Monday, January 01, 2007

The Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Seven

Because the grace and the mercy of the God of Jesus Christ are ever new, each new year, like each new day, is a chance to begin again on the Way of Christ. The freedom of the new is constantly held out to each of us as in an open hand: new grace, new love, new forgiveness, new encounters with Christ in the sacraments, new chances to live as he lived, new joy and new peace.
But is this true? My tendency would be to say, "Of course it is true," and then proceed to continue as before: the same old ways of before, the same attitudes, the same mild despair--"I am too far, too much a sinner, and to serve Him is too difficult and complicated!"
But is it complicated? No, it is not. Religion that is pleasing to God is "to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world." In other words, to actively love your neighbor, and hate the world for God's sake. To be single hearted in the daily pursuit of these is, for us to whom Christ has revealed himself, simple enough, and it is only complicated by compromising them with contrary things.
In the end, it all comes down to the question, "Do I want to give up all to follow the way marked out by Jesus?" In other words, do I want to yield up every aspect of my life to his Lordship? Am I willing to give up those boundaries I put before his love, saying, "you may come up to this point, but no farther"?
This new year, as every new moment, is a great opportunity to turn again and serve the Lord anew. Persevering in prayer, with trust, we know that he will not let us down, but will save us and make us like himself.

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