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  A Christian Faith Magazine January 2004, Volume 9, Issue 6  
The New Year

Rev. Mark Connolly
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Every one of us hopes and prays that the year 2004 will be filled with happiness and peace and all the wonderful qualities that God wants us to have on earth. If you go back to the time of Pope Paul VI, he said, before the United Nations in the late 1960's, "War never again, never again". That was a reminder to all of us of an ideal he set forth so that the world and our country would recognize the value of peace for the long course of life.

We all know now that we cannot impose our values on others. We can remind them of our beliefs, we can teach them of our beliefs. What they do with them is strictly up to them. You cannot force people to love you. When you use that methodology of forcing people to do something, hate becomes a common experience. What should all of us do in this era of globalization?

In our own individual way each one of us can make a contribution to the peace of the world by developing a healthy and holy respect for the opinions of others. Basically, in marriage counseling one of the principles I try to teach married couples is to learn how to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Churchill has a great line in one of his books that the world will be won or lost through oratory. I think that can be applied to our every day way of living. We are not going to stand in a pulpit. We are not going to stand on a soap box, but through the words we speak we can bring kindness, love and compassion. Through the words we speak we can bring hatred, violence and uncontrollable anger. Those are the choices the individual has in his one to one relationship with any person.

During this year, 2004, all of us are going to make the New Year's resolutions to exercise more, eat less and strive for moderation. You know as well as I do, many of those wonderful resolutions are quite unrealistic, as seen from the fact that so many of them are broken as quickly as they are made. This year God is asking you to use your mind and heart to do the things that Christ did while he walked on this earth. He tried to bring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and health to the lepers. What he asks each one of us in this year 2004 is to bring the speech of Christ into our relationships with others, the speech of Christ that is always associated with love, compassion and kindness. That is your way of making a difference in the world. That is your way of making this world a better place in which to live.

Happy New Year!

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