Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the Executive Director and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
It's that time of year again - New Year’s resolutions abound.
Looking back on this past year, did you grow in your faith and in holiness? Here's a good test; ask yourself whether if those closest to you were asked this question about you, would their answer be a resolute “yes!”?
If not, do you have a purposeful plan to grow closer to Christ this coming year you might consider this question, "Are you fully prepared to meet God face to face if this year is your last?"
Though it was years ago, it only seems like yesterday when I attended my brother Shannon’s funeral – he was 35 years old when he died. About a year prior, I attended my sister Linda’s funeral – she was 32. In between these, my niece Callie was 2 years old when she was ripped from this world.
No one saw any of these devastating and sudden losses coming. Two of the three were healthy only hours before they died. Each of their bodies failed, almost instantly, in different and unexpected ways. Each of them lived as if they had long lives ahead of them. Each of them was wrong. One moment they were healthy, spending time with family, playing, eating, sleeping… and then they were suddenly standing before God.
What did they see as they stood waiting to hear God’s determination regarding their eternal destiny? What will you see and hear? When will you find yourself standing before God? In the next ten minutes? The next hour? Tomorrow? Next week? Are you ready?
If not, what will it take for you to get ready? Is there really anything more important than being ready? Is there really anything more important than where you will spend eternity once this very brief life has passed?
Each minute you choose the trajectory of your soul. Each minute you decide what God will ratify at your last breath. What is your chosen trajectory? What if you think it is heaven when it really is not?
If you are committed to your Catholic faith, can you clearly articulate the criteria upon which you will be judged when you meet God face to face? Could you show someone where your views are justified in the Catechism or scripture?
Are you really as ready as you can be, or do you just hope that you are?
My hope and prayer in the coming new year, you are or will become as ready as you can be. If you are not, my prayer is that you will move spiritual growth to the top of your New Year’s resolution list, get a clear plan in place, and quickly begin to pursue your relationship with Christ and his Church.
I wrote Navigating the Interior Life for this purpose – to provide a kind of map to knowing God in this life and the next. If you don’t have a plan, Navigating the Interior Life provides ways that you can specifically discover the path that God has for you.
That said, I wish you a very happy New Year! If your last moment comes this year – my prayer is that you will find yourself embraced by Christ and hearing the words, “well done – enter into the joy of your master…”
PS: If you do have spiritual resolutions for the New Year, share them with the rest of us! I have no doubt that we will benefit from your insights.