At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives the Great Commission to the apostles saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20).  The Resurrection brought new life, a new Creation. At this moment, the fallen world has been redeemed and disciples are sent on mission to bring new life to all nations! Not only is this commission a call we must live out, especially this Easter Season, but it is also a rubric for how we are called to strive for excellence in our lives. It is a guide  for how we are to achieve the goals Christ is calling us to!

               How exactly is this passage a rubric for goal setting? Let’s look at what is going on in Matthew in more detail. Christ has spent the last three years walking with his disciples. After a tumultuous passion, death, and resurrection, he has shown them in a concrete and physical way the reality of who he is and what he came to do. We know that he spent another 40 days with these men, preparing them and teaching them prior to his Ascension. And after all this, not only does he promise his presence with them always, but in the Gospel of John we read about his promise of the Holy Spirit that will come to assist His disciples as well. The plan for and promise of a Messiah has to be the most thorough plan that has ever occurred. This is something that had been prophesied and alluded to since Abraham with the promise to have descendants as numerous as the stars! And now, this goal is being given to the apostles, and has been carried on by the Church for over 2000 years. Talk about longevity!

               Practically, how do we carry this model into our own lives and the goals and habits we desire to implement? First, the key to any goal is clarity, finding your why. In the case of salvation history, it was pretty clear. From the first pages of Scripture, we hear God’s plan to restore humanity when talking to the serpent after the Fall saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Already in Genesis 3:15, we hear God telling Satan, as hard as you try, ultimately, this woman (the new Eve) will crush you with her foot. God has a plan to bring a Savior, born of a woman (Mary) who will defeat sin. Christ knew his why, and everything he did—all of his miracles, teachings, etc. went back to this and ultimately led him to his sacrifice on the Cross. 

So how can you find your why? If you haven’t utilized this tool, CURO members can create their own personalized “Why Wall” on their member portals. This can act as a great visual tool and reminder of why you are setting your goal. Take a moment right now to think about your vision of wellness. What does this entail to you? If you were to succeed in living a life of flourishing and wellness that the Lord desires for you, what would that look like? Maybe you want to be healthy so you can take care of your family. Maybe you desire to serve in a specific mission, and the only way you can do that is through some series of goals. Maybe it is to fulfill a promise you made to yourself or to a loved one. Whatever your goal, knowing your ultimate why is a helpful starting point, and a helpful place to come back to as you continue the journey.

               Second, lets look back to the original verse. Christ reminds the disciples to remember that he is always with them. When they go out, when they continue their mission, when they establish new goals, the journey requires that they continuously invite Christ into their lives, into their goals. The beauty of a Catholic understanding of wellness requires that we, likewise, invite Christ continuously. Our goals, our vision, our call for flourishing stem from the fact that we are created by God with love, for God. Every goal we establish must be rooted in the fundamental understanding  that we are already loved, and we do not need to have “earning love” as our ultimate why. Take an honest assessment. If your ultimate why for wellness is simply so that you feel worthy, offer that to the Lord. The Lord desires to speak truth to you, you were created good. Your whole person, no matter what your past or present looks like, is created good and worthy of love. Having someone such as a wellness coach or spiritual director to help remind you of this truth can be instrumental in your wellness journey!

               Once you have a clear why and an understanding that Christ desires to be present in this process, ask yourself the question, 1) what is a tangible way I can work towards (said why)? It might start by looking at your day and how you are spending your time. It might start by creating a list of the areas of the things in your life that are important to you. Similar to the Rule of Life for religious communities, you might want to create a rule of life for your own life. What are the things you would want to include? Sitting down, giving yourself the space to think about your desires for flourishing is not only valuable, but essential in creating long term change and achieving any goal. It can be tempting to judge your process and think to yourself, shouldn’t I be “doing” more. The journey to wellness and flourishing is just that, a journey and a journey takes steps. Sometimes these steps look a bit different than we would imagine, but that’s part of the fun.

               Finally, the process of goal setting starts with just beginning. Reading this is a great first step, but just as the disciples were commissioned, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”, we must hear the Lord invite us “Go out”. You are not alone, and your path to flourishing and wellness should not be something you do alone either. Invite the Lord, invite your family/ friends to join you. At CURO, we would love to walk with you in a personal relationship. The goal of wellness coaching is not for the coach to tell you what to do, but to give you the time and the space to really ask yourself these questions and to support you on your journey. If this is something your interested in, please reach out to our CURO wellness coaches today! We’d love to walk with you.

               Let us truly live this Easter Season, bringing new life into our journey towards flourishing. As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in 2011, “We Christians, firmly believing that Christ’s Resurrection has renewed man without taking him from the world in which he builds his history, we must be luminous witnesses of this new life that Easter has brought.” [1]The flourishing to which we are called will not only transform our lives, but it will transform the lives of those around us! Let us joyfully “go out”.

[1] https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110427.html