Through the course of this week, we have discovered that New Year resolutions, rooted in Christ and prayerfully chosen, can lead us along the path to holiness. Today we come to the last two resolutions for the New Year using the acronym, R-E-S-O-L-V-E-D.
We have seen that the R leads us to recommit our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; the E encourages us to a daily examination of conscience; S and O go together — surrrender to God and obedience; to grow in the ways of God we need the L and the V, listening to Him and living the virtues. And now, all is summed up in the E and the D — Eucharist and Dedication. These final two resolutions should be our greatest.
In this new year, may we resolve to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as frequently as possible. The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1324). It is through the Body and Blood of Jesus, Our Lord, that we are nourished, fortified, strengthened, and renewed.
Recall the words Jesus spoke to the Jews as recorded in the Gospel of St. John in Chapter 6 at Verse 53, “Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life within you.
He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”
Nowhere is the value of the Eucharist written more clearly or stated so succinctly. In His own words, Jesus tells us that His Eucharistic Presence brings us eternal life. How privileged are we that we can receive Him every day at Holy Mass! How humbled are we that the God of all creation should manifest Himself in the poverty of bread and wine so that we, His creatures, may have intimate communion with Him!
The eminent theologian and author, Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (1877-1964), known as one of the Church’s all-time greatest authorities on the spiritual life, says this about the disposition of heart we should bring to our reception of the Eucharist:
“Let us remind ourselves that each of our Communions ought to be substantially more fervent than the preceding, since each of them ought to increase the love of God in us, and thus dispose us to receive our Lord with a greater fervour of will on the following day” (The Three Conversions of the Spiritual Life).
Father Garrigou-Lagrange’s statement presupposes two things: that we come to receive Eucharist with fervency to begin with; and that we are receiving the Sacred Species frequently, if not daily, thus increasing the love of God in us. We would do well to examine our conscience as to the degree of fervency we bring to our reception of Holy Communion and to what extent we try to receive more often than once a week.
Let us resolve to spend some time in prayerful preparation before receiving Our Lord. Let us contemplate this sacred mystery and the reality of Who it is we are about to receive. Let us beg God to make our hearts a fitting tabernacle to receive Him, a holy ark to carry Him, an empty vessel readied to be filled by Him, and a fount of mercy to share Him with others.
And this brings us to the last letter in our New Year’s acronym.
The D in the word Resolved stands for Dedication: the state of being wholly committed to something, as to an ideal. We must be dedicated, wholly committed to the ideals set before us in the resolutions we have made. This requires we remind ourselves of them often, evaluate ourselves against them regularly, seek to conform ourselves to them daily, and make the necessary adjustments mindfully. If we are willing, with steadfast Dedication, to seriously advance along the path we have set out upon, next year at this same time, we will have realized significant spiritual growth and a deeper appreciation and understanding of the One Who is our God.
May Jesus Christ bring to completion the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6)!