?” [...] The heralding breeze that sweeps over the slumbering world just before dawn! [...] It is so fresh a promise of fair things to come."
We could well apply this sentence to the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. Another year has ended with the "dawn" of the new one; we hear the announcement of better things. Why better things? Because with each passing year we are closer to what is definitive, the coming of Christ in glory, which is, for those who have faith, much better than what we have now.
A Spiritual Resolution
With the new year, desires to make resolutions usually come along: Lose weight, eat healthier, sleep more, get rid of a vice, exercise... These are the resolutions that many people, and perhaps we ourselves, make. But what good are these resolutions? What is their purpose? They are resolutions that, in the end, will remain superficial and are, for the most part, a search for self. Have you ever thought of making a spiritual resolution? That is, a resolution that will strengthen you in your spiritual life and bring you closer to God? Undoubtedly, this resolution will bring you the most good if you are faithful to it.
Start the day with a Morning Offering
Stations of the Cross
Set time apart for spiritual reading
Read and pray with the Bible
Go on a pilgrimage
End the day examining your conscience
Think less about yourself
Grow in a particular virtue
Go to daily Mass
These are just a few ideas. The best thing to do is to place ourselves in God's presence and ask Him to show us which resolution He wants us to make. It is also good to consult with our spiritual director, who can help us decide.
One by One
When making resolutions, it is not advisable to want to do everything at once but to choose one resolution and be faithful to it. It is important to examine ourselves at the end of each day on if/how we have fulfilled it. The reason is to see why we did not do it if we failed, and to thank God if we have fulfilled it.
In addition to making resolutions, the new year is an opportunity to turn our hearts to God in gratitude. He grants us so many graces, many of which are forgotten before their time. Taking time to look back over the year and see all the graces we have received will fill us with thanksgiving. When we receive a gift, it is unthinkable not to thank the giver. So, why do we so often fail to thank God for all that He gives us? Often we are so involved in what’s going on around us that we do not even realize all we receive from Him. That is why we have to be more attentive and see God's providence in everything. He guides us and deserves our trust and gratitude.
Entrust Everything to Him
The new year is also an opportunity to turn to Him in trust and ask Him for what we need. Conchita did this in a prayer she wrote on January 1, 1967. Her prayer is a mixture of petition and thanksgiving. Our petitions should be filled with thanksgiving. We know that if it is good for us, God will grant us what we ask for. It is true that it will not always be as we think, but it will be what is best for us because God is good. Therefore, before we receive what we ask for, we can already thank Him. This is what Jesus did: "Father, I thank you; I know that you always hear me." Yes, God always listens to us and no matter what happens this year, we cannot doubt that He is with us. We must entrust everything to Him, including this year, and make acts of trust (and renew them) on so many occasions, some of them perhaps painful. Whoever trusts in the Lord will not be disappointed. In the last apparition Our Lady said to Conchita: "Have trust in Us." Often an act of trust will help lead to mistrust in oneself and in the means.
Although we want to trust and have faith in God, it may be that sometimes this expression comes out: "But..." or "What if..?" For our trust to be total, it must not contemplate possible outcomes or difficulties. There is a story about a boy who was at home on the second floor. There was a fire and the house was in flames. The firemen came, as did the boy's father, who shouted from below, "Jump, son! Jump!" We can imagine that when he heard the voice of his father, who loved him, telling him to jump, he did not hesitate for a moment to do so. He jumped and fell into the arms of his father who embraced and comforted him. God is our Father and we can be certain that if He tells us to jump, He will not let us fall into the void. There is no room for a "What if?” but a "I’ll do it."
May this year be a new opportunity to surrender with confidence to God, to give Him everything He asks of us, and to be more faithful to Him every day.
Part of our resolution could be to re-read the messages of Garabandal. How can I live them more concretely in my life? Perhaps this question will give you ideas for your new year's resolution.