Columnists Mark my words

Column: Be a ‘doer,’ not a ‘stewer,’ in the new year

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. he has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

Well, it’s a brand-new year. My surest indicator that the calendar has flipped to another January is what’s on sale now in store ads. There’s healthier food, organizing tools, and exercise equipment.

Therefore, to encourage a healthier lifestyle in 2012 for us all, I’d like to share a recipe I recently discovered:

“Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate; cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past. Have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of time. Cut these months into anywhere from 29 to 31 equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way), but prepare one day at a time.

“Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, tolerance, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing — don’t do it), prayer, meditation and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play and a heaping cupful of good humor.” (Adapted from “The Sower’s Seeds — Revised and Expanded Edition,” by Brian Cavanaugh, TOR.)

Doesn’t this recipe sound good? Heck, I’m not much of a cook, but this is something that even I can whip up. Maybe.

I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t have too much luck with my New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I just ran across the ones that I made for 2011 — I’d hidden them in such a safe place that I only unearthed them by mistake a couple of days ago. After looking them over, all I had to do was cross out “2011” and write in “2012.” I suppose that in some time management effort, I decided to do nothing on any of them in the last year. How depressing.

This year, I’m committed to making my good intentions a reality. Taking a cue from those new year ads and the recipe above, I’ve boiled things down to four areas: diet, organization, exercise and rest.

After giving me a chocolate Santa and a box of Russell Stover’s pecan delights for Christmas, one of my parishioners wrote in her card: “And Fr. Mark, you know it is almost January and The Leaven will say, ‘I am going on a diet.’ So hurry and eat all the good food before January.”

Since the scale tells me that apparently I did just that, a diet is the first order of business. And although nutritious food and portion control are definitely on the list, so is dieting from other destructive things like laziness, too much TV and Web surfing, gossiping and complaining.

Next on my list is organizing. Yes, I resolve to paw through my ever-present, towering piles of papers. Those I cannot toss or recycle, I’m scanning into my computer to reduce my paper files. I intend to plow through my other possessions (especially my books) as well, and get unneeded items into the hands of those who can use them. But the primary goal of my organizing is to have a life that is free for spending more time in prayer, staying in touch with friends, attending plays and concerts, and simply pondering.

My third goal is exercise. I had to blow the dust off the old pedometer . . . again. But walking and breaking out the Wii Fit are definitely on the to-do list. But I also want to exercise my brain by reading one spiritual book a month and keeping up with all the Catholic periodicals that come into my home. I also want to exercise by being of better service to others, especially by answering emails and phone calls in a more timely fashion.

Finally, and this doesn’t contradict the item above, I’m reminding myself to rest. Many times my impatience is a direct result of my not taking time to get enough sleep or my tendency to over-commit. I’m going to resolve each day, for an hour or so, to unplug from the cell phone or the Net and enjoy the quiet, especially quality time with God.

Will I succeed? Yes, if I’m wise enough to follow St. John Vianney’s advice to rely on God’s strength — and not only on my own — in changing my life. Also, the first letters of my goals — diet, organize, exercise, rest — spell “doer” and should “guilt me” into action.

However, if all else fails, let’s all take comfort in the words of comedian Joey Adams: May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.

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Fr. Mark Goldasich

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