Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year: I Firmly Resolve… Can New Years Resolutions Work?

By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (

New Years Eve is a great existential moment, ripe with expectations. It invites a spiritually cathartic reflection and offers hope.

Times Square in New York during last years New Years Eve.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – The celebrations have begun already in Sydney, Australia where 1.5 million people participated in massive fireworks displays and festivities. Final preparations are being made in Times Square, New York where authorities are expecting the largest crowd in the history of such New Years gatherings. At midnight, the ball will drop and a massive crowd will welcome a New Year with the sincere hope that it will offer them a new beginning.

The experience is nearly universal. Some Nations use different calendars, but the passing of one year to another is marked by a deliberate period of refection over the past year and a pledge to begin anew, to change. New Years Eve is a great existential moment, ripe with expectations. It invites a spiritually cathartic reflection and offers possibility and hope. One of the nearly universal customs is the making of “New Years Resolutions”.

Health Clubs seize the moment, inviting the newly resolute to begin shedding the unwanted weight which is a symbol of the lifestyle choices which they sincerely hope to change. GK Chesterton wrote: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

We all want to change as we end one year and look to a new one. In a rare moment of near universal reflection and honest self assessment, we admit our failures. We pledge to learn from them and move toward a better future. In Little Gidding written by T.S. Eliott we find these often quoted words: “For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice…What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

See also:

The Word made flesh makes us like Himself

The Word took our nature from Mary

The Birthday of the Lord is the Birthday of Peace


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