With every passing New Year’s celebration come our declarations of something we want to do or change to make ourselves a better person. We simply call these our New Year’s resolutions. These promises to ourselves usually center on improving our health, desires, finances, life’s situation, and so on. How many of them have you kept? How many have you broken and after you break them do you say, “I’ll try again next year”? How many of the resolutions that you have kept have truly made you happy, at peace?
I’ve made these resolutions–broken more than I kept for sure–but of the ones I’ve kept, never did I find the true happiness I was searching for by changing something about myself or my situation.
Then I came upon these words from Pope Benedict XVI:
“Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”. [Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (25 December 2005), 1]
Pope Francis expounds on this quote in his latest Apostolic Exhortation:
“Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being.” [Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 8]
There was the answer I have been looking for! Not in self-absorbed, narrow-minded resolutions, but by keeping Christ as my center, by opening my heart and soul to His love and allowing His grace through the Holy Spirit to be my guide. But how do I keep doing this? I am human, I am a sinner. There will be times when I become so self-absorbed in my life that I lose focus on God’s grace. Then, the words of Pope Francis remind me that,
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” [Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 3]
I was so overwhelmed with joy reading these words, I began to tweet certain lines from the Pope’s Exhortation that would jump out at me as I kept reading on. Then, I came across a tweet containing a link to a certain song, “Lord I Need You”, by Matt Maher. I clicked on the link and began to listen to the song. It was at this moment that I made my resolution, not a “New Year’s”, but a daily one. When I wake in the morning I will pray “Lord, I need you!” When I am troubled or down I will pray, “Lord, I need you!” When I become so self-absorbed and narrow-minded because of my own success or failure I will pray, “Lord, I need you!” When I lay down in bed at night thinking about the day gone by I will pray, “Lord, I need you!”
Here’s to a happy and blessed 2014 and beyond; Lord, we need you!
Photo from Shutterstock/Marcos Calvo Mesa