I hope that your Christmas season is full of joy! As I read today’s readings, I was struck by the last verses in both the First Reading and the Gospel. They both point to doing the will of God is what ultimately fulfills us, both in this life and the next.
“Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” 1 John 2:17
For many years I have struggled with overeating. In the last few months, I have participated in a group to help me with this struggle. And I have found such truth in this program which is based on Theology of the Body. One of the most important ideas I have come away with is that it is hard to get enough of something that almost works (Dr. Vincent Felitti). It helped me realize that food, for me, is “the world and its enticement,” and while I of course need food to care for my body, it can substitute for doing the will of God. You can put in place of food whatever it is that you cling to instead of God.
When we cling to God, go to him first, we are like Jesus, in this verse from the Gospel, “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” Luke 2:40
We are meant to grow in strength and wisdom all our lives, turning ourselves toward God. I am grateful I have my whole life to do this. Like many people I did not always understand this concept when I was younger. Now, while I have a better grasp of it, I can still get derailed. Thankfully, God’s grace calls me back and sets me right. And I can begin again.
Our intention matters in this life. As we approach the end of this year, consider asking yourself two questions: Did I fulfill my intentions for the year? And what are my intentions for the coming year? Not a New Year’s resolution list; an honest review of the past year and what you want to have happen next in your life.
Growing in wisdom and following God’s will are great places to start.
Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, NotLukewarmPodcast.com, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.
Feature Image Credit: David Wirzba, https://unsplash.com/photos/1xWIRQzBzKE