Husband & Wife Articles

New Year’s Revolution

God loves us too much to leave us to ourselves

By Mike Aquilina

With the beginning of the Church’s year coming just before the end of the calendar year, it’s natural to look back and make resolutions for the days to come. As husbands (and wives) it’s a chance to ask ourselves: Is there something I would do very differently, if I could start over? Is there a task I wish I had taken up? Is there a habit I wish I had broken?

Well, as the Bible says, now is the acceptable time. Now is the opportune time. We can begin again.

It’s a basic human instinct to make resolutions at the New Year, and I think it’s a good one. As Christians, we can take what’s natural and do it one better. We can ask God’s grace to make it supernatural. Here’s news: 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.

Perhaps we could also think of our New Year’s resolution as a revolution. A sort of interior uprising against all that holds us back from loving God with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves.

A few months ago I was packing for an international flight, and I started by laying open my suitcase and tossing in all that I thought I’d need for nine days — clothing, books, toiletries, books, gadgets, books, everything. Then I gazed at the mound that stood before me and estimated it to be about twice the weight limit allowed by the airline. I had to begin 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 throw in? What will we leave behind?

Do we have habits that compromise us? We can seek to change that circumstance now.

Has anything in your routine been a predictable occasion of temptation or even sin? Well, soon the calendars will change, and you can change, too.

You don’t need to change the world, or the city you live in, or your profession, or to bring about world peace. You simply need to seek peace in your own life. In the words of Pope John Paul II, you must become who you are.

In time, you and I may indeed change the world, our cities, 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 we want 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 like anything less than ourselves. 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?

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.