A new year always comes forth with celebrations and resolutions. We celebrate the fresh hope of better times and thoughts of changing the things in our lives we somehow must know need changing. A few days after party times and resolutions spoken forth, we return to life as usual in the most unusual times at best. How do we cope with the uncertainties we face in our lives and for our world in this new year?
The following article is a result of inspiration, quotations and some paraphrasing of a homily given by Father Victor Jagerstatter, PhD of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church of Mountain Home, Idaho.
With cataclysmic immorality, injustice, and disruptions in the biology and geology of the earth and societies world wide, it can be hard to not shrink back in frustration and the uncertainty of what to do. We live in unprecedented acceleration of change all around us.
"We don't know if our country will work this year, if our economy will work, if our political system will work, and if our health care system will work. We don't know if our world will be safe- if we will be attacked here at home or if our loved ones will be attacked abroad." (Fr Victor)
With so much uncertainty and possibilities of life-changing events from "disease, accident, brain injury, earthquake, tsunami, financial calamity, civil war or any of a thousand other possible events", we still have choices to make and must keep moving forward. We, in America especially, have lived through economic times of unprecedented height that we will most likely not see or experience again. Our nation sloshes in prosperity even still in the over-all view of the world and ever escalating woes coming upon our earth. But we do not have to be imprisoned by our circumstances or what the world calls luck or fate. There is no time to shrink back with indifference or fear or unbelief.
Hope, Peace, Joy
We, as Christians, have the opportunity to face the New Year and beyond in a way that would be a pleasing and effective example to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God we serve, in Christ Jesus, truly is our source for eternal life, hope, peace, and joy in all circumstances.
In Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13, Saint Paul writes, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, and of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
What fantastic words to hold onto, meditate on, and ask Christ to make them real and alive in our hearts for all the days ahead. When Paul wrote these words he was actually in prison awaiting trial. He spoke of the spiritual joy of the presence of Christ within him and thus giving him the courage to trust and believe that Christ was truly with him in all things. He emphatically knew that he could do whatever it was he had to do from one day to the next. He was certainly a great example to be in dire circumstances and not allow himself to be downtrodden in despair. He stood up to write a letter to the churches for their encouragement to live their faith with hope and joy no matter the circumstances they found themselves in. We, too, live in a time of great peril and yet great promise.
We may not know what we can count on, but we do know WHO we can count on. We may not know what will happen to us, but we do know WHO will walk with us. We may get BLINDSIDED this coming year, but we always know who "has our back". As St. Patrick once said, "Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me." (Fr Victor)
My prayer is that those who know the Lord will be blessed by these words and those who do not know Jesus will ponder the thought of doing so. I also pray that a preparation time can begin or continue for those with the heart to hear.
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