January 13, 2012

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Looking backward—and forward—in the New Year

Shirley Vogler MeisterEach January, for as long as I can remember, I have probed my brain to figure out what I can do better in the New Year, and how I will implement my resolutions. This usually takes the entire month because I repeatedly vacillate.

I usually only share these pledges with God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Blessed Mother Mary and some special saints.

Some of my favorite saints are St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin’s spouse; St. Cecilia, patroness of music; St. Francis of Assisi, who loved animals; and a Jewish woman, Edith Stein, who converted to Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun and took the religious name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She died in Auschwitz, Germany, in 1938 when I was 3 years old.

As for making promises for the New Year, I have learned to be careful not to overdo my resolutions because I don’t want to fail. The best approach for me now is to try to improve on something each week.

Looking back to the previous weeks and acknowledging my faults is much easier for me than dealing with resolutions for an entire year. Each day this month, I will remember 2011 then slowly and prayerfully assess my goal for the rest of January.

Yes, I become aggravated when I don’t fulfill all that I hoped I would. But I now accept that better than in previous years.

However, I am also pleased knowing that I have reached some of my goals.

With my husband, Paul, I was able to attend a 90th birthday party for a dear friend, Joe Puppin. He and his wife, Alvina, are members of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis.

What surprised me at the party was how many of their guests recognized me because of my “Faithful Lines” column and photo. Such affirmation is good for the soul. I always appreciate positive feedback, but also graciously accept questions about my columns.

Conversely, another event in December was very sad—the death of a friend, Rudy Brinker, whose funeral was held at St. Barnabas Church on the south side of Indianapolis.

Paul and I went to the Mass of Resurrection with two Lutheran friends, Jane and John Willenbrock.

John once worked with Rudy, and sang with him and my husband in the Indianapolis Maennerchor. John shared a beautiful eulogy at the Mass. Happily, before Mass, Paul and I were able to speak briefly with Msgr. Tony Volz, our former pastor at Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis.

I am eagerly looking forward to new experiences during 2012, and am praying that God will bless all of The Criterion’s readers.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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