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DEAR friend, at the beginning of each New Year, as tradition dictates, we offer and receive wishes for prosperity, happiness, love and all good things for the days to come. For many, New Year’s Day is just another holiday. On this day, however, we Catholics celebrate with great solemnity the union between God and humanity, inaugurated in the womb of a woman, Mary, Mother of God.  We are invited to learn from her to keep Jesus in our hearts and to ask ourselves what the Lord wants to say to us as the days go by.

Time is a gift we have received from God and, to follow the Father wisely, we must therefore make good use of it. That is why the beginning of the New Year can remind us that each day lived with Jesus can be an opportunity to abandon the old way of life and adopt a new one. After all, we Christians belong to a new creation and serve a King who renews us every day through the Holy Spirit.

Setting goals for the New Year can therefore be an important sign of our desire to glorify God in our lives. So before you write your resolutions down, let me share some advice to help you set concrete goals that could bring you closer to the Lord in 2024.

First of all, I would like to advise you to be constant in your efforts, and to avoid the danger of impatience. Human beings have a tendency to want to see the fruits of their efforts immediately, and the fact that it takes a long time is very often a source of discouragement. Dreams are not realized by dreaming, but by working, that is, by transforming them into reality. Of course, all these changes can only happen through God’s grace. Therefore, our goals must also become our prayer intentions.

Another piece of advice is that in the pursuit of the good you must always have the courage to use the most appropriate means to achieve it, even if they may sometimes seem unattractive. It is very easy to say, “I can’t do it; I’m not good enough,” maybe even before we have tried, but if it is something done in the Lord, He will help you. His grace, if invoked, will not be long in coming.

Finally, never forget to ask for help when you need it. You can always count on the advice of family and friends, and of people who have the experience to help you effectively. In this sense, don’t forget that you can always count on the help of priests, religious men and women whom the Lord has chosen to guide all of us on our path of sanctification. Thank God, we will always find people who walk the path the Lord wants us to walk, and who can show us the appropriate steps.

I would like to conclude this letter by expressing to you the wish given by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate on the call to holiness in today’s world: “May you come to realize what is that word, that message of Jesus that God wants to tell the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed. Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission. The Lord will bring it to fulfillment despite your mistakes and missteps, provided that you do not abandon the path of love, but remain ever open to his supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens.”

May God bless you with a New Year of peace, love and serenity.

Updated on January 01 2024