The end of the liturgical year is knocking on our doorstep. This coming Sunday we will celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. That will be the final Sunday of the Church Year. The following Sunday will usher us into the Season of Advent.
I want to invite you to look back over the last year. How have you grown spiritually? What seeds of faith have been planted? What growth has been nurtured into full bloom? Are you closer to God now than you were last year at this time?
There are times during the liturgical year which obviously encourage us to pray and reflect about certain things. The resurrection of the dead has been the focus recently. Our prayer intentions for the deceased during the whole month of November highlight that message as well. How much thought have we given to our own mortality?
What are the resolutions you are going to make for the new year? What is there about your prayer life that you want to address? Is there anything specific that you want to learn about the faith or the Church? How will you go about gaining this knowledge? What acts of service would you like to direct your attention toward? I am encouraging you to make a plan. How will you grow in holiness throughout the coming Church year?
Take some time reflecting on the Ten Commandments. What area of your life is in bondage to sin? How will you seek freedom? What are the specific areas that need healing in your relationship with God? How has love of neighbor been going in your life? Can you visibly see the fruits of the Spirit growing in your life?
Take some time to reflect upon the Creed. Does the profession of faith you make each week reflect your day-to-day actions and behavior? If not, what needs to change?
Have you studied the moral teachings of the Church at all in recent years? What does the Church teach about moral and ethical issues confronting society? The list of issues is quite lengthy that society as a whole seems to be grappling with in the court of public opinion. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
3. physician-assisted suicide
5. capital punishment
9. human trafficking
10. gender ideologies
11. Christian genocide in the Middle East
Do we have a basic understanding of these issues? What does the Church teach? How do we do our best to uphold those teachings as a public witness to the truth? Do we even care?
We are people of hope because of our faith in Jesus Christ. If the flame of faith has died out in our lives, it is impossible to remain hopeful for very long. Be sure you enter into this new Church year with a plan to grow in wisdom, grace, and holiness. Please do not simply flounder about from one year to the next with no definitive intention to grow closer to Christ. Be diligent in your quest to know Christ, to love Him, and to serve Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be a saint!