January 1, 2023

Dear Parish Family:

Happy and Holy New Year! It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. Actually, that’s the easy part. The hard part as we all know, is sticking to them. But as a new year begins, it is important to believe and hope for the possibility to improve our lives, that change is possible, and that we can grow and even make our best better. The most popular resolutions are to lose weight, to exercise every day, and to get more out of debt.

Sometimes the optimism and enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions, unfortunately, fades within weeks and our efforts to become a better version of ourselves seem to whimper. Why? Could it be that we either take on too many resolutions or for the ones we do take on, our hearts are not really in them as much as we thought?

Perhaps we can try resolutions this year that are more interior and lasting. As a first step, a good (and maybe the only) resolution this year would be to make an important goal – a goal that is much deeper and life changing than learning to swing dance or organize our closets.  Not something that we just simply do, but something we become.  Here are some examples:  This year …

· I am going to spend time each day in prayerful stillness with God to help catch my breath and refocus my day and concerns on what God wants.

· I am going to try to work on better controlling my anger and criticism of others.

· I am going to try to be more patient this year – especially with myself and those closest to me.

· I am going to work on my willingness to reach out to others in need past my comfort zone.

· I am going to be more kind to my neighbors, and always give them the benefit of the doubt, instead of judging them.

· I am going to look for the joy in situations rather than focus on the bad.

These are just a few examples of goals that are extremely worthwhile and can bring peace and happiness to ourselves and those around us. If we work hard and do our best to be faithful to these New Year’s resolutions, we will develop habits that lead to holiness. Habits that will lead to the best versions of ourselves. The version of ourselves that God has made us and wants us to be.

Love, grace, peace, and joy to you.

Reverend Neil S. Sullivan