Gentle Reader: Blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to All!
I stink at New Year's resolutions. Most of the time, I don't bother. The few times I do bother I usually fail at enacting them. For a resolution to be truly sucessful requires: planning and fortitude-2 areas I lack when it comes to me personally. I can plan a project and see it thru, I can plan a trip, I can plan a dinner party, but making some kind of plan for my life is difficult for me.
I just stopped myself. As a Christian, the one plan for my life had better be "I plan to get to Heaven". The alternative is not pleasant.
However, even to reach that, truly, lofty goal, I better have a plan. I better have resolve and fortitude or I will not make it.
The typical New Year's resolutions: I resolve to lose weight, I resolve to be nice to my brother, I resolve to budget better are lame compared to what is at stake to reach the Christian goal. Now, obviously, if obsession with food, hatred of your brother and money have crossed a line into occasions of sin for you then those are solid resolutions. However, in my experience, most people I know don't think of a New Year's resolution as something that could bring us closer to God; they are usually opportunities for selfish personal improvement and popularity.
The best New Year's resolution is all of the above: popularity, personal improvement and bringing you closer to God.
I have discovered that popularity does not always bring one closer to God. Who are my friends? Who do I associate with? I'm not as popular, since my reversion, in certain circles. I've lost friends. I'm not "cool" anymore.
I had an invitation this weekend to go with a friend for a weekend in northwestern Minnesota. I knew as soon as she asked me what this would mean: eating, drinking, smoking, gluttony, overindulgence, selfishiness, profanity. I knew I wouldn't go to Mass. I knew I'd probably be drunk and stoned all weekend. I knew I'd deny Him. These are not good behaviors. They are sinful.
Still, I was tempted. I'm starting to think I'm boring and too domestic and just plain dull. I thought seriously about going. I enjoy a drink and a party, in moderation, as well as anyone else. However, for me, uh, moderation in anything is not my strong suit. I'm very over the top. When I indulge it's over. When I laugh it's too loud. When I sin I sin big time.
I shocked even myself and said "No". Not only did I say no, for one of the few times in my life, I actually evangelized and said "I need to go to Mass twice this weekend. Thanks, but no thanks" Who said that? I don't even think it was me.
I hope I'm not sounding smug because I don't feel smug. I know full well that this was an isolated instance. I can not be complacent. I know for every one time I stand up and do the right thing, there are 20 other instances where I fall on my face-spectacularly.
I think one day the Father is going to quit looking for the Prodigal Son and say when he shows up again "Sleep in the barn this time and be out by morning!" I can only hope and pray that the Lord will truly forgive an endless amount or I'm in deep trouble.
There is not just one day or just one time. Isn't every day a New Year? You can put on the new man any time.
My resolution, for this day, this new year, is to quit being a damned fool.