January 01, 2016
2016 New Year's Resolutions and Optimal Health
Beloved in Christ!
Our Lord Jesus Christ at the beginning of His public ministry made a very powerful statement: “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance”. John 10:10. As we embark on the New Year 2016, my sincere wish to all of you and your loved ones is that you may enjoy your life to the fullest.
As we may have learned from our own life experiences, good health is one of the keys to being able to enjoy our life more fully. Good health, including the spiritual, mental, physical, and social levels of our wellbeing has not only an intrinsic value in itself, but a functional value, as well. Without good health it is difficult to fulfill our duties, to work towards our goals and to realize our dreams. And so, it is not surprising that when we greet each other during this Christmas Season and at the beginning of the New Year we wish one another “good health”. As your pastor, I, too, wish you good spiritual, mental, physical, and social wellbeing!
To fortify and maintain each of these levels of wellbeing, I kindly invite you to consider the following three tips to help build a foundation for a generally healthier and more joyful year ahead.
“Whenever you pray, go to your room, close your door, and pray to your Father in private; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
Learn a new spiritual practice that will help you to connect your inner spirit to God more deeply. Spiritual practices will help us experience God’s presence in our lives. (For example: Centering Prayer, Rosary, Jesus Prayer, or simply contemplation/ or meditation).
Try to identify and eliminate a bad habit/attitude/ shortcoming/ imperfection and replace it with a new virtue that will enhance your inner peace and maintain harmony in your relationships.
“Be merciful as my Father in heaven is merciful.” Luke 6:36. Holy Father Pope Francis had dedicated this New 2016 Year to God’s Mercy, which is always present in our lives. Our common spiritual goal would be for this year and every year of our lives to receive graciously God’s Mercy and Love and be merciful to each other in our families, in the workplace, and in our communities. One way we can be more merciful is to practice forgiveness with those who have hurt us or betrayed our trust in the past and/or ask for forgiveness for our own transgressions against our relatives, friends, coworkers or anyone around us.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.
Practice optimism by trying to maintain a positive attitude toward yourself (enhancing self-esteem), toward people around you (look for the good in your fellow brothers and sisters), and toward life in general (view the challenges you face as learning opportunities and take time to enjoy and appreciate positive experiences).
WWW (What Went Well): At the end of the day count your blessings, achievements, opportunities and other positive encounters that made your day more meaningful, satisfying and enjoyable.
Find a new hobby that not only engages you and brings you joy and satisfaction, but also serves a noble purpose. For example, volunteering or sharing your talents for the benefit of others will not only help others but will enhance your feeling of self-worth.
St. Paul reminds us, “ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own”, 1 Corinthians 6:19
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates.
Consult your primary care physician or nutritionist on how you can improve your diet and make healthier food choices.
Make exercise part of your daily routine. Life is movement and movement is life. In nature, we see that water in the river is full of life and water in the swamp without flow is stagnant. Even mild/moderate exercise (taking a walk or raking leaves on the parish grounds …;- ) ) can enhance your physical wellbeing.
Try to get a good night sleep. A good deep night sleep helps our bodies and minds rest and recuperate. Good sleep habits can help reduce stress and make us more ready to face each day ahead. This is why in our Ukrainian folk wisdom we have this proverb: “ Добре їсти, добре спати - Бог здоров’я мусить дати ” - “ If we eat well and sleep well then God must give us good health.”
“Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” Matthew, 25:45
We, as humans, are social beings and are destined to live in the family, community and society. We are not self-sufficient and rely on our families, friends, and communities for support. Loneliness can be one of the most painful human experiences. Try to reach out to a person in your community, who is lonely and/ or may need additional support or attention. This act of mercy and kindness is mutually therapeutic for the person who gives and for the person who receives.
Make an effort to join a community organization. Parishioners are encouraged to sign up their children to our youth organizations, such as SUM and PLAST, Ridna Shkola, and Parish Religion Classes. Our active participation in the life of our parish, youth, and community organizations will satisfy our internal and cultural needs of belonging and provides a sense of significance and fellowship, stability and security.
In spirit of our common social responsibility, make an effort to be more generous this year in your support of our parish, local Ukrainian community in Boston, Ukrainian Catholic University, Bishop Paul’s Charity Appeal, and victims of war in Ukraine.
Wishing you all good health, peace, and joy in this year ahead.