At this time of year, all of us may be thinking about the recent New Year’s resolutions we have made. I always enjoy seeing the number of commercials advertising weight loss and fitness programs in January. A friend recently commented to me that the gym was bursting with people at the end of the workday during the first week in January. “Give it a month, and the numbers will be back to normal,” he said.
And what about our determination to keep resolutions we may have made? Do we remember what we were resolved to do in this new year? Did we even pause to make any resolutions, since we’ve realized over the years that they often fade away after a few weeks?
As I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions as an opportunity to make “a fresh start” of something or change or improve something of myself, I was struck by the second reading of the Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family, which falls on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s. I think that it offers a wonderful list of resolutions that we can potentially adopt for ourselves. The reading is from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I added the numbers to each of Saint Paul’s recommendations:
1. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
2. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
3. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
4. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
5. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
6. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Six resolutions for the new year that are impactful to ourselves and to others; they offer us a blueprint for happiness. Of course, being fit, trim, and healthy are all good things, but they become superficial goals without these virtues that Saint Paul shares with us. So, while I am back on the treadmill and “double-downing” on my diet, I am trying to regularly pause and think about each day and how I was able to be a little bit better (or worse) at “Saint Paul’s New Year’s resolutions” that I have adopted. Wishing you all a Blessed, Happy, and Healthy New Year!