As the new year of 2017 unfolds, I find myself contemplating how the previous year will influence the present. In the September issue of myFaith, I cited the words of wisdom from the Looney Tunes character Sylvester the Cat, “You never know where you’re goin’ till you get there.”

For me, it’s important to know three things in life: where I was, where I am and where I want to be. I usually ask myself, how did I get to where I am today and how will today get me to where I want to be tomorrow?

It may appear to be a simple practice of self-reflection, but I find it to be a challenge because we cannot escape from living our lives in the present tense. It’s hard for us to consider ourselves from past and future perspectives, because we are constantly caught up in the middle of things. All of our thoughts and actions occur in our immediate circumstance; there is no time machine available that can adjust our point of view.

As Catholics, we are always reminded that our past will dictate our future judgment. We may also feel that our previous actions and decisions weren’t entirely our responsibility but rather the result of other people’s choices.

As a former teacher, I found myself wondering how my lessons and grading will influence the lives of my students, which can often be a complex situation. Was I helping the student by being critical of his or her work or did I let the student off too easily by listening to one of his or her excuses?

As a journalist, I find myself in a similar dilemma. How is my writing helping readers get closer to God or is my storytelling not as influential to others as I hope it would be?

Only God knows what our future will entail, but in the meantime, we can do our best to understand what has led us to where we are today and to discern in our hearts where God wants to lead us next.

The feature story for this issue of myFaith concerns a young Nativity Jesuit Academy alum, Jonathan Morales, whose path in life took an unexpected turn after he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease. He hopes the new year will bring him a life-saving kidney donation, but he lives with the uncertainty of his health and his future. In spite of this uncertainty, Jonathan remains faith-filled, optimistic and looking for ways to help others through his situation. Meet Jonathan and the man who has become his mentor on Page 6.

With the date of the presidential inauguration quickly approaching, political dissention still boils over. Our columnists, Christina Capecchi (Page 8) and Fernando Espino (Page 9), join in the political discussion, but offer ways to steer free of the contention in the air as the country inaugurates Donald Trump as its 45th president.

We also introduce you to two young women, Alex Goodrich from Franksville and Meg Mas from West Bend, in our myGeneration features. Both are college freshmen, are active members in their campuses’ faith groups and have been involved in numerous service projects. Their faith and desire to follow a career path that will allow them to help others is inspiring.

The Packers took one step closer to the Super Bowl, and it seems that everyone from fans to sportscasters to clergy members are talking about the Hail Mary. Have you ever wondered how Aaron Rodgers’ go-to play, the Hail Mary pass, got its name? Fr. Jerry Herda provides a brief history of the play and tackles the sanctity of its name.

He also answers a question about ordained, married men serving as priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Yes, it’s possible – be sure to check out his answer on Page 5.

Finally, in the Take 5 feature, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki enters the world of sports, so to speak, by compiling his own Dream Team roster of modern-day saints! Find out who made the archbishop’s cut on this team of holy rollers on Page 11!