Pope Francis was elected to the Chair of St Peter on March 2013. That means he has been Pope for 4 New Years. Every year since then, I have seen the same New Year resolutions list come from the Papacy.
No complaints there. Gotta keep it simple, right? Honestly, I try to see what I can do to knock out as many things on the list as I can. Everything on there seems so easy and simple. Truth is, it’s harder than you might think. Not because the actions are hard. It’s because I am a selfish sinner that doesn’t like to deviate from my usual routine. That doesn’t mean I can’t try.
I remember reading this list and thinking, “Wow! This is how you show the world the face of Christ. You don’t have to be Catholic or even a person of faith to apply this to your every day activities. If everyone did this, the world would be so much better off.” Let’s see what we can do to put this list into action.
According to Webster, a gossip is a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. Honestly, gossip can be hard to define. Am I just telling a story or expressing concern, or am I using personal information about someone else for my own entertainment? Is my life so boring, I have to talk about other people? I have always heard that a good rule is to never say anything about others you wouldn’t want said about you.
Finish Your Meals
An easy one. Kinda. Food is so good. Here in the good ole U.S.A. we are given massive portions of food. In that situation, just order your meal and ask for a to-go box. Put half your meal in the to-go box then enjoy the rest. You won’t over eat and you have another meal to eat at home. Watch your food portions, folks. It’s hard, but you don’t want to waste food.
Make Time For Others
It’s pretty easy to get caught up in your day to day. As a married man with several kids, sometimes it’s hard to make time for your spouse or extended family. Even harder than that is making time for your friends. (Especially if they are asking you to help them move.) I have a bad habit of getting caught up in my routines. Routines are nice. Routines are like a good pair of jeans. I hardly ever make a mistake when I stick to my routines. But you still have to break away and spend time with others. Otherwise, life gets lonely. Do like Jim Carry in Yes Man. Be ready to say yes to invitations and don’t be scared to make random plans with others. You’ll have way more fun that way.
Choose The More Humble Purchase
What does this mean, Pope Francis?? Are you telling me to get the cheapest truck or the truck with the most bang for my buck? Should I get DVDs instead of BlueRay? Should I feel bad about buying a house with a little extra space?
I think that is up to you. When I go shopping for anything, I have to ask myself if I am going with NEEDS or WANTS. How are you using your blessings? If you feel good about the answer to that question, then I think you are doing alright.
Meet The Poor “In The Flesh”
This was a hard one for me for many years. It was my daughter who taught me that you can be friendly to anyone. It just takes practice. You never know how a person became homeless. That’s not for us to worry about. Taking care of them. Giving them your time and sharing resources. That’s for us to worry about. Giving to charities that help the great is great. Over the years I have found that a hug, a “God bless you”, and a little conversation goes a long way with a homeless person. Again, that is something I learned from a child. Children don’t see poor, rich, race, addict… They see people.
Stop Judging Others
There’s that word. “JUDGE”
Everyone has their own opinion on what it means to judge someone else. On my Facebook page I get asked what I think about certain situations. If I don’t give them the answer they want to hear, I automatically get labeled “Judgy.” (That’s not even a word.) Give me a break. Does this mean you can’t tell someone what they are doing is wrong? Not as far as I can tell. I think what Pope Francis is trying to say here is not to jump to conclusions. Don’t assume things about others based on a small amount of information. Don’t decide someone is of poor character before you know their entire story. But that also doesn’t mean show up for a gay wedding at your local parish either.
Befriend Those Who Disagree
This is a big one especially if you apply it to social media. It is so easy to want to be right instead of fair or cordial. You can do both if you try. My wife is a pro-life advocate and has a pretty extensive following. We don’t spend a lot of time convincing other pro-lifers to be more pro-life. Her ministry is about creating relationships with people that work in the abortion industry and helping them find new jobs if they want to leave. To do that, you have to meet people where they are at. Understand their motivation and intentions. Get to know them. After all, that’s how my wife left Planned parenthood, became a pro-life leader, and ended up joining the Catholic Church.
Make Commitments Such As Marriage
Nailed it!! I am married with 7 kiddos. We have 5 walking, talking, and expecting meals. Then we have a pair of twins still making a cozy home in my wife’s belly.
You know what. You don’t have to be married to commit. there are commitments that single people can make. Commitments to serve God and country. Commitments to you Church and community. You don’t have to have a spouse or a collar/habit to be committed to what God wants you to do. You jut have to be open to His plan.
Make It a Habit To Ask The Lord
I interpret this as an invitation to stay in constant communication with God. Don’t be scared to ask Him to meet your needs. Don’t be scared to ask God if you are making the right decision. Feel free to ask God for the wisdom to discern His will. If you are always seeking God, you might just get it right every so often.
Be Happy (The Joy of The Gospel)
I don’t need to say much here. I’ll let someone else…
The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come
-Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudium