It's incredible! The New Year has arrived and I did not feel that well acquainted with the old one. Traditionally, this is a time to take stock of oneself and to make appropriate resolutions with the intent of self-improvement. My mind was stirred to this task as I was standing in line recently at what is euphemistically called the Express Check Out register at the local supermarket. My eye was drawn to the strategically placed rack of magazines and tabloid newspapers. In surveying the titles of their feature articles, I noted that there was a consensus regarding the inclusion of a more than usual number of self-improvement pieces. While these articles made grandiose promises respecting the achievement of every physical, emotional and financial longing of humankind, I found myself pondering the more profound topic of spiritual self-improvement.
Concern for growth in one's spiritual life places emphasis not on what you have, but on who you are. A great starting point is to appreciate the spiritual milieu in which one is situated. New Year's Day falls in the midst of the Christmas season including liturgical feast days celebrating the Birth of Christ, Mary-Mother of God, the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. These solemnities represent the zenith of God's initiative for the salvation of us all. Meditating on the meaning of these events provides the purpose of destiny of our spiritual quest. Christmas season comes around every year, but each arrival finds us different in age and in experience. It is interesting how the linear and cyclical concepts of time blend in human existence and tradition. We are flowing, yet anchored.
What has the passage of time and the experiences garnered made of us and what is our time and the experiences we create making of others? Whether it be the dawn of a new year or the dawn of a new day, we have the opportunity to take all that has been in our lives and to develop a more faithful and hopeful future. I suggest that part of the efforts of this new year ought to be the enhancement of the knowledge we possess of our faith and the "why" of what our creed and doctrines proclaim. In more personal terms, I pray that we sincerely consider how God's love flows through the dogmas of our faith and how that love can be witnessed in our daily lives and felt in us when we are most in need. We must understand that our contribution to life is a part of a great, eternal pattern which is beyond our ken.
Thine is the seed time: God alone
Among all of the "beginnings" of this new year, may we attend to the presence of grace and sin in ourselves and in our world. May this year's end find us holier and wiser rather than simply older. If we are able to learn to control the base impulses of our nature, we shall realize the God-given value and dignity of our lives that will life us above time.
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