This is the time of year when we indulge in the rather quaint habit of making resolutions, most of which we know we shall inevitably break before too long.

We resolve to lose weight. We resolve to be more financially responsble. We resolve to be better fathers and mothers. We resolve to be better neighbors and more friendly to our colleagues.

Those are all good goals and, if diligently pursued, they will indeed make us better persons for ourselves and for others. We know, however, that we are highly unlikely to follow through on them.

But often we forget the most important resolution of all, one that does not allow for the luxury of chance. This is the resolution that we become strengthened in our faith.

Whatever else we find deficient in ourselves is secondary to the relationship we have with our Maker. Once we are resolved, and follow through on our resolution, to be guided by our spiritual beliefs, the path ahead for the new year becomes less arduous and, as the Scriptures say, all things become possible.

It is, indeed, the hardest resolution of all because it requires us, in a society that glorifies materialism and bravado, to surrender our worldly desires and ourselves to the call to worship God and to be of service to others, especially the poor. But it is possible and this is the time to give it a try.

The new year ahead has another important challenge for us. We must resolve to make ourselves politically aware of what is at stake as we get ready for another presidential election. The times are such that it is no exaggeration to say that the issues that matter dearly to us are in peril from some of those who want to be our president.

Issues that we would have thought were long settled, such as civil rights, racial equality and compassion for the less fortunate are gravely threatened. We owe it to ourselves to resolve to become familiar with those issues so we shall not be misled when it comes time to cast our votes.