[gtranslate] Renewal in Radiance: Embracing Hope and Forgiveness in the New Year - Eglise Catholique Saint James (Saint Jacques)

Renewal in Radiance: Embracing Hope and Forgiveness in the New Year

Renewal in Radiance: Embracing Hope and Forgiveness in the New Year

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

-2 Corinthians 5:17

As we bid farewell to the trials and tribulations of 2023, a year marked by the challenges posed by disunity in our country as well as division even within our Church, especially with the latest declaration, “Fiducia supplicans” we eagerly anticipate the dawning of a new year—a fresh beginning infused with hope. Let us recall the words of Isaiah, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Our hearts long to radiate the love of Christ, to share that love with those around us, and to collectively navigate through these trying times that currently seem to be a never-ending saga.

In the difficulties of the past year, some of us bear wounds that run deep. Forgiving those who have caused us pain or harmed our loved ones is a formidable task. Yet, as I receive Holy Communion while kneeling at the altar rail each day at Mass, I am reminded that God, in His boundless love, gave His only Son for our salvation. Jesus forgives us for our sins that put Him on the Cross, even those who hammered the nails and those who jeered at His agonizing death. If Christ could forgive under such circumstances, surely, I can find the strength to forgive those who have wronged me even if at times my heart and mind take a while to be in sync with one another.

Forgiveness is no facile endeavor. It challenges us daily, but harboring anger, pain, and hate only serves to consume our hearts and minds. I recognize the necessity of creating space for the love of Christ within my heart.. Dwelling on the past and questioning God’s purpose in our suffering only provides a foothold for the adversary in our hearts and minds—a most unwelcome guest!

Contemplating the struggles many face in moving forward after enduring atrocities, tragedies, and hardships, I ponder how we can welcome the new year with joy amid the remnants of heartache and loss. As Christians, we are never left with “nothing”; God never abandons us. We must firmly believe this truth as children of God. Our Lord instills hope in us, assuring that, regardless of our past, each tomorrow brings a new day. With each step forward, the burden lightens, and as we journey from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn, healing unfolds.

On January 1, 2024, the commencement of the New Year coincides with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God—the culminating day of Christmastide. How fitting that we celebrate this feast on the first day of the year! Turning to our Mother, Mary—the Mother of God and the Queen of Peace—we, as Catholics, find peace in her constant companionship. On this day, recognized as the World Day of Peace, we extend our hopes not only for peace in our lives but for all those seeking peace.

May the peace and love of Christ accompany each of you as we embark on a new year together. I hope everyone had a blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and has a Happy New Year!”

New Year’s Prayer by Archbishop John Carroll

Almighty and eternal God, You have, through Jesus Christ, revealed Your glory to all nations.

We pray You to preserve the works of Your mercy, that Your Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Your name.

We pray You, who alone are good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life our Chief Bishop, Pope John Paul II, the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of His Church; our own Archbishop and Bishop; all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise among us the functions of the holy ministry and conduct Your people into the ways of salvation.

We pray You, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, to assist with Your holy spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of the United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Your people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion, by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy, and by restraining vice and immorality.

Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth.

[PROVERBS 8:14-16] Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge, and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his Excellency, the Governor Of this state, for the members of the Assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Your powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise to Your unbounded mercy all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.


Photo by Jamie Fenn on Unsplash