Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! May God fill every moment of every day with his love and care for you and for everyone whom you love, foe all those with whom and for whom you work.

I had every intention of writing something for New Year’s Day, but the first of my resolutions was knocked on the head before the bells from St. Paul’s-outside-the-walls managed to strike the first chime of 2007, or before the fireworks from every corner of Rome, which I was fortunate to be able to watch from the terrace of the Beda, had finished their colourful (and noisy) display.

Every spare moment of the whole weekend has been spent trying to create a completely different look for the Pause for Prayer website (
http://pauseforprayer.com), which has never behaved exactly as I would have wished. Things that look perfect on my own computer appear in all sorts of shades and shapes on the community’s computer. I really wanted to do something different for 2007, so spent the whole of Saturday and most of Sunday creating perfection… and the programme crashed. Not to be outdone, I downloaded a free template from the Internet and spent an inordinate amount of time yesterday, New Year’s Day, still wanting to have something new for the New Year. Believe me, it is very difficult to combine concentrated work on a website with the various liturgical and community celebrations associated with the wonderful, incredibly beautiful feast of Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Still, I tried, and managed, by late last night, to be about half-way through the process. Better than nothing, I suppose, even if there is still a great deal to be done.

My website resolution was not the only one to be thwarted. On New Year’s Eve, we had a Holy Hour before welcoming in 2007. I’m not very good at staying up late, so, to keep awake, I took with me an excellent pamphlet that a Capuchin friend of mine has printed. It gives a different theme to every Hail Mary in the Rosary and is wonderful for concentrating the attention… except that I fell asleep.

Even yesterday, I made a wonderful resolution to always look for the best in people, for those beautiful qualities that God has placed in them and nurtures, perhaps unseen by the rest of the world. It was such a beautiful resolution that, five minutes later, I found myself wishing that so-and-so could do likewise instead of always seeing the negative. Ouch!

Every New Year carries a crop of resolutions, some of which survive and many which don’t. Some of them fall by the wayside for no concrete fault of my own. Some of them don’t survive just through sheer physical weakness and an inability to see them through in spite of the willing spirit. (Even Jesus contrasted the willing spirit and the weakness of the flesh!)

There are other resolutions that are real, necessary and are going to take a step-by-step, day-by-day, minute-by-minute approach and will involve many stumbles along the road. Yet these are the ones worth pursuing, the ones that will make me a better person, however slowly. There will be no instant results. Even by the last breath of our bodies, we might not be able to see the difference, but others will and, more importantly, God will also see them. These are the resolutions that involve perseverance, faith and commitment. They are the ones that will mark me out as trying to live my life to the best of my ability, as trying to become the person God intended me to be and whom he knows I can be with a bit of effort on my part. After all, as someone once said, “The saint is the person who kept on trying when everybody else gave up.”

God doesn’t expect us to succeed with all our New Year resolutions. He just wants us to attempt to keep those which are worth keeping, in spite of the struggle. He will supply whatever is lacking, and will love us in spite of our failures. Happy New Year!

God bless,
Sr. Janet