Ring out the False, Ring in the True

“The object of a New Year is not
that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose;
new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions,
he would make no resolutions.
Unless a man starts afresh about things,
he will certainly do nothing effective.”

-G.K. Chesterton

In the past, I have indeed taken a somewhat cynical view of New Years and resolutions. I don’t want to do that this year. The new year is a time for us to truly renew ourselves, renew our lives. We all have our birthdays. We Christians all have our Baptism days (when we have our spiritual birth). However, those dates differ amongst most people. There are few people that share my birthday, or my Baptism day. New Years Day is that common day amongst all people. We all have that day to seek to renew ourselves. We need not do this alone. We have (essentially) every person on earth by our side to seek this renewal that we all know we need. We have others to hold us accountable. We have others to encourage us. We have others working on their own resolutions to serve as that additional reminder. We are not alone, so we need not go through this all by ourselves.

However, it’s not inaccurate to say that New Year’s resolutions have a tendency to fail. Actually, let me correct that: we have a tendency to fail at our New Year’s resolutions. It’s not just cynical to say that; we would be lying to ourselves if we said otherwise. What is to keep that from happening again? I can see two main aspects to examine in regards to this: ourselves and our resolutions.

Firstly, we ourselves are different. We do more each year. We experience more each year. We learn more each year. NResolutionso, our identity does not change. However, much of how we are does change. We are entering this New Year much different than when we entered last year’s, and even more than the year before that, etc. We know more what we’re capable of. We know more what we need. We can deny as much as we want that we need not change. However, no one is perfect. We can easily see in others the need to change, but how often are we willing to see the need to change within ourselves. We enter this year to form a new soul, new eyes, new ears, etc. We seek to change, to be changed by our experiences. Where do we need to change? What are some practical things we can do to improve ourselves in this coming year?

That brings me to my second point: our resolutions. People have a tendency to ‘resolve’ to do things immensely impractical. I resolve to go to the gym everyday. I resolve to not eat ANY junk food. I resolve to not drink alcohol. While those things might be great to do, they are so impractical. When we make those resolutions, we don’t actually expect them to be successful. They are cop-out resolutions, because they are not true resolutions. All they do is make others see how much we’re willing to change this year, but we need not actually change, because we know we cannot achieve them. Like I said above, we should all be able to agree that we all have need for change. Therefore, our resolutions should reflect that. We need to take a good look at our lives and honestly say to ourselves that places where we need to change. Then, we must be able make resolutions based on those areas for change. If we don’t make practical resolutions, then why make resolutions at all? Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Lastly, I want to challenge you. This year, I challenge you to duc in altum. At the end of every post, I put “Duc In Altum.’ It means ‘put out into the deep,’ coming from Luke 5:4 when Jesus tells Peter to cast his net into the deep water. It can be taken a few different ways, in a spiritual sense. Ultimately, it can be taken as going out to do something difficult, which will have much resistance. In the Church, it can be used to refer to going out into the world to evangelize, for there is much resistance to the Gospel in the world. There are many things that we need to do in our lives that will be met with much resistance. I challenge you to hold true to those. Bringing the Gospel out into the world is one of the hardest things to do, especially with the status of society today. But Christians have been given the duty to ‘make disciples of all nations.’ I challenge you to duc in altum, to put out into the deep in this coming year. Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions.

“Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”

-Jonathan Edwards

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Duc In Altum

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