December 31, 2012

Welcoming the New Year with Praise

As the New Year dawns, many see this as an opportunity for all kinds of excitement and insobriety.   For others, the New Year is something to dread with great anxiety.   But for souls whom God has graced with the gift of prayer, this passage of time is a new moment in which to keep the eyes of the heart fixed on the Son of Man.  

Time resonates with God's heartbeat of love.   In every moment of time there is a new kind of Presence of God disclosed to the world drawing it in the power of the Holy Spirit to the Word made flesh and at the same time moving the world beyond itself, to something new and wonderful, something that evokes adoration.  If time endures all kinds of misery and disappointments, evil does not ultimately define time -- rather the duration of every difficulty, just as is the case in the duration of every joy, is pregnant with something greater than time is able to contain.  There is an eternal hope that lives in even the worst situations, a hope that lifts time to a greater fullness than the poverty of the present moment allows us to see, but in which we can believe none-the-less.

What is the reason for this hope?   The loving presence of Christ who stands with us and whose word never passes away - with Him we have reason to stand firm, to love without counting the cost.  He, the Fullness of Life Himself, is the very center, the heart of human history and of each one's personal history.  At every occasion, no matter how humble or hidden, an encounter with Christ is awaiting us on both the most personal and the most public dimensions of our existence.  Faith seeks this encounter and in a single moment learns to surrender to everything the Lord lavishes upon it, and this over and over again in the most unexpected ways.  

His unrepeatable presence is what makes this Year a new gift from God, and those who embrace Him and faithfully cleave to Him in the new and unique ways our personal and social histories make possible, such believers will know again an ancient joy that can never grow old.  For them, the New Year is neither an occasion for insobriety or anxiety or to lose heart for any reason.  For these faithful souls, the New Year is a gift, an occasion of thanksgiving, a new opportunity to lift up our hearts, to cry out in recognition in the midst of both sorrow and joy: such is the praise offered by a soul that seeks the progress of eternity in each moment of time.