Here’s a way of making a New Year’s resolution from James Alberione (died 1971, a great user and promoter of the use of contemporary communications technology):
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you to recognize the one major area you need to focus on, whether it is a positive step forward, or more a matter of a dominant weakness that consistently brings you down. (For those of us who live with other people, it’s not too hard to come up with ideas; the challenge is not to try to bring everything into line at once!)
2. Give your resolution (the Italian word is so much better: proposito, proposal) more than one dimension, so that the goal is reinforced according to what we now call “multiple intelligences.” Alberione suggests a threefold strategy:
* Involve your mind so you feed your resolve with a continual source of intellectual support, making a commitment to learn more about your goal, for instance;
* Address the behavioral aspect with a strong, practical plan (the kind you can evaluate at the end of the day: “Did I put this into practice? How well?” or “What got in my way?”);
* Engage your heart by choosing a way to pray daily over the good you are aiming for. You could choose a short scripture verse that connects to the resolution, and repeat that a few times a day like a mantra, or choose a time of day that you want to set apart for prayer to renew your resolution in God’s presence, asking for grace to see it through.
3. If you are really brave, entrust your resolution to a spiritual director or a friend who is committed to the spiritual life, so that they can encourage you (or hold you to account).
4. Above all, entrust your resolution to the Lord!
In the Southern Hemisphere, and certainly in Aotearoa-New Zealand, this is our go-slow time… So – sometimes your comments may take longer than usual to get through moderation…