December 30th, 2018
The name “January” comes from the Roman god, Janus, the god with two faces, one looking to the past and the other looking to the future. This is, indeed, a time to look back at the year that has just ended and to look forward to the New Year ahead of us. How did I spend this one year of my life that has just passed? Did I use it to advance my goals and objectives in life? Did I use it to enhance the purpose of my existence? Could I have done better last year in the way I invested my time between the demands of work, family, friends and society, and the demands of my spiritual life? What things did I achieve last year and what did I fail to achieve? How can I consolidate the achievements of last year while reversing the failures and losses in this New Year? Through soul-searching questions like these we find that a review of the past year naturally leads to setting goals and resolutions for the New Year.
There are people who tell you that there is no point making New Year resolutions. Do not believe them. We must set goals and make resolutions as a necessary conclusion to our review of the past year. And we do need to review our lives from year to year because, as Socrates says, the unexamined life is not worth living.
Today’s newspapers are full of individual and collective New Year resolutions. Most of those, however, are not resolutions at all, but only wishes. What is the difference between a resolution and a wish? A wish identifies a goal one wants to reach; a resolution specifies the steps one will take to reach
it. A wish says this is where I want to be; a resolution says this is the road I will take, and
this is what I will do to get there. The wishful person says “I want to pass my exams this
year” and the resolved person says “I will devote an extra hour to my studies every day in order to pass my exams.” The wishful person says “I will have more peace and love in my family this year” and the resolved person says “I will spend more time with my family at table instead of rushing off to the TV, so that we get to know and understand ourselves better.” The wishful person says “I will live a life of un- ion with God this year” and the resolved person says “I will set aside this time every day to pray and hear God’s word.” The difference between wishing and resolving is: are we prepared to do what it takes to make our dreams come true, and, are we prepared to pay the price?
On January 1st, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It was her “yes” to God’s invitation (her fiat) that made her the Mother of Je- sus, Son of God. She lived her “fiat’ resolutely till the end. We see her standing at the foot of the Cross in John 19:25. By following Jesus even to the foot of the Cross, Mary lived her resolution. May 2019 give us the courage and strength to live our commitments as Mary did. Mary Mother of God pray for us!
— Father Augustine