Happy New Year, friends!

Of all the New Year resolution articles, blogs, posts, and tweets I’ve read, this little reflection written by Swiss Schoenstatt Father, Nicolas Schwizer, is the best. Our resolutions usually are very one-sided – focusing on our own needs and betterment. Here, Fr. Nicolas agrees that we need to tend to ourselves, but more importantly, we need to tend to one another. And, I believe, in that process we become better ourselves.

There are plenty of things upon which I need to improve for myself in the coming year, but I think I’ll be placing “family co-responsibility” at the head of my resolution list. That not only includes the Fenelon Clan, but also my neighborhood, friendships, community, professional circles, parish, and the Church.

How ’bout you?

new yearFamily Co-responsibility

One of the problems which I see on the way to sanctity is what we could call a lack of co-responsibility for one another. What happens is that many aspects of our life are too taxing, whether in the spiritual life (for example, profound and serene prayer, fidelity to resolutions), or in the natural life (for example, more self-control with eating, drinking, smoking, going on walks).

We become aware that they surpass our strength,that alone we cannot conquer them. We have tried so many times and have failed. So, then, what can we do? We have to help one another, advise one another, mutually call it to each other’s attention…..because each one of us is co-responsible for the sanctity of one’s family.

The problem of the times. It is about the lack of permanent time which afflicts many. It happens that time passes without stopping. We can lose it, but we cannot get it back. We can only make better use of it. To be in control of our time is, in reality, to be in control of oneself, not letting oneself be knocked down or dragged down by oneself or by others. It is knowing how to keep a distance, meditating serenly on the way we use our time. It is about the art of living the present moment fully.

For many, the adequate distribution of their time is very difficult, the rational balance between the different life activities: family, work, rest, spiritual and apostolic life. We all know the enslaving power of work. It is like a drug which intoxicates and later demands an increase in dosage. Excessive work can atrophy growth, wither joy, drown life. Social and apostolic activities can also become obstacles for sanctity, especially if we have not learned how to say “no;” and it is always better to give a friendly “no” than an unfulfilled “yes.”

I think that many are also lacking more order and discipline in their daily lives; they lack to clearly define their personal priorities, their scale of values.

A fundamental point is rest. There is a normal tiredness at the end of the day or the year.

But there is also a fatigue which drags the entire person down, a nervous exhaustion which has to do with the lack of rest, inactivity, exercise. Many feel stressed because they want to do many things in little time and, therefore, they suffer tension, irritability and vexation. And that impedes their enjoyment of life. It is recommended to control our sleep and rest times. And to help ourselves, we should set for ourselves a time-limit for sleeping; and if we do not achieve it, we should try to recuperate the lost time for resting.

Many of us seriously neglect our bodies by not engaging in some sport or physical exercise. Some do not even follow the clear medical prescription of going on daily walks. Our body, “brother donkey,” is not only stubborn and a glutton, but also lazy.

Another way of endangering our mental health is by not respecting a time for personal idleness. We all have to learn to reserve idle time for ourselves, without feeling guilty. It can be for reading, listening to music, walking, making a visit – ultimately, to do something that I like, something which distracts me.

I think that in all of this we have to feel responsible for each member of the family, we have to accompany one another and help one another. Thus, all together, we can more easily change our bad habits and overcome the obstacles on our life’s journey. It is a valuable and necessary contribution so that we can continue on our way and conquer full, natural and supernatural maturity. It is our way of supporting ourselves and mutually encouraging ourselves in our great desire and challenge for becoming, some day, all together, a holy family.

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