Happy New Year! For years, it has been my habit to set aside time on New Year’s Day to step back and look at the past year. I ask if I am living in a way that helps me fulfill my primary purpose in life—to grow in holiness. Then I set my goals for the new year.
Holiness is a way of life. It’s a desire to please God by the way we think and act. It’s a decision to try to be set apart for the Lord and his purposes.
This month, we want to invite you to step back from your day-to-day lives and ask, “What kind of person am I becoming? Am I becoming the person I want to be?” Often enough, we discover that some of our ways don’t match up with who we want to be. That’s why it’s helpful to set realistic but inspiring goals that will help us become more like Jesus—more holy and more willing to serve.
We hope that our articles this month will help you review your life. We hope they will encourage you to set some goals that will help make 2018 a year of grace and blessing for you and your family.
Two Witnesses to Holiness. I want to take a moment to honor two people who have played a key role in my life and in the mission of this magazine. Fr. Francis Martin, who passed away last August, was one of my most influential mentors, both academically and spiritually. Fr. Francis was a renowned Scripture scholar and a beloved leader in the Charismatic Renewal. For many years, he and I worked side by side on a number of projects. He was also the first person I consulted when I felt the Lord asking me to start a Catholic devotional magazine. In fact, it was Fr. Francis who came up with the name The Word Among Us!
I also want to honor Tom DiIenno, who passed away last October after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. A successful executive at IBM, Tom was deeply touched by the Lord at a prayer meeting in the late 1970s, and it changed his life. A few years later, I asked Tom to come and run the business side of the magazine. I warned him that this would mean a far lower salary, no perks, and no promises of long-term success. To my surprise he accepted! From that time on, Tom played a valuable role in this magazine and in our Partners program. Felicia and I have always treasured him and his wife, Marti, as dear friends in the Lord. Even as his health failed, Tom’s faith and trust in Jesus remained strong. He continued to inspire me right up to the end—and he still does.
Fr. Francis and Tom set themselves apart for the Lord, both in their desire to be like Jesus and in their willingness to serve him. I can imagine Jesus saying to both of them, “Well done, good and faithful servants” (Matthew 25:21). I’m sure they will be richly rewarded for the way that they have fulfilled the call to be holy.