January 2006 - Volume 10, Issue 6

Editorial - New Year Of 2006

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a dove in flight

Every person I know considering the war in Iraq wants the year 2006 to be a year of peace, not only for our country, but for all countries throughout the world. The great Russian historian, Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948), in commenting about the ravages of war said, "the ravages of war are never considered by those who wage war initially". Oh yes, we know people are going to be hurt and killed during the waging of any war, but the aftermath of war, the families that are forever separated, the astronomical costs of debts future generations have to pay for this war or that war, not only financial debits, but moral debts, emotional debts and spiritual debts need to be taken into account. When we talk about New Year's resolutions, we have to get beyond the stage of thinking of our own individual lives. There has to be more than I am going to take off weight this year or I am going to drive slower than usual. There has to be a series of thoughts each one of us cultivates that enables us to be more concerned about our community, more concerned about our Church, more concerned abut our country. Every year we read the dire statistics of how few people vote because they feel there is so much corruption in Congress, there is so little they can do and there are so many forces beyond the individual powers. If our society, if our Church are going to grow and flourish, it has to become filled with people who are actively involved and who are studiously watching what is taking place in their community, their church and their country. To sit back, wring our hands and say it is a continuation of what has always been, is an easy way to shirk our personal obligations.

If you read the writings of Nicholas Lenin, one of the pioneers in communism, he once said, "if I had ten men with the zeal of St. Francis of Assisi, I could revolutionize the world". All of us throughout the course of the past few years have heard the story of Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on a bus and helped inaugurated the civil rights movement. All of us have heard the story of Candy Lightner, the woman who started the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving just to make our highways more safe for our children. These examples show the power of what one person can do in a society that is becoming more insensitive and more impersonal with our relationships with each other. All of us have heard the expression, if you want to change you have to get out of the little box you are living in. The inference is that you have to start thinking of things bigger and better more outside of yourself. Each person has a series of talents that have been given to no others. Each person has abilities that the vast majority of people know nothing about. Those talents and those abilities in the language of the gospel cannot be hidden under a bushel basket. Each one of us has an obligation to better our Church, to better our country and we do this by bettering ourselves.

Our value system has to be the value system of Christ - the value of charity, the value of compassion, the value of commitment. Oh yes, we can say the federal government, the state and the local communities have obligations to enrich our lifestyle, but you and I know better. You are a personality endowed by God with great gifts. Those gives, used properly can help your community, your state and your government. No longer if we want a safer lifestyle and a better community can we leave the responsibility of safety and protection to others. It is our individual responsibility to bring people closer to God by the use of the talents that God has given us. We cannot continue to take part in the blame game that is all over our society. The federal government blames the state, the state blames the community, Congress blames the President, the President blames Congress and the blame game goes on and on. You are a unique creation, you are something special in the sight of God and God expects you to use the talents he has given you, not only to enrich your life, but to enrich the life of your Church and the life of your country. Your talents will help everyone in this New Year of 2006 have a happier and a holier year.