Need help with your New Year's Resolution? Just ask St. Augustine, the man who patented the prayer, “Lord help me be pure, but not yet.” The saint is a perfect example for those who aspire to something great but have difficulties getting the ball rolling, said Chris Stefanick, director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver.
In comments to CNA, Stefanick explained that there is no reason 2010 can’t be the best year yet. All it takes is keeping your resolution reasonable. “Grab hold of your goals on a daily basis.”
Think about the resolution you made for 2010, Stefanick said. “Is it the same resolution as last year? Did you keep it last year?”
Then Stefanick recalled the story of St. Augustine. Though St. Augustine is a Doctor of the Church, an acclaimed theologian and a beloved saint, “he struggled to actually live out the faith.” After all, he is the one who prayed, “Lord help me be pure, but not yet.”
It wasn’t until he opened his Bible and read the line from St. Paul, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh” that he figured out “how he was supposed to live out Christianity in his daily life,” explained Stefanick.
Just like it told St. Augustine, the passage tells us, “stop feeding that vice. Start feeding the virtue on a daily basis.”
And in regards to New Year’s resolutions, “bring it down to something simple, attainable, that you can actually grab hold of,” advises Stefanick. “If you want to pray more, don’t buy a new complicated book on how to pray, make your goal simply, you know what, I’m going to set my alarm 15 minutes earlier every day and pray.”
St. Thomas Aquinas said, “the soul has two arms: the intellect and the will.” “God has given you a will. That will is mighty,” emphasized Stefanick. “You can change the direction of your life in an instant, with your own will.”
“Begin today to make the next year the best of your life by keeping those resolutions to make yourself a better person… your will can succeed at making those right choices if you make your goals simple and attainable enough to grab hold of on a daily basis,” concluded Stefanick.