The New Year gives us the chance to start over
Upon rising every morning, almost invariably my heart finds itself inundated by sentiments that take time for me to identify: awe, gratitude, hope, tiredness, longing, desire, joy, nostalgia, uncertainty and a mix of everything else.
Perhaps our whole existence is an endless beginning, perhaps until we reach heaven. With precision we can point out the beginning of our existence in this world, but our end is eternally undefined.
When turning in for the night I am aware that the accumulation of sensations I’ve lived during the day leave me open to live another day if that is my good fortune. My mistakes make me long for another day so that I can correct them; my good decisions awaken in my interior the desire to share; my tiredness reveals to me the long road I have yet to travel; my nostalgia calls me to seek out that which I have savored; my uncertainty enables me to trust more readily in what others have achieved; my gratitude compels me to acknowledge how much I need others; my awe makes me feel to a greater extent my frailty before the immenseness of God, and my hope confirms for me that the Creator never considers his work in me to be complete because his loving presence is infinitely creative.
Openness and trust
It has been said that humans are creatures of habit. The experiences we live create a pattern in our mind and body and they predispose us to respond in a way that is similar to what we have already lived. Jesus, the Word of God made man, taught us to live each day open to the miracle of God who always takes care of us because we are worth much more than “the birds of the air who do not sow” and the Father cares for them; he has shown us how to ask only for “our daily bread”; he advised us to be always prepared to leave this world because “we do not know the day nor the hour”; in the end, by his life he gave us the key to live always starting anew, and to do it with such intensity and passion that we must give the best of ourselves in each moment and in each encounter on earth and in eternity.
The secular calendar marks a new year for us in the Christian era. Let us begin the year fully aware of how far the human being has advanced and changed. Let us begin grateful for those who continue sharing and investing their existence with each one of us. Let us begin with joy for the mistakes we have been able to correct. Let us begin attesting with shame the many misguided beginnings that have left sequels of terror, injustice, inequality, loneliness and bitter tears in our lives or in the world.
Let us begin this year trying a new approach to forgiveness and closeness with those who we have estranged, so as to discover that they have also changed. Let us learn new methods of service in order to surprise ourselves with the potential in our lives. Let us start this new cycle trying to reach the peripheries of our own existence, those areas of our person we have not dared to enter into: tenderness, confidence, transparency, veracity and faith.
In all these areas we are always beginning again according to the concrete moment we face of age, health, interpersonal relationships at work or intimacy with God. Our humanity breathed upon by the divine presence is always capable of more, is always longing for more, is always in need of more; it is endlessly beginning.
The men and women we call saints lived in joyful wonder on earth and surely they continue to be in awe in heaven. Their intercession impels us to begin another year with enthusiasm, convinced that we have much to discover, to offer, to receive, in this eternal cycle of the loved ones of God.
Mary, that young and faithful Jewish woman, knew how to let herself be awed by the Most Powerful One who always does marvelous things, and by her generous response she leaves all generations in awe.
A blessed and wonderful New Year to all!
This is an English translation of a column that originally appeared in Spanish in the January/February 2015 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx