Set your eyes on Christ in the New Year


By Mitchell Narvasa
Guest Column

Uh oh. Here we go. I hear it. That electric guitar playing “Eye of the Tiger” while everyone gets motivated to make and keep their New Year’s resolution. (If you don’t know the song, look it up and you’ll realize that you do know it.) We’ve got our eyes on the prize. Welcome to motivation station. This year is the year! Forget the other 25 years I’ve been saying this is the year because this is the year! I have more … but you get the point.


You know, for a long time, I thought New Year’s resolutions were … dumb. To be honest with you, it’s because I never kept them! They came and went, unlike the weight I kept saying I’d lose. It just came and never left. I also thought that these resolutions always seemed superficial but I think very differently of them now. I think New Year’s resolutions tell us two things about who God has made us as human beings. The first is that we were made for excellence. The second is that our hearts cling to hope.

God made us for excellence. Pope Benedict XVI said that, “you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.” St. Irenaeus said that, “the glory of God is man fully alive.” To be fully alive is to be infused with God’s life, his breath, which makes us more fully human, but we must live as humans fully alive, striving for excellence, growing in virtue, becoming healthier temples of the Holy Spirit.


What’s the enemy of greatness? Comfort. I was walking through Costco and saw the most amazing recliner chair. I told my wife, “I can’t wait to get one of those when I’m old!” Then I paused for a long time and said to her, “If I ever say that again, slap me.” Comfort robs us of greatness.

Do you think Mother Teresa was looking forward to one day bumming out on a recliner while patting herself on the back saying, “You’re so amazing, you did so many good things”? Absolutely not. Live more fully in the Spirit and become who you are, not a half-realized human, a sometimes-patient human, a happy-where-I’m-at human and certainly not a can’t-wait-to-retire-on-a-recliner-and-watch-football-till-my-last-breath human, but a fully alive human made for greatness!

What keeps us striving for greatness is hope. New Year’s resolutions are full of hope when we make them. We think, “If that person can do that, then I can too.” This hope comes from an innate knowledge of who we know we can be. Sin has deflated our dreams and our future. God has inflated it with his own breath and he does so in abundance. Our God is a God of hope.

St. Paul said to Timothy, “…God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” Fear has no place in the heart of God’s beloved because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Cling to hope and know that our God “is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4).

So aim high sisters and brothers. You were made for heights you can’t even imagine. Excellence is what you were made for. Hope is what you are filled with. Set your eyes on Christ, the prize, and you will accomplish things you have never dreamt of, for “… he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).

Have a happy, holy, fully alive New Year!

(Mitchell Narvasa is pastoral associate/discipleship and evangelization for St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.)

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