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Whether you've made a dozen resolutions or none at all, here's one that will make 2024 the best year of your life: Resolve to make a difference in every way possible!
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
The good you have done, and continue to do, is no small thing. But it seems to me that most of us miss many opportunities given by God to inspire, challenge, and serve others.
But first, we need to examine our prayer life? In a spirit of prayer, allow the light of the Gospel and Catholic social teaching to guide your active response to the needs of those near and far.
Prayer is to the soul as food is to the body. Prayer not only makes a difference in our own lives, but it also provides us with the wisdom and courage to make a difference in the world. Blessed Mother Teresa said: "If we don't pray, we don't live, but we are not meant to do only that. The fruit of prayer is love, and action is the fruit of love." Without action our faith is worthless (see James 2:15-17).
Whenever you hear of a need, try to do whatever you can. Respond to as many requests as possible. Send whatever you can. Even one dollar will help. If every teenage and adult Catholic adopted the give-a-dollar habit, numerous charitable organizations would receive millions of dollars to assist the needy. Remember, God will not be outdone in generosity!
Some of the stores you patronize probably sell pornographic magazines or videos. Talk with the managers and express your concern. It only takes a little courage. Sometimes they will remove them. And if they don't, let them know you intend to shop elsewhere. Never be too embarrassed to witness to the faith.
Develop the habit of personally and as a parish emailing and calling your government representatives and the offices of corporate CEOs on behalf of those who suffer from war (As I was just writing the word "war" two fighter jets flew high over my room; I take this as confirmation from the Holy Spirit that this concern is real and urgent.), abortion, poverty and all forms of exploitation. It doesn't take much time. A short email letter can be written in 15 minutes. And what a valuable use of your time.
Let's put our Catholic faith into action! Let's make 2024 a year dedicated to dismantling what St. Pope John Paul II called the "structures of sin."
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. boldly proclaimed, "There are some things in our social system to which I'm proud to be maladjusted ... I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and discrimination ... I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism." To all the injustice in our world, the challenge put before us is to be maladjusted.
But to move from maladjustment to corrective action, we need to learn what is truly happening to our suffering brothers and sisters, near and far, born and unborn. Watching the corporate evening news will not give us the true information we need. It is essential for us to consult challenging Catholic sources of information.
Catholic Online School, Maryknoll NewsNotes, Comboni Justice and Peace newsletter, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Pace e Bene, Catholic Climate Covenant and the U.S. Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development are some of the excellent Catholic resources waiting to help you make 2024 the best year of your life by resolving to make a difference in every way possible!
Methodism's founder, Reverend John Wesley, summed it all up quite beautifully: "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at email@example.com.