Advent and New Year’s Resolutions

As this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, we are beginning a new Liturgical Year.

I have decided that as this is a new year I will make some new year resolutions. I won’t wait till the beginning of a chronological new year. This can be dangerous, especially as everyone reading this will know what I have decided on and can therefore call me out if and when they see my failing to live up to my resolutions or failing to live according to my desire to change.

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas and the coming of Christ at the end of time.

  • I resolve to be more alert, to be more attentive to Christ around me and within me.
  • I need to understand how to stand erect and hold my head high.
  • I pray for the grace to live in the present moment and live each day to the full.
  • Using any means to make myself more attentive to what Christ is showing me.

To help me do this, my first resolution is to every evening spend some time reflecting on my day.

Here is how Mark Thibodeaux, SJ describes the stages of the Examen based on the words of St Ignatius of Loyola :

“In the Examen, we review our recent past to find God and God’s blessings in life. We also look back to find moments in the day when things didn’t go so well—when we were hurt by something that happened to us, or when we sinned or made a mistake. We give praise and thanksgiving for the blessed moments. We ask forgiveness and healing for the difficult and painful moments. Having reflected on this past day, we then turn to the day yet to come and ask God to show us the potential challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. We try to anticipate which moments might go one way or the other for us: toward God’s plan or away from it. We ask for insight into what graces we might need to live this next day well; patience, wisdom, fortitude, self-knowledge, peace, optimism. We ask God for that grace, and we trust that he wants us to succeed in our day even more than we do.”

My second resolution concerns the fact that during this new year, known as Year C, the principle gospel used throughout the year is The Gospel of Luke.

This gospel, together with the Acts of the Apostles, presents a breathtaking narrative of early Christianity – from Gabriel announcing the birth of John the Baptist to the Apostle Paul announcing the gospel of Jesus in Jerusalem.

I am resolving to keep a copy of the gospel close to me and prayerfully read the gospel of Luke, and use it as a source of prayer.

My third resolution concerns the synodal process that we have been going through these past weeks.

I am resolving to listen to what has been said and pay attention, particularly to what parishioners have said about their hopes and concerns for the church (as lived out in this parish of St Thomas), and work with you to see how we can truly be Christ – present here and now in Canterbury.

Come Holy Spirit, give me wisdom and understanding to be attentive to your prompting now.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest