Traditionally, the onset of a New Year causes people all over the world to hurriedly make resolutions before that elusive but magical midnight hour. The depressing thing about this exercise however, is that the majority of these resolutions unravel in quick time.
People are known to resolve to eat differently to guard against illness; they resolve to stop smoking; to stop excessive drinking. They even make resolutions which hopefully would see them reduce their urge to gamble and consequently to become more thrifty. They even pledge to exercise greater patience in dealing with family and work colleagues, but so many times these simply do not work out.
If we think about all these resolutions and there are many more, they are marked with one thing. They all deal with material things. There is hardly a New Year resolution whereby people pledge to deepen their spirituality; become better parents, even better neighbours; better practicing Catholics, and this doesn’t mean simply resolving attend Holy Mass every weekend.
This year Roman Catholics in this Archdiocese have two great opportunities to make resolutions that can make meaningful changes in their lives. The Church is still creating innovative programmes as they relate to the Second Pastoral Priority as mandated by Synod 2009—Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity.
Additionally, we are living in the Year of Faith as prescribed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI last October and this creates a lot of space for Roman Catholics to do so much which can identify with our Catholic faith.
While there is absolutely no problem with the traditional type of resolutions, maybe Catholics could sit back, view their lives and come up resolutions which would go a long way in making them better disciples as they spread the Good News. It will require deep thought and great discipline and could prove to be a tough challenge to many, but it is worth the try.
A cue can be taken from Archbishop Harris’ Christmas homily delivered at the pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in San Fernando, when he told his congregation and by extension the archdiocese, to choose the simple life.
Life in Trinidad and Tobago has, over the years, become very complex mainly because we have lost the simplicity of yesteryear’s living. Trinidadians and Tobagonians have become masters at copycatting and as a result everything that is good for the metropole centres in the North and even the South, supposedly First World countries, become good enough for us here in T&T. One doesn’t have far to go. Just look around in your own parishes and it’s in your face.
There are many ministries in our Church, which are hurting because of disinterest by parishioners. Volunteering is fast becoming a thing of the past and many Church organisations struggle to stay alive as they try to do the spiritual work so badly needed in the archdiocese.
Filling these voids could provide ways and means to make strong and positive New Year resolutions that would be difficult to unravel and so sustain successfully throughout this Year of Faith and while this does not mean you should become an almost priest, nun or religious, you could become a better Catholic toiling in the vineyard of the Lord.
To all my readers, may God grant his choicest blessings on you as you develop your New Year resolutions.
Vernon Khelawan serves as Media Relations Officer of Catholic Media Services Limited (CAMSEL) with offices at #31 Independence Square, Port-of-Spain. Telephone: 623-7620