New Year’s: A time to make and keep resolutions Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

A small business manager asked employees, who wished, to write out their New Year's resolutions. He promised to post them by lunchtime on the bulletin board. It sounded like fun.

When the resolutions were posted, the employees gathered eagerly around the bulletin board. Suddenly one employee began to complain angrily to everyone there that her resolution wasn't posted. She griped that she felt left out again.

The manager sprinted quickly to his office and discovered her resolution in a pile of clutter. He glanced at her resolution, apologized to her, and asked if she wanted her resolution posted.

"Isn't that what I'm complaining about?" she replied icily.

"Why don't you post your resolution instead of me so it gets done right," he responded with a smile.

I don't know if she posted her resolution because it was "Not to become angry over trivial things!" I hope she did; but doing so would have required heroic humility.

Helping us grow

New Year's is a time to look back on the past year and to look ahead by making New Year's resolutions that, if kept, help us and others grow as persons.

• One resolution might be to try to deepen our relationship with Jesus through prayer, spiritual reading, and learning more about the Mass so that we can participate in it more fully, actively, consciously, and devoutly.

• Another resolution might be to work for peace. We can be peacemakers in our home, neighborhood, church, workplace, or wherever we are. Because of the violence in today's world, we can and should urge our elected representatives to work for a responsible peace. In Matthew's beatitudes it says, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."

• Another resolution might be to appreciate the blessings we have and not take them for granted, rather than dwelling constantly upon things we don't have. We can also thank more often those who help us.

• We can resolve not to hold grudges or resentments whose damage is doubled when we dwell on them. Doing so hurts us as much or more than the person who wronged us. We can also resolve to put people before things as Jesus taught us.

• We can resolve to affirm others more often, visit someone in a nursing home, or resist temptations to pass on gossip. We can deepen our active concern for the poor.

• Another resolution might be to cultivate our sense of humor, but never at the expense of others. Healthy humor helps us from taking ourselves too seriously. Conrad Hyers wrote, "Satan fell because of the gravity of his weight." Healthy humor helps us to stay serious or focused on doing good.

Seeking advice

If we have the courage to ask, a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, or the Holy Spirit might help us choose other resolutions.

When his father called on the phone, a son asked, "Dad, what's your New Year's resolution?" He replied, "To make your mother as happy as I can all year." When his Mom took her turn on the phone he asked her the same question. She replied, "To see that your dad keeps his New Year's resolution."

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Numbers 6:22-27)

May we help each other enjoy a happy, peaceful New Year. May we help to make someone's world a bit better by making and keeping our New Year's resolutions even when we're angry!

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.