JANUARY 1: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
CATHOLIC REFLECTION FOR THE NEW YEAR.
Dear friends, only a few hours remain and I would like to take advantage and greet you:
HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY 2022!
With all that has occurred during 2020, considered by some as annus horribilis from many viewpoints: the pandemic which caused -and is still causing- a lot of suffering, claimed a lot of lives, disrupted personal plans, upheavals in socio-economic life, etc…, the year which is about to commence offers as a new beginning, thus, a new hope.
It is a time God gives us to begin again, to recommence in our struggle to be better persons in a holistic and realistic sense. People usually say to themselves: “A New Year, a new life”, but this is not the case for we cannot change ourselves overnight. Rather, as St. Josemaria wrote:
“I don’t believe in the proverb that says: ‘a New Year, a new life.’ Nothing changes in twenty-four hours. Only our Lord, with his grace, can instantly convert a Saul from being a persecutor of Christians to an Apostle. He knocks him off his horse, he leaves him blind, he humbles him, he makes him approach another man, Ananias, to learn what to do. And Saul was one of the leading figures of Israel, educated at Gamaliel’s feet, and a Roman citizen to boot. Do you remember? Civis romanus sum, I am a Roman citizen. I like that. I also like you to feel true citizens of your country, with all the rights which that entails, because you fulfil all your obligations.
Do you think that an easygoing type who is reluctant to train seriously can hope to win an international athletics competition, without a great miracle? St Paul resorts to this simile, as do I. We have to struggle repeatedly and train every day – sometimes winning and sometimes losing – in little things that in themselves aren’t sinful and don’t have very significant moral implications, but which do indicate human weakness, a lack of love, a lack of generosity. ONLY BY FIGHTING IN THAT WAY CAN A PERSON AT LAST SAY TRUTHFULLY THAT HIS IS A NEW LIFE. ONLY THOSE WHO PERFORM THESE SPIRITUAL GYMNASTICS WILL REACH THE GOAL.”
Truly, the new year about to start is a divine gift to begin again. Hence, let us approach this incoming year with enthusiasm for God-is-with-us. He has never left us. And although life brings with itself moments of suffering, let us not forget that the Infant Jesus paved the way for us, teaching us how we could make good use of suffering.
- Let us not forget that from his infancy onwards, Jesus shows us the value and meaning of setbacks and suffering. He teaches us that although the things that people strive for are good, they should not be centred on material comfort or on self-interest, but rather on a kingdom of justice and peace. He also teaches us to recognize and love the divine value of human things, and to fight against our human shortcomings, our self-love and our tendency to comfort.
- He who is the fairest of the sons of men lovingly accepts, even from his earliest years, the suffering that comes his way. He, the Just Man without equal, the only man without sin, accepts suffering. At his side, our most pure Mother also experiences the immense sorrow of seeing her Son suffer, without a single complaint or reproach.
- St. Josemaria once said: See how lovely the Baby is: defenceless, as he is. These sons of mine have sung: “He has come to earth to suffer”; and I add: “to suffer and to prevent others from suffering”. He knew he was coming to the Cross, and yet nowadays there are certain theories, a false kind of asceticism which presents our Lord as being angry on the Cross, and saying to mankind: “I am here on the Cross and so I’ll nail you to it as well.” It’s not true, my sons, it’s not true! Our Lord opened his arms out wide, in the gesture of an eternal Priest, and he let himself be nailed to the wood of the Cross so that we should not suffer, to ease our sufferings, and even make them sweet and lovable.
- On this earth, love and suffering are inseparable; in this life we have to expect the Cross. Whoever does not expect the Cross is not a Christian. Whoever does not look for the Cross, will encounter it anyway, and furthermore will find that it brings him despair. If you look for the Cross, with Jesus Christ on the Cross, you can be sure that at the hardest moments, if they come, you will be in the best company, happy, strong and secure. But you need to be contemplative souls for that.
Let us also PRAISE AND THANK GOD for all the blessings we have received during this year, yes, THANK God, despite the pandemic, and speaking from economic and psychological viewpoints, a lot of people have been unfortunate. Why? Because OMNIA IN BONUM (All for the good)! That is, God could draw a lot of good from what we consider as evil or unfortunate. Faith in God enables us to see persons, events and circumstances from God’s viewpoint, with a lot of supernatural outlook.
- My children and I must be contemplative souls in the world, in the middle of the street, in the middle of our professional work – the work which each one has to do. We must be souls who are constantly talking with our Lord, when faced with what seems good and with what seems bad: because, for the children of God, everything is arranged to work out for our good. Other people find it all too much, when things don’t work out well for them. For us, when we are close to Jesus, when we are on intimate terms with Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Love, there can he neither setbacks nor misfortunes: omnia in bonum! (everything works for good).
Let us also ask the Most Blessed Trinity, through the living intercession of Mary, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and St. Joseph, for His graces and mercy so that 2022 would be for us a joyous occasion not only for material well-being but also for our spiritual renewal and growth.
Here’s to a brighter 2022, full of hope and optimism for God is our loving Father, who has united with us through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave us His own Mother, and his Guardian, St. Joseph, and together with them, we shall face this upcoming year with more serenity, joy, trust and abandonment.
Wishing you and your family all the best! God bless! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
SEE AS WELL: JAN. 1 SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD HERE.
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