End of Year Evaluation

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

“All employees of this company
will participate in an end of year
performance evaluation”.

Off the top of your head, can you think of anything that makes someone more uncomfortable and anxious than receiving a notice like that?

We all hate to be evaluated. And taking a serious look at ourselves, our performance, our life, our relationships is often painful and frequently threatening. At the same time, if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that perfection is an elusive goal even as we strive to achieve it.

Now we find ourselves in the Christmas season, and that means the end of another year. The season evokes all kinds of feelings of concern for others, and invitations for acts of charity and generosity abound – everything from the Globe Santa to the Salvation Army collections on street corners. The party thing is around and if we are not busy and a part of it, we all act as if we are. The busyness of the holiday season serves as a mantra to excuse us from any number of things to which we ought to turn our attention. I guess it is as easy a time as any to be dishonest with ourselves.

Why not change that? Why not choose to make these next two weeks leading up to Christmas different from other years of the same old same old? It is possible and I have a suggestion for you to make it possible. Go to confession. Didn’t see that coming did you?

We Catholics profess faith in Christ, the Church, Sacred Scripture and among other things, the sacraments. One of those sacraments is within our reach and is a treasure.—the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This sacrament offers us a chance to take a look, an honest and real look at ourselves—our relationships, life, choices, habits, routines, priorities, and everything else that makes up the stuff of life. Using the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a template – how do I measure up? If you are alive and breathing while reading this column, you will start to see the shortfalls. Most particularly we can see the selfishness and all that is not included in our lives that we really wish were there – prayer, service, acts of kindness, and involvement in things that really make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I believe that every one of us aches to be a better person. Usually we are too busy to really think about it – but underneath, pretty close to the surface, there is a wish to live lives that are more faithful to God’s vision for us. There is no better first step to moving in that direction than owning it. Saying, “Yes” to a personal evaluation and carrying that to Christ with a sincere wish to change; to walk with more dignity and integrity; to be the persons we are called to be. That means asking forgiveness for our sins and opening our hearts to receive the gift of a Savior – a Child born in Bethlehem whom we proclaim is the Light of the World.

Tomorrow night, Monday, December 17, there will be a penance service at Saint Mary’s Church at 7:00. A group of priests will be with me as we make ourselves available to hear individual confessions. Doesn’t matter how long it has been. This is the year to turn that corner. How about it?
-Fr. Ronan