Sunday, December 30, 2007

Closing and opening

2007 is drawing to its close. Probably you are also looking back over the year that has almost passed. It is natural. We all feel a sense of closure at this time. We all feel ourselves to be standing on the threshold of the unknown.

Of course, it is entirely possible to make some predictions. Day will follow night. There will be clouds and sunshine. There will be winds and breezes, showers and downpours. There will be some mornings when it will feel hard to face another day, hard to climb out of bed rather than to curl up and go back to sleep. On some occasions there will be late nights and very early mornings, perhaps with sleeplessness and anxiety. On other occasions, a sense of excitement and anticipation might mean that the dawn cannot come soon enough.

It is possible to make other predictions: the year will incorporate mealtimes, conversations, journeys (if only into the next room or in a dream), washing and dressing….

The year that is closing has held these same qualities that can be anticipated for the next twelve months. Similarly there will be the unexpected joys and sorrows, just as much as those that could be foretold. There will be some things that we regret just as much as those for which we will remain ever grateful.

As St. Augustine said, “Leave your past to the mercy of God; leave your future to the providence of God; and leave your present to the love of God.”

Yesterday, I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Revelation, a 7 minute bus ride from here, plus Tre Fontane, just opposite, where St. Paul was beheaded. (I’ve mentioned the Shrine of Our Lady of Revelation before: it’s a spot where Mary appeared to an Italian Communist who was planning to assassinate Pope Pius XII but changed his mind after seeing her. I’ve never yet found the Shrine empty: its prayerfulness is profound.)

In both places I prayed a Rosary for all those who will read this message, for yourselves, your families and all those whom you love and for whom you care, for all your needs. May God and his Mother be with each one of us as we move from the old into the new year. May he strengthen those who need courage, gladden the hearts of those who need joy, give companionship to the lonely, healing to the sick, bring home those who are lost and be with us at every moment of every day in all that we say, think and do.

God bless,
Sr. Janet