“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians5:17)”
The Christmas season has come and gone, and a brand new year is upon us. December’s hustle and bustle, shopping for presents, tree trimming, and holiday get-togethers are over. The Feast of the Epiphany has passed, and with it all the Christmas decorations have been put away. The days are beginning to grow longer. Winter’s cold winds are here. As 2019 begins, so does the opportunity to ring in the new and make a fresh start- physically, emotionally, and also spiritually.
Many of us take the opportunity at the start of the New Year to make resolutions. Some people resolve to improve their diet by consuming more fruits and vegetables, eating healthier. Some of us will resolve to reduce our intake of fatty, sugary foods and alcoholic beverages, especially after the gluttony of the holidays, with an abundance of sweets and heavy meals. Some resolve to start a new exercise regimen and get into better physical condition, maybe joining (and regularly visiting) a health gym. Some of us resolve to do a better job of cleaning our homes and organizing our clutter.
Then there are those of us whose resolutions include a change in our emotional behaviors. . Perhaps we resolve to be more patient with our children, spouses, or parents, or try to better control our tempers. Some of us will resolve to spend more time with family. Some of us will resolve to appreciate the precious quality of life, and stop taking our lives and our families for granted.
The New Year is also a time for making positive changes in our spiritual lives. One of the ways in which we can make move closer to God is by resolving to help others who are less fortunate than us by acting with compassion and love. We are called to service by our Catholic values. Charity allows us to see the face of Christ in our neighbor. Helping those who need it most makes transforming lives possible. We should follow the example that Jesus set. Instead of looking past someone who is suffering, take action to help them in their time of need. Help might be in the form of offering them basic necessities like food or shelter, or it might be giving them emotional comfort or hope in their time of desperation.
Refresh your soul by refreshing the soul of your neighbor. When you help someone else, you help yourself in the process. It is so rewarding to improve someone else’s life, and feel as though you have made a difference. When transforming other people’s lives, you may transform yours in the process.
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Philadelphia has many ways, customized to each local community, for you to resolve to make a fresh start this year spiritually and transform the lives of your neighbors as well as your own life. Like that of its founder, blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the vision of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul “is to embrace the world in a network of charity”.