Here we are, one month and a half into the new year. At the beginning of each year, I picture where I want to be at the end of the year, and then I come up with a checklist to make that happen. The goals for 2019 include adding at least one daily Mass a week and working towards a healthier me. Already, though, I find myself struggling. Why? It’s maybe because I’m approaching it all wrong.
Maybe you made similar goals. Perhaps yours are going well or possibly you’ve even rolled your eyes as you pushed them aside, deciding they were just too difficult. Time for a heart check. Because the real question isn't whether it's too difficult, but am I doing this to feel better about myself or for the greater glory of God? It might sound strange to think of eating more vegetables or taking a daily walk as something we do for God, but stay with me.
When God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:15-17), He didn’t just hope for rule followers. In today's Gospel (Mark 7:14-23), Jesus reprimands the crowd on their preoccupation with the food laws while letting their hearts slide into disarray. Because it's not just the rules, it's also the heart. In both these stories, God was yearning for their obedience, an obedience borne out of love and trust.
What is my intention behind my goals and resolutions? Am I working towards being healthier to honor God with my body and out of respect for who He created me to be, or is it because I care about what others think of me, or I’m unhappy with my post-four-babies body? Do I want to attend Mass more frequently to make me look like a better Catholic or out of a longing to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
What about your intention behind all your goals, sister?
May we be able to answer honestly: "This is done with joy for the greater glory of God."
Did you catch our blog post on New Years "Un-Resolutions"? Find it here.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother to four boys while living in a 200 year old farmhouse. When not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or snagging amazing antique furniture deals. You can find out more about her here.