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A New Year’s Revolution

Start a new movement in 3 simple steps

By Mike Aquilina

No, that’s not a misspelling in the headline. If you have made a resolution to change or do better in 2019, you are really starting a revolution, a turning around or turning toward what is good or better.

This is the Catholic meaning of revolution – a conversion, or an interior uprising against all that holds us back from loving God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves.

Catholic meaning of revolution

It’s a good and basic human instinct to make resolutions with a New Year. Yet as Catholic men, we can take what’s natural and do it one better. We can ask God’s grace to make it supernatural. Here’s a newsflash: we all have defects. We all have vices. We all have problems and issues and struggles and whatever else you might want to call the long-term effects of original sin.

Yes, God loves us just the way we are, even with our faults, but he loves us too much to keep us the way we are. He wants us to change, and he has given us this moment as a singular grace.

A few months ago, as I was packing for a business flight, I opened my suitcase and started tossing in all that I thought I’d need for nine days — clothing, books, toiletries, books, gadgets, and more. Looking at the mound before me, I estimated it to be about twice the weight limit allowed by the airline. I began sifting and sorting, reducing my pack to the essentials.

Today, you and I can do the same thing. We can imagine ourselves to be packing for the next stage of the journey. We have our bags open before us and everything from our past close at hand. What will we pack? What will we leave behind? What’s essential to our Christian journey and what’s not?

Consider three simple questions:

1. Do we have habits that lead us astray? We can seek to change them now.

2. Has anything in your routine been a predictable occasion of temptation or sin? Well, this may take a month or the whole year, but you can strive to avoid those occasions, too.

3. What is your goal or mission for the year? You don’t need to change the world, or the community, or your profession, or to bring about world peace. You simply need to seek peace in your own life. In the words of St. John Paul II, you must become who you are.

In time, you and I may indeed change the world, our comunities, and our professions, and maybe we’ll even bring about world peace. But unless we change ourselves for the better, we’ll have fallen short, nonetheless.

Worldly praise provides little comfort to someone who knows himself to be unhappy, impure, dishonest or unfaithful.

We cannot reinvent ourselves, but must seek to be more perfectly who God created us to be. That’s a tall order, and a lifelong task. We want to leave behind the habits and circumstances that make us feel anything less than our best. We want to hold fast to what is good.

With grace we can do all that. God will not withhold the help that we need. But will we ask for it, and accept it?

Mike Aquilina is executive vice-president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, the author of more than 30 books and co-host of eight series on EWTN.