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Happy New Year! I think that I have written a reflection on setting New Year’s resolutions every year that I have been pastor of Blessed Sacrament. Many people are thinking about resolutions during this time of the year—I am too. 

I was reading a newspaper article titled “What’s the Best Way to Make a Resolution Stick?” In this article, Heidi Mitchell lists many categories of resolutions considered during this time of the year. I was pleased to read that she included “spirituality.” Since spirituality is what each one of us was created for, we ought to be very deliberate and intentional about setting some spiritual goals. As St. Augustine says, “You have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.” And, no, it is not enough to say, “I want to be more spiritual.”

Any person offering sage advise concerning resolutions should only be listened to if they mention the word specific. Resolutions have to look like something. They must be taken out of the world of the abstract. For example, if spirituality is the category, my resolution can’t be to “get closer to God” or even to “pray better” or “pray more.” When I say specific, I mean clear and detailed, i.e. “as a way to better close my day with God, I have decided to spend 25 – 30 minutes at prayer in the evening”. I know that to be successful with this resolution, I will need to be even more specific. Accordingly, during this 25 – 30 minutes, I will pray Daytime and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, do a short examination and then journal. Specific enough? No. On Mondays and Tuesdays I will try to accomplish this resolution from 5 pm – 5:30 pm. Furthermore, I know that I will need to free up my schedule a bit more in the evening. Surely, that should do it. Not quite. Heidi Mitchell, quoting an expert in the field of psychology, states: “The best way to stick to a resolution is to have an accountability system.” Since I know that I often slack around this time in the evening, I will ask my spiritual director, Fr. Ken, to hold me accountable to this resolution.

The purpose of dragging you through these detailed considerations is to demonstrate the importance of being incredibly specific when setting spiritual resolutions. 

Remember, I said specific, not rigid.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Rev. John F. Jirak, Pastor

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