Eliminating Obstacles Between Christ and Us in 2019

by Randy Hain | January 3, 2019 12:04 am

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch[1]

“Christ the Consolator” (detail) by Carl Bloch

As I considered what to write for this post in the first week of 2019, I reflected on years of well-intended resolutions to lose weight, go to daily Mass, pick up a new hobby, play more tennis, etc. which ended in failure as my desires clashed with the reality of my busy schedule and stubborn resistance to change. I like goals, but I have decided to keep my resolutions more realistic this year. I have also decided to focus on simplicity and clarity.

To that end, nothing is more important (or clearer) than getting closer to Christ as I grow in my spiritual life.

Many of my challenges are self-imposed and I am often my own worst enemy. I struggle to say “no” to those seeking my help, my prayer life often gets shoved to the side because of my hectic schedule and I am typically more focused on action than thoughtful reflection. A recent conversation with one of our parish priests during Reconciliation and prayer time during Eucharistic Adoration have helped me realize many of my issues stem primarily from pride and a lack of peace which lead to a number of significant obstacles between me and Christ.

Before I share some of the common obstacles that separate me (us) from Christ, let’s consider what we know for certain. We have a goal (to get to heaven and to avoid hell), a road map (Scripture and Tradition), examples to follow (the saints, particularly St. Joseph), leadership (the pope, bishops, priests, and deacons), clear teaching authority (the magisterium of the Church), help along the way (the sacraments) and divine guidance (the Holy Spirit). It is clear that we are well-equipped and have the tools and resources we need, but are we willing to make the necessary changes?

Obstacles between Christ and many of us . . . and Actions to Overcome Them

Giving ourselves to Him, letting our old selves go and placing Him first will change everything. We will receive His grace, guidance, and love, which in turn will positively affect our relationships with our spouses, children, friends, and co-workers. We will see our faith journeys catch fire as we begin to appreciate the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith. Our appreciation of the Mass will grow exponentially as we more fully understand the gift of receiving the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and we are joined in intimate union with Him. We will be perceived differently as people begin to see Christ at work in us.

Or we can continue to stubbornly go it alone and keep ourselves distanced from Him.

Jesus Christ died on the Cross for us. He redeemed our sins. He loves us unconditionally. The only way to heaven is through Him. What does He want in return? He simply asks for ALL of us—mind, body, and soul. He wants us to place Him first in our lives, before family, friends, work—everything.

So, as much as I need to lose some weight, paint my house, pay off debt and attain a dozen other important goals, I will only commit to try and do my best. I will, however, make a resolution to stay focused on the only things that truly matter: being closer to Christ and obedient to His will. I know that every good thing He wants for me will flow from my obedience and love for Him.

Happy New Year and I pray our Lord will richly bless you in the days ahead.

Editor’s Note:  Would you like to learn more about “regular Catholic heroes” and the joyful witness they give for Christ and the Catholic faith?  Randy Hain’s exciting sixth book, Joyful Witness: How to Be an Extraordinary Catholic (Servant Books) is now available through Amazon and all Catholic bookstores!

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