By: Melisa Carroll
Happy New Year!
I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of resolutions (mostly because I’m terrible at keeping them), but I do relish the idea of a “fresh start” at the beginning of a new year. While in actuality January 1st is a day no different than any other day, I find myself buoyed by emotions of hope, anticipation, and renewed zeal as I look at the span of a new calendar year before me. It’s an opportunity, really. It’s a chance to take stock of what has consumed your life in the past year and re-evaluate what you really want to consume your time, energy, and mind.
BUT I’m not going to propose a resolution to you. Resolutions are flimsy. They are grand ideas that very often don’t translate well into reality. Instead, I’m going to remind you of something: intentionality. To be intentional means to do everything with purpose. It means that there is a reason behind each decision you make and it’s not just, “because I felt like it.” We are all called to be intentional disciples in this world, which can be difficult, especially when it’s so easy to slip into autopilot.
Last Sunday at Mass, the priest mentioned autopilot (specifically at church) and I almost physically felt Jesus elbowing me in the ribs to listen up. The priest reminded the congregation that we, as Catholics, believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and yet, how often do we let our minds wander throughout the liturgy and especially as we go to receive Him? Now, I’m not saying that every time we get distracted at church we should feel terribly guilty, but that we may have a tendency to go through the motions and not really be intentional about participating. Why do we go to church? Many answers pop into my mind, but I know that the primary one is to get closer to God. And yet, so many times while I’m in church, I’m not actually trying to get closer to God - I’m watching other people in the pews, I’m thinking about lunch, I’m stressing about an event later in the week, etc.
What would happen if we started being really intentional about church? And not just about church, but about our daily prayer time, or evangelizing friends and family, or being love to our classmates or coworkers? What if we did everything with the intentional thought: “I’m doing this for you, Jesus.” How would our lives change? How would our faith change? I suspect that life would become more peaceful as we surrender everything to God, that it would become more joyful as we see His hand in everything, and that we would be able to love more freely and selflessly.
I know that it’s not easy to be intentional all the time. Sometimes autopilot kicks in when we don’t even realize it, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t switch it back off when we do. So as you gaze at your fresh, unwritten 2019 calendar or planner with all the cute little stickers and doodads, I invite you to be intentional about what you write on those pages each day. How can you invite Christ into each activity and intentionally love Him through it? What if this year was consumed by the desire to live intentionally for Christ?
Each day, and every moment within it, is a gift from God. A new year is a fresh set of 365 days - each one with a plethora of opportunities to be a revolutionary in big and small ways. Let’s keep moving the revolution of love forward by being intentional. It’s all for you, Jesus.