“Therefore, the Church professes and proclaims conversion. Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor 1:3) is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of his covenant with man: even to the Cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the ‘rediscovery’ of this Father, who is rich in mercy.”
(St. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia)The advent of a New Year always presents an excellent opportunity for fresh resolutions and the renewed vigor that accompanies them. Often, healthy living habits are the targeted focus, which, indeed, offer worthy goals. Yet, as humans, creatures composed of bodies and souls, one must not limit his energies and thoughts to only his physical welfare, but to his spiritual as well.
Usually, a person decides to change course after stepping on a scale or smarting after the cinching sensation of his lately snug wardrobe. In determining his spiritual health, a person must check the weight of his sins by examining which ones constrict his ability to love God and others. What vice has become so constant a companion that we are blind to its very existence? It is imperative to ask Our Lord to identify the weed that threatens the garden that grows in our soul, and then have the humility to hear and accept His answer.
Then, we must look at the challenge as an arduous but achievable climb. It will be tempting to claim victory the first moment we overcome an occasion to commit that particular vice, thinking we have quelled our rebellious spirit with one decisive blow. Not so. For if we take this approach and fail, which will most certainly happen, then we will think it foolish to have ever begun in the first place and quickly surrender. Instead, we must be mindful each day of our goal and prayerfully seek to steadily conquer the temptation that is our nemesis.
Our Father in Heaven wants us to succeed and will give us the grace to do so! The call to conversion need not wait for the beginning of Lent. Let us tackle it with perseverance and ardor. To have healthier marriages and families, we need to have healthier spouses and children. As St. John Paul II said:
"Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. The kingdom of heaven is for those who are determined to enter it . . . Do not be afraid to be holy! Have the courage and humility to present yourselves to the world determined to be holy, since full, true freedom is born from holiness. This aspiration will help you discover genuine love, untainted by selfish and alienating permissiveness. . ."