1. Pray the Rosary at least three times a week.
2. Read at least one book about Einstein and relativity each month.
3. Read at least one book about the philosophy of science each month.
4. Finish all the books by Stanley Jaki I own but have not read (in whatever order): Newman to Converts, Genesis 1 Through the Ages, Cosmos in Transition, Theology of Priestly Celibacy, The Paradox of Olbers' Paradox, The Milky Way, Planets and Planetarians.
5. No alcohol. (I will toast myself every night I succeed! No, wait….)
I was eating lunch today and writing a reply to someone at his blog. Meanwhile, a second-grader and her friend were hovering by me, playfully antagonizing me with questions like, "Are you a dinosaur? Are you a English? Are you a chocolate? Are you a ugly woman?" (For the record, I answered no to most of these questions.) Then one of them asked me (in English and Taiwanese), "What are you doing?" Without really thinking, I said, "Defending the City of God." This of course set them on a chattering tangent about not knowing what I was saying, could someone help them translate, am I a pig, and so on. So they asked again: "What are you doing?" I said it again, with feeling: "I'm defending the City of God." More chatter from the pixies.
That exchange helped put a lot of this past year, and many of my past years––as opposed to my nonexistent future years?––in perspective. What am I doing with all my reading, writing, blogging, teaching, etc.? Although I am generally a moral failure as a Catholic, the fact is, what drives me, even when I'm in prodigal depths and wonder if I rightfully bear the title "Catholic", is the desire to defuse objections to the Christian faith and defend God's inexhaustible goodness with my wee scraps of power. Then it hit me with nearly equal force: if you don't believe what you're doing is at least motivated by a desire to glorify God, why are you doing it? I can only hope my erratic animadversions in the blogosphere and my only slightly less erratic pontificaitons here do bring both glory and my readers to God. I hope you can find peace this year in knowing what you are doing is ad majorem Dei gloriam, or, failing that, that you can find peace in relinquishing frivolous efforts as beneath both you and the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
Happy New Year!