1 Jan 2020. New Year Day

As every New Year comes, goes, and forgotten, so is the New Year resolution many make on that day. The resolve to change fizzles out shortly after the din of the New Year dies down.

St. Ignatius of Loyola offers a better recourse to change: “A good work done under vow is more meritorious than one done without a vow” (The Spiritual Exercises, 14).

A resolution to change is a promise made to one’s self. Without external monitor, such promise remains just a best effort, with no pain of penalty for reneging.

A vow is a promise solemnized by taking God, through his minister, as witness and subjecting oneself to punishment for breaking such vow, or even falling short of the level of change vowed.

What would be a better motivation to change than the thought that a Just God who sees everything, hears everything, and knows everything, is watching and accounts every thought, word, and deed?

A vow to change is, thus, better than the best effort to change because it compels a promiser to go beyond that pain-free level one is willing to exert. While a best effort is a struggle not to lose, a vow is a struggle to win — to the last burst, to the last gasp, and to the last pulse. VSS

Picture: Clasped hands upon bible. Photo by Pixabay on pexels.com