There was a good riddance party in Times Square last week where people could shed the unwanted or unwelcomed aspects or happenings of 2013. As we approach a new year, we might open ourselves to new perspectives for 2014. This could be a two-pronged process: suspending some typical judgments and adopting some new perspectives. Here are some possibilities:

1 – “You should have…” The use of the word “should” can blind us to new ways of seeing people. Most of our disappointments are the result of our expectations. For example: “You should have called me or informed me.” Perhaps there are factors I am not aware of. Instead of first making judgments, we might be open to a larger perspective.

2 – “Many of the saints talk about the importance of self-knowledge regarding our sinfulness, but never apart from knowledge of the mercy of God. If we aren’t sufficiently aware of our sins, presumption and pride may dominate; if we aren’t sufficiently aware of the mercy of God, discouragement, fear, and despair are danger” (The Fulfillment of all Desires by Ralph Martin).

Proper perspective here is critically important in the spiritual life. God’s judgment is tempered by His mercy. But our day of judgment before God does not depend upon God’s whim or mood. It depends upon the decisions we have already made. God will respect our freedom. The choices we make now determine the judgment we face in heaven. Presuming upon God’s mercy flies in the face of love.

3 – Do you know both your capacity for evil as well as you capacity for good? If you only know your capacity for evil, you will fail to appreciate how good God made you and how much goodness lies within you. If you only know your capacity for good, evil can have its power over you when you fail to recognize its presence. Evil is real and exists within us, not simply around us. As in so many other areas of the spiritual life, we need balance in appreciating both our capacity for evil and our capacity for good.

4 – Indeed there is a God and you are not God. This may seem obvious and your first answer will be: “I know I am not God.” But if others observe your attitudes or your actions, might they not conclude that you think you are God? Do you really think you are in control of life? Are you really self-sufficient? There are two implications here. First, all is gift; all is grace so God truly is central to our daily living. Second, we need a Savior and we do not save ourselves.

Asked and unanswered:

Do you worship at the altar of God or do you worship at the altar of sports? Well, where are you on Saturday evening or Sunday?

If you don’t make room for God in your life now, how are you going to recognize Him in eternity?

When asked who he was, Pope Francs answered: “I am a sinner.” If you recognize that you are a sinner, why haven’t you been to Confession this year?