January 9, 2023
The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution?
Article taken from USCCB For Your Marriage
It didn’t take long. Soon after returning home from a great post-Christmas visit with family, the kids began rearranging their rooms—hanging up new clothes they’d received, shelving new books, and making room for toys and other gifts.?Our family’s designated “donate” box also began to fill up. ?
One of our kids went so far as to pull up her mattress and box spring and do a deep clean under her bed. The sound of the vacuum cleaner was like a beautiful symphony!?Instead of layering new things on top of old, they were grasping intuitively that this is an opportune time to reprioritize and reorder,?to declutter, donate, and make room for the new. ?
It struck us that all this New Year’s reordering in our household—our little “society of daily life”—can happen in our interior life as well. As C.S. Lewis summarized, “St. Augustine defines virtue as?ordo amoris?[ordering of love], the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that degree of love which is appropriate to it.”?To put it simply, first things first.
You could say that building a virtuous and Christ-centered Trinity House in 2023 will be based on putting our loves in the right order,?and aligning our family life with God’s plan—the plan unveiled in scripture and the teachings and traditions of the Church. This alignment may mean re-prioritizing some practices that have become rusty and giving up or deprioritizing others. ??
To take a few examples: There’s nothing wrong with the love of good food, but if it occupies more attention than our love of serving our neighbors, then we are looking at a “disordered love.” The occasional?family movie night is great, but if the love of consuming media outranks our family’s love of having dinner together, family prayer time, or listening to one another, then something is amiss.?The love of fitness or sports is great, but we all understand that it should be “lower” than the love and service of our spouse and parents.
How fitting that as we resolve to order our loves well in 2023, the Church gives us the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Jan. 3rd). Describing the Holy Name, the 14th-century hermit and mystic Richard Rolle wrote,?“This name Jesus, loyally held in mind, drags up vices by the roots, plants virtues, sows charity,?pours in the savor of heavenly things, drains away discord, reforms peace, gives everlasting rest, and fills his lovers with spiritual joy.”
Applying this wisdom as we attempt to order our family life?according to God’s ways:
- Do we hold and?savor the name of Jesus?in our family life?
- Do we?invoke His Holy Name?in prayer together, at meals, and in daily conversation?
- When we face inevitable challenges throughout the day, do we call upon His Holy Name with a?simple prayer like, “Jesus, I surrender”?or “Jesus, help me”?
- When we experience temptations, do we invoke the Holy Name, saying, for example,?“In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit?of [specific temptation]?”?
Our kids inspired us with the physical re-ordering of their rooms. And as the return to school approaches, the donate box is brimming to overflow.?Now, let’s see if we can reorder the more important things,?putting our love for the Holy Name of Jesus, the Eucharist, the Word of God, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Sabbath, the Commandments, loving our neighbor, and serving the poor above lesser things.
May 2023 be marked by the?Ordo Amoris—the ordering of our loves—such that we might sing, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name through all the earth!” (Ps. 8:2)