I think most of us begin this new year with some concern and a little trepidation.
Our economy looks to take some time before it recovers. The stock market has been spiraling down, and many have lost much over the last few months. From a Catholic perspective, traditional values such as pro life and family issues seem to be more and more undermined.
But remember that God is in control! He allows these things to take place in order for us to wake up, and to help us put our house in order.
What are the most important things in our lives anyway? Does our happiness rely on material possessions (the one with the most toys wins)? Or are we focused on growing in our faith lives (going to church, spending time in prayer), developing deeper and stronger family relations, spending time with good quality friends, volunteering our time, talent and treasure?
Are things really what is important in life? When we die, we bring with us nothing from this world, save perhaps the love we have for those around us. We are born into life without anything, and we surrender our life, bringing with us nothing.
I think a good reflection for us the beginning of this new year is to ask; what am I attached to? What are my priorities, values, principles? Do I know what the purpose of life is (to go to heaven when I die)? Is an enduring Christ-like love that is unselfish and self-giving what I am about?
None of us totally measure up. We all have our weaknesses and limitations, but we also have our strengths, gifts, and abilities. Let us start this new year in way that moves us forward in faith, in love, and in hope that we can make this a better year.
We can help shape and form our culture and society into what it was meant to be by asserting good values and principles, spending time with God in prayer, and gaining strength from Him to overcome the difficulties, obstacles, and negativity we find around us. We are called to be counter-cultural, and we can make a difference if we want to bad enough.
God can allow certain things to happen to shake us out of our slumber to pay attention to what is truly important in life. Let us all pray for one another that we may be given the strength to make this next year the best ever!