Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Prayers for a Blessed New Year

We are blessed with the continuous gifts of days and nights, of seasons and years, a universe of suns and moons and planets whose rotations create a continuous series of new beginnings.

To me, one of God's great gifts to us is the continuous series of new beginnings he provides. Each new year, each new season, the dawn of each new day bring with them the opportunities for change, opportunities to reinvent ourselves as better fathers and mothers, better sons and daughters, better friends, kinder neighbors, more responsible citizens, and truer, more devout servants of the Lord and bearers of His message of peace and hope for all.

The Lord sent his only Son not only to die for our sins, but to show us how to live. How to suffer. How to die. While his spirit was challenged and his body was broken, he never stopped speaking the truth. He never compromised his message nor abided evil because it was more comfortable to do so. While there were times he expressed anger, he never stopped loving his enemies, and never gave up hope that they would one day redeem themselves, and so be redeemed. He never stopped preaching that we should love one another, that we should treat others with kindness even when he himself was treated with unkindness.

Even when he was mocked, reviled and nailed to a cross, Jesus did not resort to hate, to violence or to resentment. He taught us that hate leads only to despair, but that love, peace and forgiveness lead to hope, happiness and the promise of everlasting life.

Happy New Year, and blessings for a new beginning, from Robin Steele.

God said: "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth." And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; and he made the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed...

(Genesis 1:14-19)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

—St. Francis of Assisi

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