“In the morning resolve, in the evening examine your performances, how you have behaved this day in word, work, or thought; because in these, perhaps, you have offended God and your neighbor.” (IC 1,19,4) | “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7:12)

Kempis gives wise advice to religious and to us: resolve first thing in the morning to be Christ-like throughout the day and then, last thing before bed, evaluate how you did (IC 1,19).

It is in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus gave the world what we now call the Golden Rule (read yesterday: Mt 7:7-12).  Leave it to the Messiah to put in one sentence a perfect summary of “the law and the prophets.”  (It occurs to me that the Lord would be great on Twitter — He was ahead of His time.)  Actually, it reminds me of a famous St. Augustine quote that is even more succinct but really sums up the Gospel: “Love and do what you will.” (Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John)  Both men tell us that there is great freedom in authentic love and charity.

Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s vow can relate to the ease of composing a resolution and the quickly realized difficulty in keeping it.  The good news is that we are not alone in regards to commitments we make to sincerely follow God’s will and commandments.  Grace is ours ordinarily through sacraments so we should take advantage of those two sacraments that can be received frequently: Holy Communion and Reconciliation.  To the degree we are open to God’s help and mercy, we are able to overcome even the most difficult habitual sins and vices (see Mt 19:26).  Sometimes it will happen in an instant; much more often it is a process with many stumbles and setbacks.  Perseverance, a firm commitment, and most importantly, humility, are required daily to combat are weakened will and darkened intellect (look under “Mortal Sin” and then “The Effects of Sin” here).

A good habit is to use the failings considered the evening before as the resolution for the following morning.  AA has it right: acknowledging and admitting the problem is the indispensable first step in overcoming it.  Let us pray daily for God’s help in following the Golden Rule.

Image result for the golden rule

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