This time of year, resolutions are on everyone’s minds. How can we and the world be better this next year? At our home, we subscribe to The Chicago Tribune each day. There are a few columnists who I regularly read. One is Eric Zorn. In the early days of the New Year, he wrote about his search for his motivating word for the year, and he chose the word “delete.” He was attempting to suggest that in this new year, we ought to simplify our lives and delete or eliminate those things which we no longer used or needed.
Then, this past Wednesday, January 9th, Mary Schmich, another favorite columnist, called for a New Year’s “purge” also formerly called de-cluttering and getting organized, and offered tips for doing so. Mary suggested that tidying up is for the faint of heart. “Purging is for athletes, soldiers, and conquerors.” We all do a bit of deleting when we take down our Christmas decorations and embark on a new year, but Mary calls us to do more.
The articles were full of reminders that your “stuff” is not you, that if you don’t remember you own it, then you may as well not. What the articles also made me think about is priorities. What is important to us? What Mike, my husband, might think is “stuff” I might consider treasure. What is it that defines what we value? Our headlines are full of stories of immigrants who leave everything in order to move on toward hope and a better life.
What does our faith have to offer us as guidelines? The best guide for me is the Ten Commandments, simply summarized by Jesus as this: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You should love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk.12: 28-31).
If we are serious about and live that summary, then everything else falls into place. Forget about the long lists of diets, exercising, and the myriad of concerns to improve. If we truly follow the summary of the Law, our world will be a better place. Our bodies become holy temples and are treated as such, God becomes the priority, and peace and love have the possibility to surround us and the world. May it be so.
To God be the glory!