Every year, people have had a New Year’s tradition to have Resolutions. These are ideas to do something different or better in the next year to improve upon yourself. Many really do try to keep their resolutions, but often times their motivation is lost after only a month.
In our Christian faith, we are called to Repentance. This is similar to resolutions, in that we figure out what we would like to change about ourselves, and make an effort to be better. But in repentance, we are sorry about the things we did that pulled us further away from God’s grace. We resolve to be better not for our own selfish or worldly reasons, rather for bettering our relationship with God.
The bible says,
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
This means that when we are weak, we can be easily overtaken. When we reach out for God’s grace and mercy, He fills us with it and makes us stronger in a holy way. But at the same time, that weakness without God, can open us up to making weak choices through evil temptations.
Take a moment to think about your weaknesses. What holds you back from being your best self? Have there been times when you were too busy to let God lead your life? Were there times when you felt helpless or alone? God asks us to let go of our pride and let Him shine through our lives.
"Many years ago, large packs of wolves roamed the countryside in Ukraine, making travel in that part of the world very dangerous. These wolf packs were fearless. They were not intimidated by people nor by any of the weapons available at that time. The only thing that seemed to frighten them was fire. Consequently, travelers who found themselves away from cities developed the common practice of building a large bonfire and keeping it burning through the night. As long as the fire burned brightly, the wolves stayed away. But if it were allowed to burn out and die, the wolves would move in for an attack. Travelers understood that building and maintaining a roaring bonfire was not just a matter of convenience or comfort; it was a matter of survival."
We do not have to protect ourselves from wolf packs as we travel the road of life today, but, in a spiritual sense, we do face the devious wolves of Satan in the forms of temptation, evil, and sin. We live in dangerous times when these wolves roam the spiritual countryside in search of those who may be weak in faith or feeble in their conviction.
Saint Peter said "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
We are all vulnerable to attack. However, we can strengthen ourselves with the protection provided by a burning testimony that, like a bonfire, has been built adequately and maintained carefully. Because none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes and create bad habits. These bad habits and sins can be like a bucket of water on our souls burning for Christ, if we don't repent. By taking the time to cleanse ourselves spiritually, we can grow and become stronger.
[Excerpt from a Mormon site, but a great resource]
How can you ignite your own bonfire to survive in our moments of weakness?
*Have faith in the Mercy of Jesus Christ, and the power of God’s Grace.
*Have a humble, and sincere Repentance by going to Confession regularly.
*Seek help from our Heavenly Saints and Mary, Our Lady of Grace.
*Follow the example of Jesus and his disciples. Follow the Commandments.
*Make a fresh start and don’t return to sin. Don’t wait until the New Year.
His promise to us is:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)
As Saint Luke wrote, Jesus did not come to save the righteous and the holy, he came to save the sinner in hopes they will find repentance.
Divide up into groups and talk about our Resolutions and how we plan to Repent. We are going to make posters we can hang up at home to remind us of our goals.
Worksheet inspiration from: ThirtyHandmadeDays.com created a brilliant Resolution Worksheet for adults/teens and kids. I just combined them and added a few things for this lesson.
REPENTANCE: LIGHT THE FIRE bookmark
[As a farewell gift or project] I had the older girls make these for everyone while the younger ones had their story time.
Veggie Fire Bowls - slice up red, yellow, and orange peppers and arrange like flames in a bowl to snack and dip.
Sin No S'mores from Rethinking my Thinking
Pentecost Cupcakes from Catholic Cuisine