A new year brings new hope and new opportunities for grace and merit. As we have celebrated recently with the Nativity of the Lord, Christ came into the world to make it new. To make it whole. Changes in time and seasons give us the opportunities to make changes within our own lives.
Time moves quickly and can often be gone in the blink of an eye. So may we not put off until tomorrow or next year what we ought to do today. St. Francis de Sales teaches us that our sanctity is found within the duties of our state in life. May we each strive to evaluate what those duties entail for us. Striving each day to fulfill those duties to the best of our ability, because they become a means of loving God and neighbor as Christ has commanded.
May we also evaluate our spiritual life. Ensuring we say our daily prayers, have a routine for Confession, and work harder to attend Mass as often as reasonably possible outside of Sundays and Holy Days. We should make sure that we pray the Rosary each day, have devotion to the saints, examine our conscience, and tell God how sorry we are for our failings.
We should also evaluate our acts of charity. Caring for those within our parish community and those without. The early Christians were characterized by their acts of love and charity for others. Often, this is how it was even discovered that they were Christians. Not because they were preaching with their words but rather in their actions. Take St. Lucy, for example. She was only accused of being a Christian when she began distributing her wealth. This was because Christians acted differently than the rest of the population of the Roman Empire. May we strive to emulate them so that, in time, the whole world may again know the love of Christ.
The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name. This month also gives us an excellent opportunity to examine our conscience regarding our language. Do we always use the Lord’s name (and also the names of the Blessed Virgin and Saints) in a sacred and dignified way? During this month of the Holy Name, may we recite the Litany of the Holy Name to make reparation for all the times we haven’t used the name of the Lord as we ought, along with all those in the world who misuse God’s Holy Name. This is also a good habit to correct in the new year!
In this new year, do not forget your spiritual practices. We don’t know if we will be here to celebrate next year. So live each day as if we could meet God and be prepared to return to Him all the blessings and gifts He has lavished on us through His Nativity!
May the Lord bless each of us in this new year!