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 September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


'We'll send them to hell!' Texas sheriff declares war on Islamic State Watch

Image of Texas sheriff Gary Painter reveals that he believes the Islamic State has already infiltrated the U.S. through the porous southern border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border have received alerts to be on the lookout for terrorists from Islamic State attempting to cross into the United States, a sheriff from the region has said. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Midland County ... continue reading


And you thought you had bad traffic! Tropical storm strands thousands in Nevada Watch

Image of Heavy rain washed out numerous portions of Nevada's critical I-15, leaving many drivers stranded or forced to take roundabout backways.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what may be the area's worst storm in decades, a 2-mile-long stretch of highway in Moapa Nevada was destroyed by four inches of rain that occurred in just an hour, part of the end of Tropical Storm Norbert. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The rain caused ... 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, First Corinthians 15:1-11
1 I want to make quite clear to you, brothers, what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 28
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 18th, 2014 Image

St. Joseph of Cupertino
September 18: St. Joseph was born at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the ... 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