New Year Resolutions for Temples of the Holy Spirit
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Continuing our Journey
May God's blessing be with you and your families this New Year! I hope to have a more active presence on this wonderful website during the New Year. Who knows? Maybe we may meet one another in 2008--another wonderful year of the Lord.
Resolving to do better in the New Year
The fire crackers are extinguished and the champagne has lost its bubble and the words, "Happy New Year" fizzle out across the planet. So, we ask "what is next?" In most places discussions quickly turn to our New Year resolutions--our personal resolve to do better in the New Year.
Making New Year resolutions is centuries old. In fact, it is widely thought the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions. (…and generations have been breaking there resolutions ever since.) The early Christians believed the first day of the New Year ought to be spent reflecting on past mistakes and failures while asking the Lord's help in resolving to better oneself. In many ways, not a bad idea for all of us.
According to most popular publications, the number one New Year Resolution made every year is to change our body by losing weight, gaining weight or becoming more fit. In my case, it is almost always to lose weight. Programs for fitness and diet are too numerous to count. In no way I am I ever going to attempt to recommend one here. However, I would like to reflect on how our Catholic Christian Faith sets forth a good template to develop a spiritual attitude to make our resolutions in the area of body maintenance more manageable.
Scripture: A Guide for Body Maintenance.
What would you think if I told you that St Paul had some of the best advice for handling our resolutions in the area of body maintenance in his first letter to the Corinthians? Using straight talk, St Paul says: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6: 19-20)
Now that is a radical view! We are called to go past the surface features by, glorifying God in our body! Wow, the need for that message has not changed almost 2000 years later! Today, we are trained by your culture to hate our bodies unless they are as thin as a super-model or stacked with muscles like our Olympic athletes.
So, let's go deeper-inside, perhaps! Why do we really want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with our body, or is it for our vanity--to honor ourselves? The truth is that our bodies, regardless of the size, shape or color, are gifts from God -- a God who does not make junk!" So, if our body is the work of God; St. Paul calls our body a Temple of the Holy Spirit and God does not make junk-I seriously think that we need to reconsider our resolutions being so heavily focused oh Body Maintenance. Maybe we need "Temple Maintenance?"
A better idea for approaching our resolution is to accept God's gift of our bodies and to respect our bodies as they are--Temples of God's Spirit. In that capacity, we should be careful where our body goes and what it does and how it reacts.
A quick New Year's Reflection to get the interior of the Temple in order follows:
- Spend time in prayer and reflecting on failures and shortcomings from 2007. (Sounds like a thorough Examination of Conscience.)
- Next, submit yours failures and shortcomings to God.
a. As in the Lord's Prayer, we need to pray that His Will Be Done in our failures and shortcomings.
b. That might mean concrete changes are in store. Each of us is different, the needs will be different.
c. Some common thoughts are the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation; more frequent prayer or even a greater dedication to our Blessed Mother.
- Now, we will be ready to ask the Lord's help in resolving to better oneself.
Know From Where Your Strength Comes.
In conclusion, I am not saying you should cancel your exercise or diet plans. Yes, we are called to be healthy and energetic but not because we want to look like a supermodel or athlete. You need to set priorities and remember your source and your strength-the Lord God! Paul gives guidance again, in Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." The same is true for you. You can do it in 2008!
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- Spend time in prayer, reflecting on failures and shortcomings in ministry. What parts of these weaknesses do I need to submit to God?
- Is the strongest call for the New Year to resolve failures and shortcomings in ministry or to submit my life further to the Holy Spirit? Please share that answer with another person in ministry.
From a Family Perspective:
- In my Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single, what are my failures and shortcomings in the Domestic Church? What parts of these weaknesses do I need to submit to God?
- Is the strongest call for the New Year to resolve failures and shortcomings in ministry or to submit my life further to the Holy Spirit? Please share that answer with the other members of your Domestic Church.
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