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Resolved: Weekly Message for 1-3-17
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:
The Year of Mercy officially ended November 20, on the solemnity of Christ the King. Fortunately, God’s mercy has a longer run.
Pope Francis emphasized that point in Misericordia et Misera, his apostolic letter marking the end of the Year. “Mercy” he wrote, “cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very existence.” In other words, mercy rolls on.
That is a point worth keeping in mind by those of us enticed by a perennial favorite: the New Year’s resolution.
What is the connection? An essential ingredient of God’s mercy is that he doesn’t give up on us. “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
God won’t give up on us even when we feel tempted to give up on ourselves. And that is what can happen by mid-January — when even the best of resolutions might be gathering dust on the shelf. This human tendency to falter could be why some people shy from making resolutions altogether.
But life need not be like that. The arrival of a new year helps remind us that things can begin again.
Life – our spiritual life – can start over. Errors from the past can be confessed and left in Our Lord’s hands. We can move on and recalibrate our lives in the direction of Christ, confident that he has a short memory for our faults and long expectations for our holiness.
If you need an idea for a New Year’s resolution, consider doing one of our online retreats (http://rcspirituality.org/retreat-guides/) monthly or every other month.
I wish you a blessed 2017.
Father Edward McIlmail, L.C.
Ask a Priest contributor