A Catholic Monthly Magazine

New Year Resolutions

by Barbara Linton

We will soon be at the beginning of a New Year. The time when people plan New Year resolutions, hoping that this will help to achieve their dreams and goals.

Resolutions can be many and varied – an overseas trip, giving up smoking, taking up a hobby, climbing Mt Taranaki, or, saving for a surf board, or new carpet.

How many of us continue to work diligently toward achieving our New Year resolutions? From experience, I know that despite good intentions, how quickly they die or quietly fade away.

Recently, I received in the mail some cards on which were printed resolutions and a photo of the man who wrote them. They are as follows:

1.  I will never criticise others.

2.  I will never uphold my opinion to the extent of angering another.

3.  I will never become heated and raise my voice in argument or when correcting.

4.  I will always remember that I am made of exactly the same stuff as the worst sinner on earth. Without God’s grace I could be worse than he.

5.  I will always have a happy smile for everyone, especially for those who like me least. I will try to hide my own wounded feelings behind a smile.

Fr Emmet McHardy

These selfless resolutions were found in the few belongings of Fr Emmet McHardy SM after his death.

They have inspired me to adopt them for my own resolutions to which I have added:
I will speak only when my words are of more value than silence.

They have also motivated me to do some research on their writer.

Taranaki born, Emmet McHardy was ordained a Catholic priest in the 1900s. He acquired an appreciation of human diversity.

This helped to prepare him for missionary work. He was posted to Tunuru, north of Kieta on the Island of Bougainville. His missionary ministry entailed many and varied tasks, some of which were physically strenuous. He made a film which has become of considerable ethnographic value, entitled ‘Saints and Savages.’

A tireless worker, he pushed himself long and hard, earning the complimentary nickname ‘No Short Wind’ from the locals. However, poor food and malaria took its toll on McHardy’s health and he returned to New Zealand and died at the age of 28 years.

A shining light, Emmet McHardy taught by example. His love for others and his selfless resolutions based on his personal analysis show that he understood the real meaning of life, and where he was at on his earthly life’s journey.

This reminds us of the need for taking stock of ourselves from time to time, to reveal areas needing change so we may become better people helping others and making the world a better place.

I’m sure all of us want to see changes made for a more peaceful, happier, cleaner and greener world to live in. Where and when does that change start? It starts with you and me here and now.

Emmet McHardy, a role model, knew and understood the Bible’s teachings and put his prayer into action.

His resolutions tell a biblical story:

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not enjoy evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.   

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