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On the Road to Sunday: Beyond resolutions - A new year offers us a chance to recommit ourselves to Christ

by Cami Mann
 
Image: Making a list of resolutions for 20192019 is upon us. It seems hard to believe that we entered this new millennium nearly two decades ago. Many of us are old enough to remember Y2K and the anxiety we experienced at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 1999 – the fear of what might happen when computers reset to zero. For all of the predictions of crashing stock markets and power outages, it went smoothly.
 
Maybe it was the anxiety of the unknown or the recognition of a dawning millennium, but a few parishes in my hometown offered Mass that night. As the timing would have it, at exactly midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, the priest was raising the host during consecration. That image is still vivid in my mind. I remember recalling Romans 8:38, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” With all the anxiety about the world coming to a crashing halt, the elevation of the body of Christ said it all – NOTHING will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
 
Every new year brings to mind and heart that iconic image. For the past 19 years, my road to Sunday has entered the new year strengthened by that memory. The memory not only serves as a comfort, but also a calling. It calls me to respond by renewing my commitment to that promise of unconditional love; for
while God’s love cannot be separated from me, I can certainly separate myself from it.
 
As a Third Order Secular Franciscan, each January we renew our profession communally. We remember why we became Franciscans. We renew our commitment to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis, and we remember the promise we made to each other as professed members of our fraternity.
 
January lends itself to renewal and recommitment, not in a resolution kind of way, but in a way that offers ourselves to Christ – fully as we are and committed to growing into who we have been created to be. The long dark nights and gray days of winter create the atmosphere that beckons us to slow down and
become introspective; to dig deep into the soil of our hearts and notice where our love for God is greening and where the soil is still cold, hard and barren.
 
This may be a hard year to recommit given the realization of the misuse of power by some in the Church hierarchy. I have talked with many people who have decided staying committed is not an option for them, let alone recommitting. This saddens me. For like my Franciscan renewal, I not only recommit to Christ, but to you my brothers and sisters, and I ask you to pray for me to the Lord our God.
 
 
Cami Mann, spiritual director, writer, editor and public speaker, is the founder of ManIFeStations GR. She and her husband, Mark, are Secular Franciscans. Contact her at cmann1897@gmail.com.