January 1, 2014
Even though this first issue of the Dakota Catholic Action in 2014 will arrive in your homes before the actual New Year dawns upon us, let me wish each and every one of you a happy, peace-filled and blessed New Year. As Catholics, we have already begun our New Year of grace and favor from the Lord on the first Sunday of Advent, and so we should be spiritually ahead of what we may want to accomplish temporally in our new calendar year.
However, I would like to offer a suggestion for a real resolution for the new calendar year of 2014 that would flow from our spiritual resolve of Advent. Instead of making several nice resolutions (which we may or may not keep), why don’t all of us make one resolution that we can and will keep?
Let our resolution for this new calendar year be this: Strengthened by our Advent preparation for the Lord Jesus, we will work every day of this year to create the Catholic culture of life in our families, parishes, communities and diocese.
What is the “Catholic culture?” Very simply, it is the imitation of Jesus in the way we think, speak and act. This fact is revealed over and over again in the four Gospels. Jesus is truthful and indeed, He is Truth in the flesh. He is truthful when He reveals who the Father is, who He is, and who we are.
Who is the Father? He is the one who has created us simply because He loves us. There is no other reason. Who is Jesus? He is the eternal Son of the Father who became just like us in all things except sin so that He could save us from what we had done to ourselves. Who are we? We are the beloved children of God who are destined for heaven if we live in hope for it. Knowing us better than we know ourselves, God the Holy Spirit dwells among us to give us abundant divine assistance so that we can make our hope for heaven a reality.
If the “Catholic culture” is the imitation of Jesus, then what does this mean for us? Again, simply put, this means that we pray every day. In our prayer, we thank God for His goodness to us and to ask Him for everything we need that day so that we do not fall into sin. It means that we do good works every day to the best of our ability—not so that we feel good about ourselves, but to allow others to recognize Jesus in us. Through us, they will see that Jesus loves them as well. Never underestimate the power of the example we give by our words and actions! Finally, it means that I am willing to go without something I want (or even something I need) so that someone else in greater need may have it.
As I said, this can be our one true resolution for the New Year. And if we keep our resolution, we will create that holy and distinctive “Catholic culture” and it will increase in our families, parishes, communities and diocese because it will be blessed by God.
Have a blessed New Year and let’s really try to make this a year for the Catholic culture of life.