Musings On Making Room For God: A New Year’s Resolution
Many of us have probably pondered and attempted to plan and initiate some changes in our lives to kick off a happy New Year. Some people are skeptical of this because keeping resolutions is not easy – willingness and determination are essential in order to get started and to be on the right track. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong in setting goals anew for ourselves as the same aid us in our quest for personal growth and other goals in life, even in our relationship with our families and ultimately with God, particularly during this unprecedented time with the Covid-19 pandemic still around us, still ravaging the world, and still serving as an enormous challenge to us all.
Now that we have just entered the brand new year, perhaps we can ask ourselves? Did we learn anything from this Covid-19 pandemic? Are we confident to say that there is reason for hope in 2021? Have we reflected on the past year which may lead us to make some changes in our lives, to draw us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ and become His good followers, or do we still cling to pride, putting trust in people, possessions, prestige and power more than God?
Definitely, there are some of us who have quite been humbled by what happened to the world last year and even now. Some of us have been more appreciative of people and the little things which were previously taken for granted. This pandemic made us realize how important it is to value and enjoy every moment of our lives, to make everyday a special one, even the day-to-day mundane things.
Among the changes and resolutions that came to mind for this New Year is making room especially for God, which means that we have to focus on and love Him more, and radiate the said love to our neighbors specifically those who needed most.
The first few weeks of the New Year are timely and a perfect period for us to step back and reflect on our lives particularly our spiritual journey. What is filling the room of our hearts? Have we been making room for God? Are we inclined to open the doors of our hearts for God? Have our faith and trust in God been deepened during this pandemic, or have we been hesitant in entrusting everything to the Lord?
As we all know, God packages his messages to us in several ways, and some people believe that this pandemic is one of them. Personally, I thought so too. God wants us to accommodate Him in our homes, to make Him at home in our hearts, in our lives. He wants us to share our joys, works and sufferings, desires and fears, hopes and sorrows in our every day life. Our Lord God is reminding us of our duties, He wants us to change for the better, to be better Christians, and for us to extend help and share what we have, especially those in dire need.
During the past year, many of us were confined most of the times in our homes due to lockdowns, social distancing and other health protocols imposed by authorities, and truly this pandemic taught us so many things. It brings us to God, it taught us to focus our lives on Him, to spend quality time with Him in prayer.
At times, when we yearn for God to reside in our hearts, we find it difficult to welcome and allow Him to enter into our hearts. Why is that? Is it cowardice? Hesitance on our part, as we may not be able to do things that we have been comfortable with but are not pleasing to God? When we decide to make room for God, there is an accompanying resolve to cleanse the clutter and unnecessary things that are still kept in our hearts and this can be done thru Confession and an Act of Contrition. Or, at times we have to be brave enough to let go and let God. God can enter into our hearts even if our hearts are filled with ”cobwebs” (e.g. pride, greed, envy, lust etc.) if we allow him to enter and cleanse us from our sins, saving us from damnation. God loves us so much even if we have sinned. That’s the best gift that God has given us, by becoming man thru His begotten Son, who proved just how great His love is for us. And we should be grateful for that and this kind of love that God has for us should be shared to others. Our Lord Jesus Christ once stated that: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…..” And this, in a nutshell: “Whatever you to do the least of my brothers, you do unto me”.
Pope Francis, in his Angelus address few days ago (3rd of January), reminded and warned us against the temptation to ignore the suffering of others during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Holy Father is hopeful that things will get better in Year 2021, and that priority should be to those who are in dire need, especially the poor, the weakest and the most disadvantaged. In view of this, he calls for a commitment to “take care of each other” in Year 2021. He further stated that while we have no idea on what’s in store for everyone this year, we can all together “commit ourselves a little more to take care of each other and of creation, our common home”. Taking care of each other and loving our neighbor are some ways and means on how to make room for God. When we make room for God, we weed out the worthless and useless things in our lives. We make God the center of our lives by honoring Him in our prayer and in our deeds towards our neighbors.
The Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) faced the same problems which some of us are experiencing nowadays. They were not well off , in fact they were deprived of material things, but because of their strong faith in God and unselfish love for each other, they were able to weather the storm so courageously and peacefully.
So with courage, let us invite Jesus into our homes, let us make room for Him, regardless. Let us resolve not to defile ourselves. As much as possible let us get rid of those bad things and vices that causes us to stumble in our faith. As Pope Francis stated in one of his messages, “May the Holy Mother of God, in whom the Word became flesh, help us to welcome Jesus, who knocks on the door of our hearts to dwell with us”.
We hope and pray that our resolutions and goals in 2021 would be doable, attainable, and fruitful in the end, filled with lots of love, family and good friends. Amen.
(Note: Earlier published in a Catholic magazine in the U.S.A)