Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Over the years I have come to see that every end 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

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)

1/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: New Year, Happy New Year, New Years Eve, conversion, born again, reborn, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - It began on Monday when a friend from Japan E mailed to wish me a Happy New Year. 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.  

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 written by T.S. Eliott we find these often quoted words: "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 an 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 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 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."

Our freedom is a reflection of the Image of God within us. Our ability to choose correctly 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 to live our lives differently. Freedom can be set free. Jesus can make all things new within us and continue His work of making all things new through us.

On the first day of the New Year Catholics celebrate the Feast 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) He alone can fulfill the desire at the heart of the new Years celebration. She is the Mother of the New Creation because the One whom she held in her womb is the only One who can make 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 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. He alone can make us new.   

Millions will utter 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 has become my prayer, "be it done unto me according to your word."

I pray that in the Year of Our Lord, 2013, 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 choices. In reality, our choices will make us. Let us choose in 2013 to live our lives in, with and for Jesus Christ. That is the waywe can turn 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.' (St. Jose Maria Escriva, The Forge, 344)

Happy New Year!

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Synod on the Family: Duc in Altum

Image of Lorenzo Lotto's depiction of the Holy Family's rest on the flight into Egypt.

By Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Christians today in most parts of the world find themselves in a world much like the one inhabited by the first Christians - rampant sexual license, abortion, contraception, family break-down.  Those early Christians took a counter-cultural stance, echoing ... continue reading


(Video) Nina Pham's incredible goodbye will bring you to tears Watch

Image of Supporters of Nina Pham, the nurse who was infected with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has released a video which shows the goodbye between Ebola-patient Nina Pham and her doctor, as she leaves Dallas for treatment in Maryland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 26-year-old nurse was infected with Ebola after ... continue reading


(Video) South Carolina's shocking SHARKNADO! Watch

Image of A rare shark feeding frenzy was caught on video in North Carolina, as hundreds of sharks attacked a school of Blue Fish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing video has appeared on YouTube which shows 100 of sharks engaged in a feeding frenzy just feet from the shore in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The bizarre video was taken on October 9, but was not made public until ... continue reading


Fed takes in record of over $3 trillion in taxes Watch

Image of A Treasury Department report has revealed that the U.S. government has taken in a record amount of tax revenue for the 2014 fiscal year, at over $3 trillion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest Monthly Treasury Statement has showed that inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues and tax revenues have reached their highest point even as of the 2014 fiscal year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The inflation-adjusted tax revenue reached ... continue reading


James Robison: Turn In Your Sermons! Watch

Image of James and Betty Robison

By James Robison

The city of Houston has issued a wake up call to all freedom-loving Americans by ordering pastors to turn in their sermons and staff communications dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, and Mayor Annise Parker. You must hear the real message loud and clear ... continue reading


He doesn't even care anymore. Government draws in $3 trillion after numerous tax hikes Watch

Image of The U.S. government took in over $3 trillion dollars in taxes for fiscal year 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has collected a record amount of taxes for the 2014 fiscal year, topping $3 trillion in revenue for the first time in history, numbers from the Treasury Department revealed. The data also showed that this influx of cash has brought the current ... continue reading


Trying to win a Darwin Award? Man seen walking next to Ebola patient with clipboard for protection Watch

Image of Who is this man and why isn't he protected like the others?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Maybe he's trying to win a Darwin Award? The nation is aghast at a plainclothes man who appears to be coolly walking beside Ebola-infected nurse, Amber Vinson protected only by --a clipboard. Everyone else around him was dressed in a hazmat suit as she was placed ... continue reading


After two years it's back! Mysterious Air Force spaceship to land in California Watch

Image of The U.S. Air Force's X-37B, which is set to land at Vandenberg Air Force base on October 15, after nearly two years in orbit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States mysterious X-37B unmanned space plane is about to land after it has spent almost two years in orbit on a classified mission. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Air Force announced that the X-37B will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in ... continue reading


Supreme Court trounces Texas rights in abortion bill battle Watch

Image of Supporters of the Texas anti-abortion bill which was passed back in July 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The controversial anti-abortion law passed by Texas in 2013 that had shut down numerous unsafe and unsanitary abortion clinics is now being halted by order of the Supreme Court. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 6-3 order means that many abortion clinics that ... continue reading


U.S. doctor cured of Ebola gives blood to stricken Texan nurse Watch

Image of Twenty-six-year-old Nina Pham has been in quarantine since last week after catching the disease from

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With growing fears of Ebola ravaging the United States, an American doctor who contracted the disease - and survived, has donated some of his blood to Texas nurse, 26-year-old Nina Pham, who fell ill after treating an infected Liberian man. It's the third ... 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, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... 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