Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/4/2014 (3 months 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.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/4/2014 (3 months 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 calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


Palm/Passion Sunday: Will We Make This Week Holy By Encountering Jesus Christ? Watch

Image of Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord Jesus anew through saying Yes to the invitation to continuing conversion. How desperately we all need to hear the Good news that we can begin again!

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Palm/ Passion Sunday: Make This Holy Week a Deep Encounter With Jesus Christ!During this week called Holy, the Lord Jesus is extending His saving Hand to each one of us anew. The timeless one has broken into time and now transforms it from within. The question is ... continue reading


Living Among the Pharisees Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest

By Deal W. Hudson

I will not quote directly from the article - there is no need to infect readers with the Phariseeism pervading Ruse's psychological/spiritual analysis of Thomas Williams. The readers can judge for themselves. I've been the target of similar, and worse, ... continue reading


Time for a Movement Rooted in the Real Social Doctrine of the Church Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Christian social teaching challenges any notion of human freedom which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. We are by nature and grace called to relationship. Only in communion can we become fully human and find ... continue reading


Nevada cattle rancher has won fight with feds -- for now Watch

Image of Clive Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the time being, Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy has appeared to have won his week-long battle with the federal government. His case has spurred nationwide attention, and has garnered protestors rallying for his rights.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Is Pope Francis Opening the Possibility of Ordaining Mature, Proven Married Men to Priesthood Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The prophetic witness of voluntary, consecrated celibacy has endured beyond the ranks of celibate clergy. It is also preserved in the inspired vowed life of monastic orders and the sacrificial witness of religious men and women. In addition, in many of the ... 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, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... 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