My latest for OSV:

As the new year begins, it’s all about numbers, isn’t it?

From the annual countdown in Times Square to our blundering efforts to date a check (and getting the year wrong) to the spinning numbers we see below our feet when we step on the bathroom scale and realize we should have skipped that extra slab of fruitcake … we’re watching the numbers.

Maybe, as part of that, we make resolutions. We resolve to diet, to spend less, to exercise more. Fewer calories! Less carbs! More steps around the block!

That’s all well and good. (Who needs to do all of that? … I’m raising my hand.) But before we let those numbers overtake us — and before we give up trying to keep those resolutions — I’d like to offer a number that may be among the most important ones you encounter in the new year.

Here it is, four digits that can rock your world: 2478.

It’s not a password or the combination to my safety deposit box. But it holds the key to making this new year a time of new beginnings — and, I think, a new way of looking at life.

If you flip open your copy the Catechism, skip ahead to paragraph 2478.

I’ll make it easy for you:

“To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words and deeds in a favorable way. Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation of another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved” (CCC, No. 2478).

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is arguably one of the most important (and most overlooked) passages in the Catechism.

Read on to learn why.