Resolve to deepen our Christian lives - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Resolve to deepen our Christian lives

Happy New Year! May 2009 be a year of continued blessings and many new opportunities to love and serve God, our families, friends and neighbors. I am especially grateful for all the beautiful notes and cards you have sent me during my recovery from knee-replacement surgery. They have cheered me tremendously. I am anxious to resume a full schedule, and await the doctor’s approval.

The new year always sparks a time of making resolutions, and I am sure that you, like me, have made a list of things you’d like to either start or stop doing in 2009. I thought it might be both interesting and challenging to offer a new set of resolutions for you to consider and possibly adopt, resolutions that we might make together as a community of believers in the Diocese of Rochester.

I got the idea for a group set of resolutions from The Mark Project, the Spirit Alive! initiative that asks the question, “What if every Catholic in our diocese read the same book?” (in this particular project the Gospel of Mark.)
Using that wonderful premise, I wonder what would happen if every Catholic in our diocese agreed to a set of resolutions designed to deepen our Christian lives, enrich our parishes, and help each other and our larger community?

In that spirit, please let me offer the following resolutions for your prayer and participation:

Let us resolve as one body in Christ to make a real effort to become better Christians in word and deed in 2009. By this I mean that we get more involved in the daily life of our parishes; that we go about our daily work and family life in a conscious imitation of Christ; and that we seek to learn more about our faith so that we can experience a deeper knowledge of God and the fruits of that knowledge.

This would include regular Mass attendance — every Sunday. Let us come to church not just out of a desire to fulfill this obligation of our Catholic faith but with a voracious hunger to worship the Lord in joyful community. For some, this might mean making a stronger effort to plunge into the Scriptures on our own, to attend a Bible study, to read good books and good Web sites about Christian life and practice.

For still others, this might mean a concerted effort to keep the spirit of the Sunday Mass in our hearts beyond the drive home from church. It will mean that we go to work each Monday as kinder, more compassionate supervisors or more cooperative, positive employees; that we ask God for the strength to leave our stress at the workplace as best we can and go home each day to nurture a warm and loving family life in the image of the Holy Family.

Let us resolve to practice good stewardship as Jesus asked us, to share our time, talent and treasure in every meaning of those words. For some, this would mean looking for and accepting opportunities to volunteer in our community, at our schools, at nonprofits, in our parishes. What a difference we might make if each of us and all of us together made a daily practice of asking people, “How can I help?” more than we ever have. What would happen if all of us truly pondered the material ways God has blessed us and chose to sacrifice to help not only people we love and know but complete strangers? What if each of us made a point of not letting a single day in 2009 go by without helping someone in need?

Let us resolve as a diocese to answer our president-elect’s call to become more involved, more active and more knowledgeable as Americans, regardless of our political views or how we voted this past November. Let each of us make a point of studying the issues that need attention or that call us to debate, from the economy and energy to defense and human-life issues and myriad others. Let it never be said that we failed out of ignorance. Let us read, study and question and stretch our minds, as citizens of a democracy ought to do.

Finally, let us resolve to pray unceasingly and with greater zeal and fervor than we ever have before. Let us together resolve to beseech God constantly for help and guidance, to ask God’s intervention in the many problems of this world and for all its people in need. Above all, let us always remember in our time with God to say thank you for the many splendors and many blessings bestowed upon us.

Peace to all.

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