Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We begin again. With the differing time zones, the celebrations are staggered around the globe as we welcome the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new one. The manner of celebrating may differ, but we all have a common hope, the desire to start over, to begin again.

GK Chesterton wrote: The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Happy New Year, New Years Resolutions, New years hangover, born again, moral life, new creation in Christ, Happy New year, G.K.Chesterton, T.S.Elliot, 2014, resolutions, Deacon Keith Fournieri


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - We begin again. With the differing time zones, the celebrations are staggered around the globe as we welcome the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new one. The manner of celebrating may differ, but we all have a common hope, the desire to start over, to begin again.

Every New Year I read articles about the efficacy of New Year's Resolutions. However, the fact remains, we all make them. The experience is universal. The question is why? I suggest that they reveal something of our deepest longing. They present us with an invitation to exercise our freedom.  

Nations use different calendars, but the passing of one year to the next is universally marked by a deliberate period of reflection concerning the year that passed and a pledge to begin anew, to change, in the year to come. This is because we all hunger to be made new!

GK Chesterton wrote: The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions.

Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.


We all want to be better, to live our lives more fully and to love one another more selflessly. As we end one year and look to a new one, we pause to take inventory. In a rare moment of reflection and honest self assessment, we admit our failures. We pledge to learn from them and move toward a better future. 

In Little Gidding, the last of the four quartets written by T.S. Elliot, we find these often quoted words: Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.  For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice.. What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make and end is to make a beginning.

Over the years I have realized that every end truly can become a beginning, for the man or woman who has faith in a living God who invites us to begin again, again and again. He alone makes it possible by sharing His very Life with us. This gift is called grace and through receiving it we become what the Apostle Peter called Partakers of the Divine Nature.(2 Peter 1:4)

As we repent for the failures of the past year, reflect on the gifts it brought with gratitude to God, and resolve to do better in the coming year, we are facing the reality of our human condition and our fractured freedom. We know that our resolutions to change often end in failure. We are prone to making wrong choices in daily life. Classical western theology speaks of this inclination as concupiscence.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this experience to the early Christians in Rome in the seventh chapter of his letter: For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me... Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Fortunately he answered the question when a few lines later he proclaimed, Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ!

Our freedom is a reflection of the Image of God within us. Our ability to always choose what is true and good  was fractured by the effects of the first sin. In the words of Blessed John Paul II (The Splendor of Truth) freedom itself needs to be set free. Through the Incarnation, the saving Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, we are capacitated by grace to begin to live our lives differently. Freedom itself can be set free, by the One who brings true freedom. 

Jesus can make all things new within us - and continue His work of making all things new through us. Even though our human freedom is fractured by sin, the splint of the Cross is the real, lasting and life changing remedy.

On the first day of the New Year Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God. This is no liturgical accident. She who beheld the face of the Savior invites us to hear the words of Jesus Christ, Behold I make all things new! (Rev. 21:5)

Jesus alone can fulfill the desire at the heart of the New Year's celebration, and help us, by His saving grace, to make them become reality. Mary is the Mother of the New Creation because the One whom she held in her womb is the only One who makes all things new!

I am more grateful every year for the opportunity to attend Holy Mass on New Year's Day and celebrate the Feast of the Mother of God. Mary is the first disciple, the prototype, the symbol of the whole Church. We who are members of the Church, the Body of her Son, are invited to emulate her Yes to the invitation of God and make it our own. We are to make a place for Him within us and become bearers of Christ to the world. For He alone can make us new.  

Millions will utter sincere words on New Years Eve and Day, promising to do better. Lists will be compiled - and promises made - to oneself, to others and to God. Sadly, many will not be kept. These words attributed to Mark Twain too often ring true "New Year's Day - now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

When I was a young man, I would write my New Years goal list first and then, in a fit of self generated enthusiasm, ask the Lord to bless it! I know better now. I need the light of the Holy Spirit to even comprehend what is needed if I ever hope to change.

I now pray first and then, my list has become increasingly simple. Mary's Fiat ( a Latin word for let it be done) has become my prayer. I seek to make it the pattern of my life. The full phrase opens the door to beginning again and again and again, "let it be it done unto me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)

I pray that in the Year of Our Lord, 2014, we may all find the fullness of grace which comes through a living relationship with the One who makes all things new  (Rev 21:5), Jesus Christ.  There is a universal longing in every human heart to be made new, to begin again, because the Holy Spirit prompts it in every human heart.

In and through Jesus Christ, there is a path to truly being made new. That promise is at the heart of the Gospel, the Good News! St. Paul reminded the Christians in the City of Corinth - and reminds every one of us- "whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor. 5:17)

New Years Eve is a global existential moment, ripe with anticipation and expectations. It invites a spiritually cathartic time of reflection, offers us hope for change and invites us to make new choices. Resolutions can become reality, when we turn to the One who makes it possible, the One who truly makes all things new.

In reality, our choices will make us. In our choosing we not only have the potential to change the world around us, we change ourselves. Let us choose in 2014 to live our lives in, with and for Jesus Christ. That is the way we can turn those resolutions into reality.

St Josemaria Escriva wrote: For a son of God each day should be an opportunity for renewal, knowing for sure that with the help of grace he will reach the end of the road, which is Love. That is why if you begin and begin again, you are doing well. If you have a will to win, if you struggle, then with God's help you will conquer. There will be no difficulty you cannot overcome.' (The Forge, 344)

Happy New Year!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... continue reading


What will Boston Marathon bomber face in Supermax prison, described as 'worse than death?' Watch

Image of Inmates have little to no contact outside of guards and prison staff. All prisoners must wear leg irons, handcuffs and stomach chains when taken outside their cells.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ADX, the nation's most secure "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado may be getting another inmate shortly: 21-year-old Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may get life in prison - or if he's given the death penalty, a brief stay in Terre Haute, Indiana ... continue reading


Has OPEC won the oil war? Oil prices rebound after shale market collapse Watch

Image of The first battle between OPEC and the U.S. over the oil market may be over, but don't count the U.S. out just yet.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia's strategy of flooding the global markets with oil in an effort to hamper production by rivals such as Russia, the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries seems to be working. The oil producing giant has produced a little more than 10 million barrels of ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter